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Our Salute to Scholars

Our Salute to Scholars

If you do the work you care most about, that’s where you’ll find true satisfaction. You simply won’t find passion and intellectual honesty in an area you don’t care about.” These are the words of Goodwin Liu, one of this year’s Emerging Scholars and a law professor at the University of California at Berkeley.

Liu is right on target, and it’s a sentiment shared by many of the scholars profiled in this annual edition. Indeed, it is why they excel in their respective fields.

Many of them credit great mentors for their success — senior scholars who offered words of wisdom along the way and encouragement to pursue or stick with a specific discipline. Achieving professional success appears to be a result of both heeding good advice, but also listening to your inner voice and being true to your own dreams and aspirations. That’s sometimes easier said than done. The latter is more difficult and requires confidence.

This group of 10 scholars is not short on confidence. You can’t lack confidence, if, for example, you’re one of a handful of Black women in your field in the entire country. But this group is also humble and appreciative and does not give short shrift to those who have helped them become standout scholars. Products of great mentoring, many of them serve as mentors as well. The challenge of juggling teaching, researching and family obligations is a recurrent theme in the profiles — something we can all identify with.

And for the first time since we started publishing the Emerging Scholars edition in January 2002, we caught up with our first group of scholars, aka “The Academy’s New Cast.” This was our first foray into profiling “faculty under 40,” and it proved so popular, we are on our seventh edition.

The Class of 2002 is doing very well, and they share both personal and professional milestones. I was glad to see that six years later, nine of the 10 scholars remain in the academy or are closely affiliated. Most recently, 2002 Emerging Scholar Dr. Ben Vinson graced our Nov. 1, 2007, cover highlighting his appointment as the new director of the Center for Africana Studies at Johns Hopkins University. Since 2002, we’ve also written about Dr. Juan Gilbert of Auburn University who is doing an impressive job of producing Black Ph.D.s in computer science.

With the help of our readers who nominated scholars, we present to you the Class of 2008 — a group of outstanding scholars in the fields of African-American studies and religion; engineering; genetics; history, law and political science, just to name a few. We are always impressed with the final selection of scholars, but we’re always more impressed once our writers submit the profiles. Because each scholar has a personal story and that’s not reflected in their curriculum vitae. I don’t want to steal any thunder from the individual profiles, but you, too, will be moved, impressed and inspired.
We hope you enjoy this annual edition. And remember, it’s not too early to nominate scholars for the 2009 issue. Send me an e-mail at [email protected]. In the meantime, Happy New Year!

Hilary Hurd Anyaso

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