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William A. Hawkins

Program director and math professor William Anthony Hawkins, Jr. was born in Washington, D.C. in 1947. His father, William Anthony Hawkins, Sr., was a postal worker; his mother, Amanda L. Hawkins, a dental hygienist. After graduating from Archbishop Carroll High School in 1964, Hawkins briefly attended Merrimack College before transferring to Howard University. While there, he studied under Dr. Louise Raphael, Professor James Joseph, and Dr. Arthur Thorpe (physics) and went on to graduate with his B.S. degree in mathematics in 1968. In 1970, Hawkins received his M.S. degree in physics from Howard University and his M.A. degree in mathematics from the University of Michigan. He was awarded a Ford Foundation Fellowship while attending the University of Michigan where he studied under Dr. James S. Milne and graduated from there with his Ph.D. degree in mathematics in 1982.

Hawkins has dedicated over forty-three years to the education of minority students. In 1968, Hawkins was hired as a teacher at Cardozo High School in Washington, D.C., soon discovering his passion for teaching. In 1970, Hawkins was appointed as an instructor at Federal City College (University of the District of Columbia). He went on to serve as chair of the mathematics department of the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) for five years. In 1990, Hawkins took leave from his position as associate professor at UDC and became director of the Strengthening Underrepresented Minority Mathematics Achievement (SUMMA) Program at the Mathematical Association of America. SUMMA has raised more than $4 million to increase the representation of minorities in mathematics, science, and engineering and to improve the mathematics education of minorities. In 1995, Hawkins returned to UDC as an associate professor in the mathematics department while simultaneously directing the SUMMA program.

Hawkins authored Attracting Minorities into Teaching Mathematics 1994, and Constructing a Secure Pipeline for Minority Students 1995. Hawkins is a member of the Mathematical Association of America, the National Association of Mathematicians, and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. He received the 2006 Benjamin Banneker Legacy Award from the Banneker Institute of Science & Technology, and the 2013 Gung and Hu Award for Distinguished Service to Mathematics from the Mathematical Association of America.

William Anthony Hawkins, Jr. was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on June 17, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.159

Sex

Male

Interview Date

6/17/2013

Last Name

Hawkins

Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Anthony

Schools

University of Michigan

Howard University

First Name

William

Birth City, State, Country

Washington

HM ID

HAW03

Favorite Season

Fall

State

District of Columbia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean

Favorite Quote

Ignorance is never bliss.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

9/15/1947

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Rice (Curried)

Short Description

Program director and math professor William A. Hawkins (1947 - ) , former director of Strengthening Underrepresented Minority Mathematics Achievement (SUMMA) at the Mathematical Association of America, received the 2013 Gung and Hu Award for Distinguished Service to Mathematics.

Employment

University of the District of Columbia

Mathematical Association of America

Cardozo High School

Federal City College

Favorite Color

Green

Timing Pairs
0,0:1496,53:2464,71:4840,116:6072,170:11792,287:12408,295:18640,486:31437,671:31923,679:38160,813:39780,845:40347,855:44640,932:45693,947:49824,1022:61720,1116:62995,1145:63295,1150:63595,1156:63895,1161:64195,1166:66070,1203:69295,1242:70420,1269:71095,1281:71395,1287:74020,1343:91506,1601:92298,1614:93882,1651:100864,1723:108220,1860:109155,1872:109665,1879:122346,2111:123136,2129:123768,2140:124242,2148:125901,2178:126217,2183:127876,2219:128192,2224:134029,2302:134345,2307:138374,2402:139006,2414:143049,2472:144019,2500:154815,2631:156020,2657$0,0:11068,201:36192,397:36780,406:60720,730:63714,735:70334,863:79889,1048:80435,1055:94030,1250:100798,1364:113400,1553:115320,1592:115880,1600:116840,1616:118440,1644:119720,1669:120040,1674:124760,1787:137835,2012:149841,2277:150189,2282:159288,2324:160296,2341:160716,2347:171796,2499:204220,2961
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of William Hawkins' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - William Hawkins lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - William Hawkins describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - William Hawkins describes his mother's growing up in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - William Hawkins talks about his mother's church, education and employment in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - William Hawkins describes his father's family background - part one

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - William Hawkins describes his father's family background - part two

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - William Hawkins talks about how his parents met and were married

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - William Hawkins describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - William Hawkins talks about his father's service in the U.S. Army

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - William Hawkins talks about his parents' education

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - William Hawkins talks about his paternal aunt, Sarah Bray

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - William Hawkins describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - William Hawkins talks about his father's employment at the U.S. Post Office

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - William Hawkins talks about the neighborhoods he lived in and the schools he attended in Washington, District of Columbia

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - William Hawkins talks about his experience in school, and his interests and activities as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - William Hawkins talks about how Washington, D.C. was while he was growing up, and its evolution over the years

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - William Hawkins talks about his experience in school

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - William Hawkins talks about his high school

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - William Hawkins talks about the 1960 presidential elections and the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - William Hawkins describes his experience in high school

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - William Hawkins describes his experience at Merrimack College

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - William Hawkins describes being in a car accident in Washington, D.C. and his decision to attend Howard University

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - William Hawkins describes his experience at Howard University

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - William Hawkins describes his involvement with the SNCC in the summer of 1966, meeting Stokely Carmichael, and returning to Howard University

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - William Hawkins talks about graduating from Howard University in 1968

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - William Hawkins talks about getting a deferment on the draft, and his decision to pursue graduate studies at the University of Michigan

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - William Hawkins talks about his involvement with the National Technical Association (NTA)

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - William Hawkins talks about pursuing his master's degree in physics at Howard University and his master's degree in math at the University of Michigan

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - William Hawkins talks about mathematicians, Euphemia Lofton Haynes, Evelyn Boyd Granville, Marjorie Lee Browne, and David Blackwell

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - William Hawkins talks about his involvement in political activism at Howard University

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - William Hawkins talks about the Ishango Society of Mathematics and Abdulalim Shabazz

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - William Hawkins talks about his mentors at the University of Michigan - part one

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - William Hawkins talks about his mentors at the University of Michigan - part two

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - William Hawkins talks about his doctoral dissertation in the area of algebraic geometry

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - William Hawkins talks about his interest in teaching

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - William Hawkins talks about his involvement in the Mathematical Association of America (MAA)

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - William Hawkins talks about the need for a public university such as the University of the District of Columbia (UDC)

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - William Hawkins talks about the demographics of the faculty at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC)

