Naomi Smith after her graduation at Tufts University. Photo courtesy Naomi Smith.
- EUSTATIUS–Naomi Smith has started her own company Pathogenics.
She was born in St. Eustatius and lived on the island until she left to attend college at the age of nineteen. Her mother Tina Smith said she was home-schooled during her education, due to the island not having any VWO schools.
Naomi was very active in the local animal welfare foundation during her younger years, providing veterinary assistant skills to the visiting veterinarian on his bi-monthly clinics, as well as assisting in emergency and community animal care. During 10 years of volunteering for this organisation, she said she had gained enough knowledge and skills to become a veterinary technician. She worked as such in a part-time job at a 24/7 emergency veterinary clinic during four years as an undergraduate in college.
She was also very active in sports during her youth, particularly in competitive swimming and soccer. Smith was the first Statian to represent her island at many competitions throughout the Caribbean.
Her proudest moments were when she won gold for Statia at the Dutch nationals in the 50-metre breaststroke and a silver medal in the 100-metre breaststroke. Another proud moment was coming in third overall and the best female swimmer in her first and only open water race from Nevis to St. Kitts, a 2.5-mile swim in the open ocean. Her swimming career came to a halt soon due to a shoulder injury.
After graduating from Agnes Scott College in Atlanta, Georgia, as a Bachelor of Science in neuroscience, she pursued her Master’s degree in infectious disease and global health from Tufts University in Massachusetts.
After completing her Master’s programme, Smith contemplated continuing with her lifelong dream of becoming a veterinarian, but decided the pay-to-debt ratio of becoming a veterinarian was not worth the four-year investment, although she was accepted at vet school.
Therefore, she decided to continue to work in her field of infectious disease and started her own business, as chief executive officer of Pathogenics Ltd., an infectious disease consulting firm, while also working as project manager for Clean Hands Safe Hands LLC, an infection control hygiene company.
Presently, Smith is residing in Atlanta. Whether she will ever return to Statia is unknown, although she says she holds Statia dear to her heart and will always be willing to assist, if possible.