The Class of 2006
The tradition of publishing an Emerging Scholars edition began in the
pages of Black Issues In Higher Education, the predecessor of Diverse. For four consecutive years, this edition proved a popular issue among our readers and it brought recognition to more than three-dozen outstanding Black scholars. In the pages of Diverse, the challenge has grown, and this edition recognizes a truly diverse group of researchers and educators. In addition, this inaugural Diverse group of 10 Emerging Scholars, selected by the staff, should further help define this publication and its mission of highlighting the excellence that diversity brings to the American academy.
The Emerging Scholars of 2006 have distinguished themselves in impressive ways. One is studying bird brain activity to help uncover how humans learn and generate language. Another helped influence the U.S. Supreme Court in its 2003 decision on affirmative action. Yet another has invented a process to print electric circuits on plastic in an environmentally safe way. What’s notable about members of this group, beyond their accomplishments, is that several of them are products of national scholar pipeline programs. Programs like the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship have provided underrepresented minorities with the funding, mentorship and research opportunities designed to help bring them into the professoriate. These scholars benefited from the pipeline programs even as challenges to affirmative action programs began working their way through state and federal courts in the 1990s.
Though the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the use of race-conscious academic admissions policies in 2003, several of the pipeline programs have widened their admissions criteria and have changed their names to protect themselves from new rounds of legal challenges by affirmative action opponents. The Mellon Mays initiative, which began as the Mellon Minority Undergraduate Fellowship, and others, such as the long-running Ford Foundation program for Ph.D. candidates and postdoctoral scholars, have been instrumental to the nurturing and support of minority scholars since the 1970s.
The 2006 Emerging Scholars have other interesting distinctions. Two of the four African-Americans in the group are graduates of historically Black institutions, a nod to the ongoing success that Black colleges and universities have had in sending their alumni to graduate schools. And the Asian Americans and Latino Americans included represent a wide range of international origins that include Taiwan, Cuba, the Philippines and Malaysia.
It is our great honor to present Diverse’s inaugural cadre of
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