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - William Hawkins discusses historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in the United States

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - William Hawkins talks about the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) and the department of mathematics there

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - William Hawkins reflects upon the higher education system in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - William Hawkins talks about his involvement with the Mathematics Association of America (MAA) and its SUMMA Program

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - William Hawkins talks about pre-college programs for underrepresented minorities in mathematics

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - William Hawkins talks about the Mathematical Association of America's (MAA) National Research Experience for Undergraduates Program (NREUP)

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - William Hawkins talks about the importance and impact of summer undergraduate research programs and summer programs in math and science

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - William Hawkins talks about the administrative process for running the National Research Experiences for Undergraduates Program (NREUP)

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - William Hawkins discusses minority Ph.D.s in mathematics

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - William Hawkins talks about HistoryMaker Luther Williams and other minorities at the National Science Foundation (NSF)

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - William Hawkins describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community today

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - William Hawkins describes his experience at a Southern Christian Leadership Conference march in Grenada, Mississippi in 1966

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - William Hawkins talks about the importance of access to math and science

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - William Hawkins talks about the importance of being able to read and comprehend information

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - William Hawkins reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - William Hawkins reflects upon undergraduate education and its role in facilitating economic equality

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - William Hawkins talks about his family

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - William Hawkins reflects upon religion and science, and the importance of fairness

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - William Hawkins talks about his parents and his mother's apprehension towards his visit to the South during the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - William Hawkins talks about how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$4

DAStory

1$6

DATitle
William Hawkins talks about his interest in teaching
William Hawkins talks about his mentors at the University of Michigan - part one
Transcript
Your Ph.D. dissertation [at University of Michigan], like, plunged you deeper into math, even though it was nothing groundbreaking--$$Oh, sure. Well, I mean--$$--but it really.$$Oh, it certainly. I mean, because you have to do something original to get your Ph.D. So, I mean it was a problem that my advisor had thought of, you know. He said, he would think about something for me to work on. And if he had came up with something good to me--this was sort of the situation. If he could come up with something good, then he would, you know, he might take me, 'cuz he didn't promise to take me on as a student. And anyway, he was gone. He was going to be gone. He went to France for a year. He liked to climb mountains, too. I was always worried that he wouldn't be able to come back, you know, wouldn't continue. But anyway. So, you know, the idea was that--and I liked, you know, what is--I liked algebra. Some people like analysis, which is sort of calculus and its derivations, you might say. And I liked that a lot, but I liked algebra more so. Like, I say, you know, group theory and things like that, I just ended up liking that more, much more than I liked even geometry. I liked geometry in high school and stuff, but this--. So, you know, and people, you know, what I guess students don't realize, basically, you are paid to do something you enjoy when you're, especially a graduate faculty member. I mean, you know, you, if you can get it, you can get it published. Now, I know things are changing, but if you can get it published, you know, get your peers to say this is something of significance, then you are basically paid to do what you want. I mean, you know. I mean, you have to teach classes, but, you know the research institutions, they teach the subjects that they want to teach. You know, they teach about their own research or things that they're interested in. So, I mean, nothing like higher education for a job. I mean, you're just paid to do what you want to do, you know. So I--that's one thing I've--I mean, I've enjoyed. I've enjoyed teaching. I haven't always taught. I left to go back to graduate school. So that was five years I was away. Then I came here full time, five years to the MAA [Mathematics Association of America]. And then I went back, you know. And I've actually included--took me a long time to realize. You know, I like teaching an awful lot, you know. And that's what I've certainly done most of my life. I've been doing it--so, I mean, I first started teaching, in terms of professionally, in 1969. That's a long time. That's 40, you know, 44 years, 45 years, you know.$I can say someone whom I thought was--what's his name? What's Ullman's last name? I mean that's his last name. What's his first name? Anyway, the person who was on my committee was someone I found that, underneath a rough, very rough surface exterior was someone who cared about students. He was actually--let see if I can get the name. (pause). I can't think of his name. He was at--'cuz when you went to Baton Rouge [Louisiana], right, to see Lovenia [DeConge-Watson, also a HistoryMaker], a Rogers Newman was on the faculty. I don't know if you spoke to him. He was a student at Michigan. His advisor was someone on my committee and was someone who was very hard to convince, even though he had had a black student, that things needed to change. Let's put it like that. I'll just, you know, he thought. But he was very--he had a very, very rough exterior, but really helpful to me. And I would not have finished probably graduate school without him, right. Even though he didn't teach me or anything, but he made contacts for me that I didn't know I needed to make, you know. He and I argued for an whole hour one day. Back and forth, back and forth, in his office; back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. At the end of that argument, he said, "Okay. Now, how are things going with you?" I mean, you know. I told him what my plans were and the person I had thought about taking on as my--actually to be my advisor. And he told me, "Well, this person is getting ready to go on sabbatical." And what he did, he set up a program for me where I could work with someone else on--for my preliminary exam while this other person I wanted to work with is gone. And I--well, what happened, I would have gone the beginning of the next semester looking for this person, he would have been gone, and I would have been at a total loss. I wouldn't have known what to do. And he--so he set it up. And the person he got for me to work with--not my advisor--is the person who is now in the National Academy and a really good guy, you know. And let me see if I can get his name. I can't think of his name right now. I know who he is. I'll think of it. But he would---he supervised me on my prelims. Very, very helpful. He wasn't my advisor, but the idea that someone with whom you don't actually agree on things, cared enough to do something like that, that was--he was very--can't think of Ullman's--U-L-L-M-A-N. That was--that was his last name. I can't think of his first name. He's deceased now. But he was Rogers Newman's--Rogers Newman's, right, advisor. Right. And Rogers was on the faculty at Southern [University, Baton Rouge]. And he was a big--he was a very--he was the president of NAM [National Association of Mathematicians] for--executive secretary of NAM or president, I think, for a while. So, anyway--Dan. No, that's the guy who's at GW [George Washington University, Washington, District of Columbia] now.

Grant Venerable

Chemist, artist, and author Grant D. Venerable was born on August 31, 1942 in Los Angeles, California. After receiving his B.S. degree in chemistry from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in 1965, Venerable enrolled at the the University of Chicago and graduated from there with his M.S. degree in physical chemistry in 1967, and Ph.D. degree in physical chemistry in 1970. He completed the research for his doctoral dissertation as a Resident Research Associate in the Radiation Chemistry Section of the Argonne National Laboratory. Upon graduation, he was awarded the United States Atomic Energy Commission Fellowship for postdoctoral studies in radiation biology at UCLA’s Laboratory of Nuclear medicine.

