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Graduate Education in the Chemical Sciences — Issues for the 21st Century: Report of a Workshop
Derrick Tabor: Let me say this. I want to applaud the ACS for having the forethought to have the Minority Scholars Program. I think that the SEED program is fantastic. I am rather perplexed as to why you would say what you just said regarding minorities. My greatest fear—and I have not before expressed this publicly—is not as a National Institutes of Health (NIH) employee but as a member of the ACS. After those minority students complete graduate school, there will be no place for them, and this is not something that ACS has been planning for. In other words, these students will graduate and become members of the ACS, but there will be nobody out there to say, “Come to my table. We have been waiting for you because we believe diversity is important.”
Edel Wasserman: Let me respond briefly to that. I don’t know what the ACS will do with it, but please have the students contact me at DuPont. There will be a place at the table.
Isiah Warner: When you look at the composition of advisory boards for various companies in recent years, you will note that they have brought in women and minorities to serve on these boards. Suddenly they are recognizing that a diverse board brings a different perspective to the table. That is also true of science. You approach science from your own cultural perspective. I don’t mean that a diverse group changes the basic tenets of science, since those tenets are absolute. However, one can vary in terms of how you bring others into science or how you teach science. I suspect that is why, and not because I am black, I attract a lot of black graduate students. It is because culturally I look at science somewhat differently. I think all of that contributes to the betterment of science in this country and that is the aspect on which we need to focus.
Lynda Jordan, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University: As someone who is a woman and of African descent, I am aware of the contributions of both minority and women scientists. I would remind you of the contributions that we have already made to the chemical sciences. Look at George Washington Carver, who at the early part of this century made significant contributions to society, and more recently Henry Hill, who is annually recognized by the ACS at the National Organization of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers meeting. These are only two of the many contributions of minority scientists in this country and the world to the advancement of science.
The mere fact that we have to address these issues at a meeting of this caliber indicates the major biases that are associated with diversifying the demographics of the chemical sciences in this country.