Scholars in Packard/AAAS Program Travel a Demanding Route to Success
Marcus Jones graduated from Southern University at Baton Rouge. He was selected for the Graduate Scholars Program in 2000, and this year earned his Ph.D from the Department of Microbiology at New York University School of Medicine. His research has focused on anthrax. Jones has taken a post-doc position with The Institute for Genomic Research in Rockville, Md.
"The current statistics show that minorities are extremely underrepresented in the sciences. The Graduate Scholars Program allows for increased diversity and a more accurate representation of minorities in the sciences. Diversity is good for America because it fosters the development of new ideas and a new way of thinking. As Dr. Shirley Malcom (AAAS head of Education and Human Resources) has said: 'Without diversity, species become extinct.' The GSP fellowship has made the applications of students from historically black colleges and universities (HBCU) more competitive because of outside funding. Generally, a degree obtained from an HBCU is seen as far inferior compared to a degree from a majority institution. By having outside funding, the GSP fellowship strengthens the student's application and evens the playing field. By helping HBCUs with the Graduate Scholars Program, the reputation of HBCUs is getting stronger. This will also help with the quantity of minorities entering the
sciences and better prepare them for a career in the sciences.
"The annual meeting permits me to network and maintain professional relationships across the sciences. Generally, I would only network and communicate with scientists in my tiny area of science. The GSP has allowed me to broaden my knowledge of other areas of science that I would generally miss out on. The GSP also gives me an opportunity to mentor younger students, as well as be mentored by older students. The
annual meeting also provides a forum for me to address concerns about the lack of diversity in the sciences, or to address other issues that arise because I am a minority in the sciences. Finally, because of the lack of diversity in the sciences, it is refreshing to see so many professional minorities congregated here."
25 July 2005