In 1971, Venerable was appointed as a high school chemistry and biology instructor with the Duarte Unified School District. He then taught chemistry at California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo from 1972 to 1978, and the University of California, Santa Cruz in Oakes College from 1978 to 1980. During the 1980s, he was as a systems scientist in the Silicon Valley industry. From 1982 to 1989, Venerable served as the executive vice president of Omnitrom Associates while simultaneously serving as a partner in the Coral and Courtland Groups. From 1992 to 1999, he was president and CEO of Ventek Software, Inc. Venerable has also consulted for several other California companies including Banks Brown, Inc.

From 1989 to 1996, he served on the faculty at San Francisco State University in the College of Ethnic Studies where he developed and taught a new field blending history of science and ethnic studies. Venerable was also integral to the development of the “Step To College.” In addition, Venerable served at Chicago State University as the Associate Provost and as a professor of chemistry and African American studies (1996-1999), at Morris Brown College as the Dean of Faculty, interim Dean of the College, Provost, and professor-at-large of science and civilization (1999-2002), as chair of the Council of Chief Academic Officers for the Atlanta University Center (1999-2002), and as the Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs (2010-2011) and the Vice President for Academic Affairs (2002-2010) at Lincoln University (Pennsylvania). He held adjunct teaching appointments at the California Institute of Integral Studies in the MBA degree program in information and technology, and in the chemistry departments of Laney College of Oakland and California State University, Los Angeles.

His publications include six books, forty commissioned oil paintings on molecular structure, dozens of academic articles and editorials in such places as the San Francisco Examiner and the Wall Street Journal. Venerable’s honors and awards include the National Educational Leadership Award from the JGT Foundation, the Step To College Distinguished Teaching Award from San Francisco State University, the California Alliance for Arts Education Outstanding Achievement Award, and the Alpha Chi Sigma Chemistry Fraternity Molecular Art Appreciation Award, and the Distinguished Teaching Award of Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo.

Grant D. Venerable, II was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 9, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.100

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/9/2013

Last Name

Venerable

Middle Name

D

Schools

James A. Foshay Learning Center

University of California, Los Angeles

University of Chicago

First Name

Grant

Birth City, State, Country

Los Angeles

HM ID

VEN02

Favorite Season

Spring

State

California

Favorite Vacation Destination

California

Favorite Quote

To Everything, There Is A Season.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

8/31/1942

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fried Chicken, Stir Fry Vegetables, Rice, Salads

Short Description

Chemist and academic administrator Grant Venerable (1942 - ) taught chemistry and cultural studies in California universities, worked in Silicon Valley industry, and served as senior academic officer and as professor-at-large of science, technology, and civilization higher education institutions in Illinois, Georgia, and Pennsylvania.

Employment

Argonne National Laboratory

United States Department of Energy

University of California, Irvine

Omnitron Associates

Coral Group and Courtland Group

Step To College/ASCEND

San Francisco State University

Ventek Software, Inc.

California Institute of Integral Studies

Morris Brown College

Lincoln University

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:726,14:1320,28:1782,40:2376,52:3234,65:3630,73:4488,87:5148,98:9560,105:10310,116:11135,126:15335,211:17885,262:21309,270:22139,284:23965,318:24380,324:24878,331:26040,355:27949,380:28530,443:29277,453:29941,462:30522,471:32099,501:32514,507:33261,518:36620,530:37070,536:37430,541:39320,568:39770,574:40670,585:42110,604:42470,609:44886,621:46326,653:46974,664:49988,683:50336,690:50858,701:51090,706:51322,711:51960,723:55230,744:55534,749:56142,759:56446,764:58650,820:59182,829:61538,875:62526,890:66818,915:67371,923:68161,935:69504,959:69899,965:70610,977:70926,982:71558,991:72743,1011:74797,1045:75271,1053:76377,1070:81198,1091:83054,1114:86612,1155:87080,1163:88562,1188:89342,1201:89888,1209:90200,1214:91448,1236:91838,1242:92696,1257:93398,1286:93944,1294:98258,1321:99920,1329:100364,1337:101326,1351:102214,1363:102584,1369:104952,1404:105840,1420:106210,1426:106950,1440:107320,1446:108578,1470:110280,1507:110650,1514:114630,1521:115206,1530:115494,1535:116646,1558:117438,1567:117726,1572:118302,1581:118662,1587:119022,1594:120102,1622:121182,1648:122046,1659:122478,1666:122766,1671:126581,1694:127968,1726:131130,1782:131500,1788:137080,1861:137820,1874:138116,1879:138412,1884:139374,1901:140780,1924:141076,1929:145068,1975:147000,2009:148092,2030:149016,2041:149604,2051:158405,2154:159042,2163:159497,2169:164352,2208:165162,2224:166296,2237:167511,2256:167835,2261:170751,2302:173970,2313:178135,2367:180942,2396:181950,2414:183126,2436:183546,2442:184134,2451:186486,2490:187326,2502:191435,2520:192272,2531:192923,2539:193946,2553:196352,2582:197184,2598:199840,2631:200242,2638:201113,2657:201920,2665$0,0:5834,36:8642,58:11117,78:11441,83:11765,88:12413,97:12899,104:13709,117:14033,122:14843,134:15410,142:16139,154:20258,189:21038,225:22286,247:23066,259:23612,267:24470,280:24782,286:25718,300:26186,307:29870,337:37005,387:43333,479:44125,488:48805,506:49405,515:49780,521:50155,527:52560,536:53197,544:53743,551:54289,562:54926,567:55381,573:56018,582:56473,588:57383,696:57838,702:58293,713:59294,727:71638,970:72174,981:72643,990:73514,1006:73849,1012:74385,1021:75256,1037:80338,1107:84450,1131:84750,1136:85275,1144:85650,1150:86700,1171:88875,1211:89625,1222:90825,1245:93560,1256:95856,1292:96512,1302:96840,1307:97824,1323:98562,1335:98890,1340:99218,1345:104080,1382:109565,1409:109991,1417:110346,1426:110630,1431:117865,1568:123350,1637:123830,1649:124230,1655:124870,1664:125670,1673:125990,1678:126470,1686:127190,1696:129614,1704:129949,1710:131088,1734:132984,1745:133444,1751:135192,1792:135928,1802:136480,1807:138370,1813:138725,1819:139151,1826:141864,1859:142396,1868:143232,1880:145816,1947:146956,1960:149008,1990:149464,1997:150528,2014:158535,2099:158915,2104:160435,2131:161385,2142:162145,2155:162715,2162:163475,2194:164235,2202:168200,2224:169460,2237:174355,2366:177150,2417:177870,2429:178190,2434:178510,2441:178830,2446:179550,2458:179950,2464:180350,2470:180910,2479:181310,2485:182910,2510:183710,2524:185870,2557:186430,2565:190600,2579:191616,2590:194272,2601:195112,2613:195448,2618:196120,2628:197548,2653:198640,2669:199564,2683:202470,2690:203002,2698:203762,2711:204142,2717:204750,2726:205358,2736:205814,2744:206118,2749:206574,2757:207486,2771:209234,2802:209918,2812:212877,2826:213983,2843:214299,2848:215010,2859:215721,2869:216432,2881:219094,2903:219370,2908:220267,2924:220681,2931:222268,2961:223027,2979:223855,2995:224338,3004:224614,3009:225097,3018:225787,3030:229849,3043:230214,3049:230798,3058:231601,3072:231893,3077:234030,3091:234750,3102:235326,3112:235758,3119:241300,3221:243801,3245:244571,3256:246111,3282:247112,3298:249392,3323:250576,3345:253090,3360:253682,3370:256198,3414:257012,3427:257308,3432:259928,3460:260272,3465:260702,3471:261046,3476:262460,3486:262844,3493:265400,3526:266030,3538:266800,3550:267220,3559:267500,3564:268480,3582:269670,3604:269950,3609:270300,3615:270580,3620:271210,3634:271490,3641:272960,3672:273520,3682:274360,3697:274990,3708:275270,3713:276600,3739:277090,3748:277720,3758:281930,3776:282970,3798:283555,3808:284465,3825:286520,3833:287210,3845:288107,3859:288590,3868:289694,3886:289970,3891:290246,3896:290798,3909:291488,3922:294375,3945:295950,3968:301670,4014:302726,4037:303650,4058:304046,4068:304310,4073:304772,4081:306026,4119:309002,4144:309470,4151:310094,4160:318900,4204:319780,4218:320180,4224:321140,4238:321460,4243:322980,4274:326390,4299:326950,4308:327230,4313:329190,4349:331610,4363:332060,4370:335135,4418:335435,4423:335735,4428:336185,4435:336935,4450:337385,4458:338060,4470:339260,4497:340010,4508:340685,4520:351255,4615:352861,4651:353445,4660:355489,4702:356146,4712:357168,4727:361579,4743:361951,4748:363346,4773:372792,4898:378360,4970:386060,5038
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Grant Venerable's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Grant Venerable lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Grant Venerable describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Grant Venerable describes his maternal family's migration to Kansas and later to California

