I truly enjoyed reading about the “New Cast” in the academic arena (see Black Issues, Jan. 3). As an African American female, it was extremely challenging to earn my Ph.D. in chemistry from a majority school. I was one of 44 African Americans to earn a doctorate in chemistry in the year 2000. According to current statistics, there were a total of 1,990 chemistry doctorates earned that year. Thus, the percentage for African Americans is dismal. In the area of mathematics, 1,048 total doctorates were earned — only 14 were earned by African Americans; 14 by Hispanics; and two were received by American Indians.
Prior to attending graduate school, I knew there were few minorities earning doctorates in SME (science, math, engineering) fields. However, it did not hit me in the face until I began graduate school. Since that time, I have become committed to educating others on the numerous contributions that minorities have made in science. Our contributions have been and continue to be overlooked in the classroom and in textbooks. Minority children need to see successful minorities pursuing careers in these areas. This is the only way these disheartening numbers will increase.
Sibrina N. Collins
Ph.D. Manager, Minority Scientists
Network, American Association for the
Advancement of Science
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