Wanted: A Better Way to Boost Numbers
of Minority Ph.D.s
Managing Editor:Yolanda S.
Making Strides is a quarterly (April, July, October, and January) research newsletter published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Directorate for Education and Human Resources Program. Its purpose is to share information about minority graduate education (MGE) in the fields of science, mathematics, and engineering. It is available in print and electronic format. Inquiries, information related to MGE, and all correspondence should be sent to the editor.
Shirley Vining Brown "Citizen Scientist"by Shirley M. Malcom
Head, Directorate for Education and Human Resources Programs
In 1975 I helped organize an AAAS conference on minority women in science and engineering. Supported by the National Science Foundation, that conference and its resulting report, The Double Bind: The Price of Being a Minority Woman in Science, helped change the nature of the discussion about the situation of "twofers." Many had contended that in the age of affirmative action those of us who were "twofers" had a real advantage in the job market, given our simultaneous membership in two "protected classes."
But assertions are one thing and the facts are another. The small fraction of minority females who completed degrees in science, mathematics, and engineering at the highest levels suggested that factors affecting their participation and their workforce outcomes were anything but simplistic.
Shirley Vining Brown recognized this complexity and was among those researchers who applied their skills to untangling this story. In the process she became a colleague, friend, and co-conspirator.
We shared passions, platforms, and geography (since for a while both of us lived in Columbia, Maryland). Shirley Vining Brown was not only interested in the interplay of social and educational environments as scholarly work. She was interested in recognizing and addressing the effects they had on children directly, especially issues related to minority student underachievement. As a resident of Howard County she organized tutoring programs in her neighborhood to help African-American children realize their full potential. I still remember the day when we went together to see the superintendent of our county schools to address how the school system could become a partner or provide assistance to this community- based effort.
With her death in late 1998 we have lost a vibrant voice, but her work lives on. As for the studies she didn't get a chance to complete, it is left to the rest of us who've shared her passion, her platforms, and her work. Shirley indeed thought globally and acted locally, setting an example of "citizen scientist" that the rest of us can follow.
Home/About/Staff/Team/Universities/Links/Newsletter/Hot Topic Question/Feedback/EHR/AAAS