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Grant Venerable talks about his mother's life in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Grant Venerable talks about his mother's education and employment in Los Angeles, California, and the Sugar Hill neighborhood in Los Angeles

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Grant Venerable describes his father's family background - part one

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Grant Venerable describes his father's family background - part two

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Grant Venerable discusses his paternal family's cultural lineage, and the name "Venerable"

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Grant Venerable talks about his father's education in Kansas City, Missouri and San Bernardino, California

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Grant Venerable describes his father's experience attending college in California - part one

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Grant Venerable describes his father's experience attending college in California - part two

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Grant Venerable describes his father's trip to Chicago to meet chemist, Lloyd Hall

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Grant Venerable describes how his parents met and married in the late 1930s

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Grant Venerable talks about his father's career

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Grant Venerable describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Grant Venerable talks about his siblings, his mother's death, his step-mother, Ida Walls Lee, and his paternal aunt, Neosho Venerable Tatum

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Grant Venerable describes his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Grant Venerable talks about the neighborhood where he grew up in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Grant Venerable describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Grant Venerable talks about attending Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Grant Venerable describes his experience in elementary school

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Grant Venerable talks about learning music, his interest in painting, and his lack of race consciousness as a young boy

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Grant Venerable reflects upon the murder of Emmett Till in 1955, and its influence on his racial consciousness - part two

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Grant Venerable reflects upon the murder of Emmett Till in 1955, and its influence on his racial consciousness - part two

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Grant Venerable describes his early interest in science

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Grant Venerable talks about his scientific curiosity in high school and college

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Grant Venerable describes his experience in high school

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Grant Venerable talks about his teachers in high school

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Grant Venerable talks about his leadership roles in high school and his relationship with James S. Cantlan at Pacific Telephone

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Grant Venerable talks about his experience as a senior in high school, and about applying for college

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Grant Venerable talks about his mentors at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - part one

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Grant Venerable talks about his mentors at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - part two

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Grant Venerable describes how he created oil paintings based on chemical molecules

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Grant Venerable talks about hearing prominent political and cultural figures speak at UCLA and in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Grant Venerable talks about meeting historian, John Hope Franklin, at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Grant Venerable reflects upon the Civil Rights Movement and the socio-political climate in the United States in the 1960s

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Grant Venerable describes his decision to pursue graduate studies at the University of Chicago

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Grant Venerable talks about the African American scientists who graduated from the chemistry department at the University of Chicago

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Grant Venerable describes his experience as a graduate student at the University of Chicago

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Grant Venerable talks about organic, inorganic and physical chemistry

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Grant Venerable talks about his master's degree advisor, Mark Inghram, at the University of Chicago

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Grant Venerable describes his doctoral dissertation research at Argonne National Laboratory

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Grant Venerable describes his doctoral dissertation research and its implications

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Grant Venerable talks about the Manhattan Project

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Grant Venerable talks about his postdoctoral work at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Grant Venerable talks about his involvement in the Black Students Alliance at the University of Chicago in the 1960s

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Grant Venerable talks about his experience looking for university faculty positions in 1971

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Grant Venerable describes his experience at Duarte High School and his recruitment to California Polytechnic State University

