Shortly after moving to Minnesota to begin her journey as the first Black woman to match with, and eventually graduate from, the University of Minnesota Medical School’s Department of Urology, Chief Resident Maria Uloko, MD, realized something had to change. 

“I used to feel a sense of pride when patients were excited to see someone who looked like me because my existence is so rare to them,” Dr. Uloko said. ”But now, it breaks my heart. We’re in 2020; why isn’t this normal yet? We need to do better.” 

After considering the idea for years, Dr. Uloko finally had the time she needed to launch her passion project during the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Uloko’s new podcast, “Battle Cry,” is “a love letter” to minorities pursuing careers in STEM—an acronym she uses for science, technology, engineering and medicine.

In each podcast episode, Dr. Uloko interviews a person of color pioneering in STEM. A trauma surgeon who was a first-generation college student and a medical student elected the first African American class president at Harvard are only a couple of the individuals highlighted. 

Yet, “Battle Cry” is about more than breaking glass ceilings. Dr. Uloko likes brunch and loves Oprah, but feels her humanity is often overshadowed by her triumphs. “I want ‘Battle Cry’ to frame us in a different way,” Dr. Uloko said. “I want it to normalize us because we’re often seen as abnormal.” 

“Battle Cry” aims to focus on the individual and not solely the list of achievements that have made them extraordinary. A quick listen and you’ll learn about the episode subject’s family, hobbies, likes and dislikes. Dr. Uloko says you’ll learn to see their accomplishments as respectable but not impossible. You’ll learn to see that each story is unique. You’ll learn to see them as human. 

“Being the first is exhausting,” said Dr. Uloko, who credits her fighter mentality to her “two lenses” as a Nigerian immigrant and an American. “We’re more than our list of achievements.” 

These individuals may be the first, but Dr. Uloko is adamant they won’t be the only. 

“I want to walk into a room and for people to think ‘oh, of course.’ I want children to know this is something they can do,” Dr. Uloko said. “I want to make it easier.” 

“Battle Cry” can be found on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. New episodes are released every Friday, and you can follow the podcast on Twitter @TheBattleCryPodcast.