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Diversity in the Sciences

Posted by Arjendu on January 2, 2008

The term (quarter) is about to begin at Carleton, and I’m trying to set up my end of the one big ‘event’ I am involved with this term. This is related to Freeman Hrabowksi‘s visit to Carleton at the end of January where he’s doing a bunch of gigs, meeting with students, faculty, and a couple of public events.

A child-leader in the Civil Rights Movement, Freeman Hrabowski was prominently featured in Spike Lee’s 1997 documentary, “Four Little Girls,” on the racially motivated bombing in 1963 of Birmingham’s Sixteenth Street Baptist Church. Hrabowski has served as President of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County since 1992 and is an authority on minority participation and performance in science and math education. He has co-authored two books, “Beating the Odds” and “Overcoming the Odds,” focusing on parenting and high-achieving African American males and females in science.

He’s supposed to be an amazingly inspirational speaker, and I am looking forward to his visit, both for what I expect to learn from him myself, but also to see the impact on others on campus. I am particularly concerned with a panel discussion entitled ‘Diversity in the Sciences: Creating Climates of Success’ with panel members Dr. Freeman Hrabowski, president, University of Maryland, Baltimore County; and Sam Moore, project director, NSF LSAMP-North Star STEM Alliance, and director, Academic Programs for Excellence in Engineering and Science, University of Minnesota.

This is related to part of my slowly developing — well, let’s say portfolio, in the British political system sense of that word — as the co-director of CISMI, the Carleton Interdisciplinary Science and Math Initiative. I expect to be helping coordinate campus efforts that are paying attention to the issue of diversity and equal opportunity access to science education on the Carleton campus. It’s one of the most interesting and human challenges that I have encountered yet in my career but one that feels a natural fit at the moment. Stay tuned for more, I guess!

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