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Grant Venerable describes his early interest in science
Grant Venerable talks about his involvement in the Black Students Alliance at the University of Chicago in the 1960s
Transcript
Now, you were also drawn to science, of course, and were you--is there a place in your elementary school experience where you really focused in on science or did it occur at home?$$It started right at home. It started with my becoming nearsighted at the age of seven. This 'Book of Knowledge' collection--there were about twenty volumes of the 'Book of Knowledge' sitting in my parents' [Thelma Lorraine Scott Venerable and Grant Venerable] bookcases flanking this big fireplace in the living room; other volumes of literature, which they purposely placed there for their children's curiosity, to lead them there. And once I got hold of the 'Book of Knowledge' around age five--I really learned to read from Grandmother Venerable, who would just drill us, just read to us. Parents would read to us, and then I would learn to read; all of us learned to read. Then it was accelerated in school. We had out loud reading sessions in school. But, anyway, I could pick up and read anything that was drawing my attention, whether it was how the food is processed in the body and goes in the throat to the stomach, passes through the colon to how does the moon go through eclipses? And I would get so excited with what I would learn, I would further ask my father [Grant Venerable] for further clarification. And he was full of ways of demonstrating things. He could demonstrate the eclipse. We had a little globe, a model globe, and he would have a light bulb and a lamp without the shade, and he would have a little baseball that would be the moon, and show how this baseball would cast a shadow on this little globe from the light. I got so excited by things like that. I would have to share it now. Here's where the teaching instincts start to come out. I'd go up to the fifth grade and tell my teacher, "Can I show the class how an eclipse works?" That was the only male teacher I had in elementary, but he was also focused on science. And he said, "Sure." So that's how he encouraged--you can imagine it if he had said, "Oh, well, not today." No, he said, "Sure. Can you do it tomorrow?" And so I brought a little--a little duffle bag with all these things in it and showed the class. So when we reached geography of California, and we were making a papier-mache topographic map of California showing the mountains, the bays, the coastline, and I said, "The mountains are not high enough. The coastal mountains are lower than the Sierras." And I--so I was the one who oversaw the correction of the mountains' heights because I was keyed into that. Maybe that happened in the fourth grade--I don't know. But that's really what got it started.$You realize, again, you acknowledge this was the 1960s of turmoil. And I had done some innocent things that did not look innocent to certain people. In applying for my Argonne [National] Laboratory [near Chicago, Illinois] Fellowship and my AEC Fellowship, there's questions on race, which they've always been. And there was a box to check for "Negro," and I averted it and went--and then there's a box for "Other," and I wrote "Black" and checked that. And I dare say I was probably investigated as a possibly risky black radical, because nobody used black then other than the Black Panthers [black revolutionary socialist organization active in the United States from 1966 until 1982].$$In those days, now, these are the days in Chicago [Illinois]--$$This is 1967.$$Yeah. '67 [1967], '68 [1968], '69 [1969]. These are the days you had a Black Panther Party in Chicago. You had the Communiversity going on at the (unclear) studies, a lot of--$$So I realize--and then I was also the convener of the Black Students Alliance on the campus; all made me eligible for FBI [Federal Bureau of Intelligence] surveillance. And so I know there's video footage of me in the university archives, because one of the professors told me he had watched some of it after he had met me. Yeah, I was a figure to keep track of on the campus, but they also found me quite clean, as they say in those days, so.$$Yeah. So this is also the time when Dr. [Martin Luther] King--you were working on your Ph.D. when Dr. King's assassinated.$$Yes, I was.$$Though, the Chicago riots took place on the West Side (simultaneous)--$$I was.$$There was--$$Yeah. Half of the Black Students Alliance took over my apartment with my three other roommates, one of whom was a black Panamanian from Brooklyn [New York]; the other two were white upper middle class from America. So that was quite an interesting experience we all had, 'cause these students--I was their convener there, like, their chairman, and they were mainly undergraduates. There was a woman there--have you heard of Leath Mullings (ph.)? Yeah. Leaf was in that group. She was one of the undergrads there then. Roscoe Giles [also a HistoryMaker] was there. Roscoe was--he was an undergrad in physics, then, who went on to MIT [Massachusetts Institute fo Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts]. But these were some of the smartest kids--$$Yeah. Leath Mulligan--$$--you've ever saw in your life. They were in the first large group of black students admitted by the University of Chicago as a prestige Ivy League caliber institution. Sharp as a tack. And they're the ones that felt they wanted me to be the convener of the alliance as a buffer between them and the black graduate students, most of whom were in sociology and political science, who had two different agendas. The undergrads had a more practical, immediate agenda; was like in the--when the West Side went up in flames after the King assassination, they wanted to be free to get out there to take food and clothing to people. The black graduate students were more interested in theorizing about the coming revolution, the black revolutions. The undergrads weren't interested particularly because it was too abstract for them. The university actually curfewed all the students in the dorms where a lot of the undergrads lived. So that's why the thirty to forty undergrads deposited themselves at my apartment so they would not be hemmed in, and they could have access to things they felt they needed to do. So that was an interesting moment. They disappeared. The administration didn't know where they were. If you were a president of a college and you could not account to the parents of your students where they were, that's a difficult situation. So it took me and one of my chemistry professors to be able to establish a communication with the administration so that they were assured that all was well, and then all was well. Edward Levi was president then. Do you remember who he was? Well, he was also--had been dean of the law school, a very careful legal thinker, but he was [President] Gerald Ford's--President Ford's Attorney General. He handled student--shall we say, uprising in a whole different way than Governor [Ronald] Regan did in California. So when the students took over the administration building at Chicago, Levi simply moved out to another building and said, let him know when you're done, but just stay as long as you want to (laughs). So they eventually came out on their own. California--Regan's technique was "Teargas them." And it just radicalized all the students on the--well, a lot of the students everywhere in the system. So, it was two different administrative approaches that also affected me (laughs), my development.$$Okay. So, this is--so you were involved in a lot of political activity during the time you were doing intense research as well.$$Very deeply, but not as aware of them as I am now in hindsight.$$Okay.$$I said, "Geez, you were lucky you got your Ph.D."

Trachette Jackson

Mathematician and professor of mathematics Trachette Jackson was born on July 24, 1972. She attended a large public high school and spent her summers at a math-science honors program hosted by Arizona State University where she developed her passion for mathematics. Jackson was an excellent student and graduated in the top twenty of her class. In 1994, she received her B.S. degree in mathematics from Arizona State University. Jackson earned her M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Washington in 1996 and 1998, respectively. Her Ph.D. thesis was entitled “Mathematical Models in Two-Step Cancer Chemotherapy.” She completed postdoctoral positions with the Institute for Mathematics and its Applications at the University of Minnesota, and at Duke University.

