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Thomas Landefeld: Professor of Biology Visits Historically Black Colleges
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Thomas Landefeld: Professor of Biology Visits Historically Black Colleges

Thomas Landefeld gave career development seminars at several Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in February, sponsored by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC) program. The professor of biology and pre-health advisor at California State University, Dominguez Hills presented “Becoming a Scientist: Considerations for Minority Students in Choosing a Career in Science” at the University of Arkansas in Pine Bluff, Savannah State University in Savannah, Morehouse College in Atlanta, Southern University in Baton Rouge, and Philander Smith College in Little Rock. The seminars included meeting with students and faculty individually and in groups to discuss the importance of grooming minority students for doctorate programs in the science and health fields.

Landefeld says that although the number of African American males in college and graduate schools is dropping, there are some programs that are succeeding in attracting and graduating them.

“I spoke specifically to the Hopps Scholars at Morehouse, which is a Department of Defense-funded program,” he says. “Dr. John H. Hopps, Jr. was a black physicist who was a professor of physics and also served as provost at Morehouse. After leaving Morehouse, he served as the deputy undersecretary of defense for laboratories and basic sciences. This program is of special significance considering the low numbers of black men currently in higher education programs. For [the DOD] it is an investment in the future. The program focuses on students going onto Ph.D. programs, thereby eventually resulting in more black males who will not only be in the workforce, but be in positions to make changes.”

Landefeld presented similar talks last month at Canada Community College in Redwood City, Mercy College in New York City, and Virginia State University in Petersburg and met with students to work on applications and personal statements. He also discussed with faculty members some of the issues surrounding mentoring minority students.

- Joanie Harmon


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Last updated Friday, March 6, 2009, 1:17 p.m., by Joanie Harmon