AIMS OF THIS WEB SITE
From"Flourishing in Scientific Careers"
Black Issues in Higher Education, January 9, 1997, pps. 31-32
By Gary M. Stern
In 1999, Dr. Roosevelt Calbert, director of Human Resources Development at the National Science Foundation, attributes "the dearth of Black scientist to a variety of factors including: the inadequate science requirements and teaching in most K-12 urban schools attended by most African American students; the lack of financial grants and scholarships bestowed on Black students in science; and the scarcity of mentors who can serve as role models and show African American youngsters how to handle the competitive aspects of science."
Moreover, Calbert attributes the lack of minority male scientist to peer pressure in which Black students interested in science are mocked for "not being macho." He also observed that many African Americans opt to become medical doctors because of the opportunity to earn more money.
"Some problems are financial. Another has to do with mentoring. Too many Black students don't have proper mentoring as undergraduates. And often parents don't offer enough support. Parents play a major role in a student's life who is interested in math or science," says Calbert.
Long before this web site was founded in 1997, I too was struck by the emphasis, within the american culture, upon achievements in the Sports/Entertainment Industry as indications of success. In the african american subculture, the indications are even stronger - just consider the winners of the Image Awards among others awards. The rare occasion a scientist has won an award, there has been a limitation to the medical field. In addition, where it concerns successes in mathematics and the sciences, I discovered much incorrect or misconstrued information available in texts and especially on the web.
The impetus for creating this web site was a desire to suggest modern mathematicans and scientists as images of success to present to the african american community. My steadfast personal view over the years has been thinking precisely has more class than looking good.
My qualifications include 7 years in the segregated Baltimore public schools (5 more as a guinea pig), 4 years of excellent undergraduate mathematics training with research orientation, 4 years of graduate training with research orientation, 6 Master's Degree students (at Pennsylvania State University, Ohio University, and the University of Buffalo), two Ph.D. students, 35+ years as a research mathematician, regular reader of the Notices of the American Mathematics Society and The American Mathematical Monthly and research journals, co-founder (1969) of the first african american mathematicians group and co-founder (1997) of the council of the first african american research mathematicians group, a personal library of thousands of books by africans and african americans, and an interest in history.
Finally, I wish I had a team of helpers on this project, especially during Black History Month when there are more than 100,000 visitors to the web site, with anywhere from 1 to 10% asking questions. Alas, there is no help, and no funding for this project other than love and obstinance.
Dr. Scott W. Williams
April 29, 1998, renewed March 13, 2002
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