In 2000, Jackson joined the faculty at the University of Michigan as an assistant professor in the mathematics department. She was promoted to associate professor in 2003. In 2006, Jackson was appointed as the co-principal investigator of the National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded University of Michigan SUBMERGE (Supplying Undergraduate Biology and Mathematics Education Research Group Experiences) program. SUBMERGE is an interdisciplinary program in math and biology that exposes undergraduates to experimental biology within mathematical modeling and gives exposure to quantitative analysis in biology courses. In 2008, she became a full professor in Michigan’s mathematics department. Jackson is the co-founder, and is the co-director, of the the Mathematics Biology Research Group (MBRG). The group organizes lectures, conferences, and workshops for graduate students and postdoctoral researchers, among other activities. The main focus of her research in mathematical oncology is combining mathematical modeling and in vivo tumor vascularization to gain deeper understanding of tumor growth and the vascular structure of molecular, cellular and tissue levels.

Jackson has published numerous papers on the subject of mathematical oncology and her work has received international attention. In 2008, Jackson served as senior editor for the academic journal, Cancer Research, and has reviewed articles for the Journal of Mathematical Biology and the National Academy of Sciences. Jackson has received many awards including the Blackwell Tapia Award (2010) and the Arizona State University's Medallion of Merit Award. Trachette Jackson is married to Patrick Nelson and they have two sons, Joshua and Noah.

Trachette Jackson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on 10/22/2012.

Accession Number

A2012.184

Sex

Female

Interview Date

10/22/2012

Last Name

Jackson

Middle Name

Levon

Schools

Arizona State University

University of Washington

Mesa High School

Powell Junior High School

First Name

Trachette

Birth City, State, Country

Monroe

HM ID

JAC31

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Louisiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere Warm

Favorite Quote

No matter how far the river flows, it never forgets it's source.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Michigan

Birth Date

7/24/1972

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Ann Arbor

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Southern Food

Short Description

Mathematician and math professor Trachette Jackson (1972 - ) , is the co-founder and co-director of the Mathematics Biology Research Group at the University of Michigan.

Employment

University of Michigan

Duke University

National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory

University of Minnesota

University of Washington, Department of Applied Mathematics

Arizona State University

Favorite Color

Mauve, Deep Purple

Timing Pairs
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9:144410,2087
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Trachette Jackson slates the interview and shares her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Trachette Jackson talks about her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Trachette Jackson talks about her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Trachette Jackson talks about her parents and siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Trachette Jackson talks about her childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Trachette Jackson talks about her experiences growing up with her family who moved a lot

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Trachette Jackson talks about growing up in Italy

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Trachette Jackson talks about her teenage years and academic interests

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Trachette Jackson shares her experience as a minority in the academic setting

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Trachette Jackson talks about her high school experience

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Trachette Jackson talks about her experience at Arizona State University

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Trachette Jackson talks about her college experience

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Trachette Jackson talks about her graduate school experience

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Trachette Jackson talks about her doctoral research at the University of Washington

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Trachette Jackson talks about her husband, son and her post-doctoral experience at the University of Minnesota

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Trachette Jackson talks about her post-doctoral research at Duke University

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Trachette Jackson talks about her career at the University of Michigan

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Trachette Jackson talks about the focus of her career research

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Trachette Jackson describes how she spends her work day

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Trachette Jackson talks about the SUBMERGE Program at the University of Michigan

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Trachette Jackson talks about her CCMB Pilot Grant funding

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Trachette Jackson talks about the SIAM association and her professional activities

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Trachette Jackson talks about her professional activities and reflects on her career

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Trachette Jackson reflects on the impact of her career and talks about her hopes and concerns for the future

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Trachette Jackson talks about her family and how she would like to be remembered

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Trachette Jackson talks about her doctoral research at the University of Washington
Trachette Jackson talks about the SUBMERGE Program at the University of Michigan
Transcript
Okay. Now I hear that you published a paper, your first professional publication, in 1997 called Population Dynamics and Competition in Chemostat Models with Adaptive Nutrient Uptake.$$Yeah, yeah. So this is the work that I started as an undergraduate at Arizona State University with Betty Tang, and it was sort of looking at a chemostat model of bacteria which was designed to, you know, look at-- sort of resemble what would happen in the stomach or in the gut in terms of bacteria uptake. And so we did some different nutrient applications to see how the bacteria would survive and how they would thrive if they had different conditions within that setting, and that was my first publication.$$Okay. So were you then--like you're measuring the--you're trying to come up with a--I guess a rate of growth of bacteria?$$Right. So one of the inputs into the model is how bacteria--the rate of bacteria growth, but there's all kinds of influences on that rate of growth. And one thing is, you know, the space they have available, the amount of nutrients they have available, how many other bacteria are around them, so competition--all of these things feed into that eventual growth rate. And so we were track and time the population's changes based on all of these influences on how the rate of change is affected.$$Okay. Okay. I know I've heard it said that some of these modern anti-bacterial applica--sprays and--(simultaneous)$$--and so (unclear) and all of--$$--yeah, create more space by killing general bacteria off, create more space for the more resistant bacteria --(simultaneous)$$--that's actually--it is true. So definitely they're a good thing to have, you know, these anti-bacteria's, but not to be used without caution I guess, because you are killing general bacteria and not all bacteria is bad. There are some good bacteria's that even in your stomach, in the lining of your stomach and intestines, some of the bacteria that's there is good. So you don't wanna kill off everything. It's just certain bacteria's that are the dangerous ones that you don't need in your system.$$Right, right. Okay, so I guess--you finished your PhD and your work in '97' [1997]? Is that true?$$Ah, '98' [1998]. I got my PhD in '98' [1998].$$--(simultaneous) '98' [1998]? Okay. And tell us about your dissertation. We have a title here. I guess--this is the Theoretical Analysis of Conjugate Localization in Two-Step Cancer Chemotherapy, with a brief yet detailed description of how tumors can form an afflicted--in an afflicted person's body.$$Yeah. So my dissertation came about in actually kind of a strange way. I was a graduate student looking around for different topics that I thought would be interesting to work on. I knew I wanted to do something in cancer, and so I went and researched and looked around the Seattle [Washington] area to see who's doing cancer chemotherapy, who's doing something that might be amenable to mathematical modeling, and I found a group at a bio--pharmaceutical company, I guess. And they were sort of developing these new drugs, a new drug targeting strategy for cancer chemotherapy, and they came in and the lead guy's name was Peter Center. He came in and gave a talk in our Applied Math department, and immediately I knew, based on what he had said, that this is something that I thought I could use my skills as a mathematical model or mathematician, to sort of address. So we started collaborating on trying to figure out the best way to administer these targeting strategies. So what these are is--so traditional chemotherapy, you know, you inject some drug into your body. This drug is supposed to act on cells that are rapidly dividing like cancer cells would be, but they cannot distinguish if those cells that are rapidly dividing are your hair cells or other cells in your body. So it destroys cells in general. The idea behind the mechanisms of the therapies they wanted to give were to target--sort of this magic bullet idea, of targeting the cancer cells specifically, and leaving all the other cells alone. So what they wanted to do was give--first inject the patient with a pro drug, a drug that's not harmful to any other cells in the body, but that drug would find tumor cells. So it would bind particular markers that only exist on tumor cells. And then they would give an enzyme, again, completely non-toxic enzyme, that only when it found the pro drug would catalyze a reaction that made a drug. So the idea is that the pro drug finds the cancer and marks it, highlights it in red, and then the enzyme goes directly there and only there does it catalyze a reaction that makes drug. So you make drug at a tumor site instead of injecting drug throughout the body. So we developed an extensive set of equations to model the delivery of these to anti-cancer agents, the reaction that makes the drug, the binding and targeting of the tumor cells, and we were able to come up with some special optimal situations where you get more drug created in the tumor than you do in the blood, and we could say what kinds of treatment strategies, you know, how much should you give, how long should you wait to give the next dose, all of those kinds of things based on these mathematical models. So we could make predictions about those kinds of things. So that was kinda the crux of my dissertation was modeling this new therapy for cancer.$$Okay. Okay. So you received your PhD in 1998, right?$$Em hm.$$And now, did you do a--your advisor was James Murray?$$He was, he was, yeah.$Okay. Okay. Now in 2006, you received a National Science Foundation grant for University of Michigan SUBMERGE Program.$$Yeah.$$Can you tell us what SUBMERGE [Supplying Undergraduate Biology and Mathematics Education and Research Group Experience] is about?$$Yeah. So SUBMERGE is about merging the subjects of mathematics and biology for undergraduates and this came about because of, you know, my love for undergraduate education and I'd had several undergraduate students who'd worked with me over the summers who were very very good. And I just wanted a mechanism to support more students in this way, give more students the opportunity to really get a hands-on knowledge of mathematical biology early on. So, together with some other faculty on campus, we put in a proposal to have a--to develop research groups of undergraduates where they would work in teams. We would have students from mathematics and students from biology paired up with faculty from mathematics and faculty from biology, so we'd have this inter-disciplinary mix of students and faculty and they'd work together on long-term projects. Not just during the summer but during the academic year, and really sort of get an idea of--give the students an idea of how to talk to each other from different disciplines, how to work together on an inter-disciplinary project, and how to make progress on something within math biology. Hopefully, leading towards a publication for them.$$Okay. Okay. So that was (unclear) so did they publish--$$Yeah, so we had--we had cohorts of four to eight students come in every year, and the program has been really really successful. Almost all teams that have worked through the program have published a paper. Our first group that came through in around 2006, 2007, many of them went off to medical school. The ones that didn't go to medical school got into very good graduate schools, we had several best poster prizes at national conferences, so the students and their research was very well-received and we're very proud of the students who came through the program.

Allen Sessoms

Physicist and education administrator Allen Lee Sessoms was born in 1946. He attended Union College in New York where he graduated with his B.S. degree in physics in 1968. He then attended the University of Washington, where he obtained his M.S. degree in physics the following year. Sessoms went on to Yale University where he earned his Master of Philosophy (M.Phil.) degree in physics in 1971 and his Ph.D. degree in physics in 1972. Following his graduate school work, Sessoms became a postdoctoral research associate at the Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) where he wrote computer programs and studied the production of quarks by high-energy protons at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab).

In 1973, Sessoms was hired to work as a scientific associate at the European Organization of Nuclear Research (CERN), where he researched quarks and similar particles. While at CERN, Sessoms became an assistant professor of physics at Harvard University. Sessoms moved to the U.S. State Department in 1980 as a senior technical advisor for the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs. From 1982 to 1987, Sessoms served as Director of the Office of Nuclear Technology and Safeguards in the same Bureau before becoming a Counselor for Scientific and Technological Affairs at the United States Embassy in Paris, France. Sessoms then traveled to Mexico, where he was a Minister-Counsel for Political Affairs at the United States Embassy before serving as its Deputy Chief of Mission, then the largest United States diplomatic mission in the world. In 1993, Sessoms left the United States State Department and began working as executive vice president at the University of Massachusetts system and also became its vice president for academic affairs. Following his time in Massachusetts, Sessoms was named president of Queens College, part of The City University of New York. Sessoms then spent time at Harvard University, first as a visiting scholar and then as a fellow of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and as a lecturer in public policy. From 2003 to 2008, Sessoms served as the ninth president of Delaware State University prior to his appointment as president of the University of the District of Columbia. He is also a consultant to the U.S. intelligence community.

Sessoms has received a Ford Foundation Travel and Study Grant and an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellowship. He has been bestowed two honorary doctorates from Union College and Soka University in Japan. Sessoms also received the Medal of Highest Honor from Soka University and the Seikyo Culture Award in Japan. In 1999, the Yale University Graduate School Association awarded him the Wilbur Lucius Cross Medal and he was named the Officier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques (“Officer of the Order of Academic Palms) in France.

Accession Number

A2012.135

Sex

Male

Interview Date

9/13/2012

Last Name

Sessoms

Middle Name

Lee

Schools

Yale University

University of Washington

Union College

First Name

Allen

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

SES01

Favorite Season

All Seasons

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Paris, France, Skiing In Switzerland

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

11/17/1946

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Lobster

Short Description

Physicist and university president Allen Sessoms (1946 - ) served in many areas of the State Department before being hired as president of Delaware State University and the University of the District of Columbia.

Employment

University of the District of Columbia

Delaware State University

Harvard University

Queens College

United States Department of State

United States State Department

European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN)

Brookhaven National Laboratory

Alfred P. Sloan Foundation

Bureau of Oceans & International Environmental and Scientific Affairs

University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Favorite Color

Magenta

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Allen Sessoms' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Allen Sessoms lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Allen Sessoms describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Allen Sessoms talks about his mother's migration to New York City

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Allen Sessoms talks about the African American migration to New York City

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Allen Sessoms talks about working at Lincoln Hospital, New York, during high school

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Allen Sessoms describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Allen Sessoms talks about his father's service in the military during World War II

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Allen Sessoms describes how his parents met and his father's musical talent

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Allen Sessoms talks about his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Allen Sessoms describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Allen Sessoms describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Allen Sessoms talks about attending church as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Allen Sessoms describes the apartment where he grew up in the Bronx, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Allen Sessoms describes the neighborhood where he grew up in the Bronx, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Allen Sessoms describes his early education

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Allen Sessoms describes his interest in science

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Allen Sessoms describes his childhood summer activities

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Allen Sessoms describes his father's entrepreneurial activities

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Allen Sessoms describes his musical experience at Walter J. Damrosch Middle School

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Allen Sessoms describes his experience at Walter J. Damrosch Junior High School

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Allen Sessoms talks about his involvement with running track

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Allen Sessoms talks about his brother

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Allen Sessoms describes his experience at Theodore Roosevelt High School

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Allen Sessoms talks about the demographics of Theodore Roosevelt High School

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Allen Sessoms describes his decision to attend Union College

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Allen Sessoms describes his experience at Brookhaven National Labs

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Allen Sessoms describes his experience at Union College, in Schenectady, New York - part one

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Allen Sessoms describes his experience at Union College, in Schenectady, New York - part two

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Allen Sessoms talks about his father being his hero

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Allen Sessoms talks about the reactions to Dr. Martin Luther King's death, and the political climate of the 1960s

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Allen Sessoms describes his decision to pursue his graduate studies at the University of Washington

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Allen Sessoms describes his experience at the University of Washington

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Allen Sessoms talks about his decision to return to the east coast to attend Yale University for his doctoral studies

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Allen Sessoms reflects upon race relations in the United States

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Allen Sessoms talks about his early days in New Haven, Connecticut in 1969

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Allen Sessoms describes his experience at Yale University, and talks about his first advisor, D. Alan Bromley

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Allen Sessoms talks about the poor science preparation at some HBCUs

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Allen Sessoms talks about his doctoral thesis advisor, Bob Adair

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Allen Sessoms talks about his doctoral thesis research on the structure-function of the K meson

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Allen Sessoms talks about Brookhaven National Laboratory, and the lessons he learned at Yale University

Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Allen Sessoms talks about his post-doctoral experience at Brookhaven National Laboratory, and his opportunity to go to work at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Allen Sessoms describes his experience as a scientific associate at CERN, in Geneva, Switzerland

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Allen Sessoms describes his work in experimental particle physics on the Intersecting Storage Ring Collider (ISR) at CERN

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Allen Sessoms talks about science as a global enterprise

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Allen Sessoms describes his decision to accept an assistant professorship in the physics department at Harvard University

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Allen Sessoms talks about physicist, Richard Feynman

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Allen Sessoms describes his experience at Harvard University, and his interaction with notable scientists and faculty

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Allen Sessoms talks about his experience as a Sloan Foundation Fellow, at the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (ACDA)

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Allen Sessoms talks about his experience with racial stereotyping while working at the U.S. State Department

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Allen Sessoms describes his experience while serving as a nuclear science advisor at the U.S. State Department in the 1980s

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Allen Sessoms talks about the difference between the Carter and Reagan administrations' approach to nuclear weapons

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Allen Sessoms talks about his experience at the Bureau of Oceans and International Environment of Scientific Affairs

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Allen Sessoms describes his experience as Counselor for Scientific and Technological Affairs for the U.S. Embassy in Paris, France

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Allen Sessoms discusses the deficiencies in STEM education in schools today

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Allen Sessoms describes his role in mediating the argument between Robert Gallo and Luc Montagnier, on the discovery of HIV

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Allen Sessoms describes his experience as the Minister and Counselor for Political Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Allen Sessoms talks about the importance of US-Mexico relations

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Allen Sessoms talks about his transition from politics into higher education administration

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Allen Sessoms talks about his work for the U.S. Foreign Service, and his experience at the University of Massachusetts

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Allen Sessoms talks about leaving the University of Massachusetts, and his decision to become the president of Queens College, New York

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Allen Sessoms talks about the long hours that are required to become a successful experimental physicist

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Allen Sessoms describes his role in establishing dormitories on the campus of Queens College, New York, while he was the president

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Allen Sessoms describes his experience in trying to establish a cancer and HIV research center at Queens College, New York

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Allen Sessoms talks about the merits of Queens College, and the diverse community of Queens, New York

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Allen Sessoms talks about his departure from Queens College, and his decision to return to Harvard University

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Allen Sessoms describes his experience at the Belford Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University, and recollects the 9/11 attack

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Allen Sessoms describes his role as president of Delaware State University

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Allen Sessoms describes his role in strengthening the football and basketball teams at Delaware State University

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Allen Sessoms talks about his role in increasing funding for Ph.D. programs at Delaware State University

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Allen Sessoms talks about the shooting tragedy at Delaware State University in 2007

Tape: 7 Story: 11 - Allen Sessoms talks about his efforts to increase the diversity of the student body and faculty at Delaware State University

Tape: 7 Story: 12 - Allen Sessoms describes the problems faced by the University of the District of Columbia (UDC)

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Allen Sessoms talks his work at the University of the District of Columbia, and the politics in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Allen Sessoms talks about the history, the diverse demographics, and the affordable tuition rates at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC)

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Allen Sessoms talks about STEM education efforts at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC)

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Allen Sessoms talks about the focus on international studies at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC)

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Allen Sessoms reflects upon his tenure as the president of the University of the District of Columbia (UDC)

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Allen Sessoms reflects upon his life's choices

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Allen Sessoms reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Allen Sessoms talks about his hopes and concerns for the African American community today

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Allen Sessoms talks about his family

Tape: 8 Story: 10 - Allen Sessoms talks about how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$6

DAStory

3$6

DATitle
Allen Sessoms talks about science as a global enterprise
Allen Sessoms talks about the importance of US-Mexico relations
Transcript
Seemed like I had a note about a French class that you were taking in college or something but is that--?$$Well I--$$You took German, I know that.$$I took German when I was in college. I taught myself French when I was in graduate school because in order to get a Ph.D., actually you had to, in order to be qualified to take a qualifying exam you know you had to be fluent in a second language, more or less fluent and you had to be able to read a third language. So I had English, my German was pretty good, I could read and write in German and I taught myself French so I could read in French. And that allowed me to pass the language qualifying exams so I could actually take the physics qualifying exam so I had the three languages. Nowadays you get by with computer programming or something which is kind of ridiculous but that preparation really was fantastic cause then I went to Geneva and I could speak French. And in two and a half years my French got pretty darn good and it was very helpful to me later on cause then when I joined the foreign service I went to the U.S. embassy in Paris [France], I didn't have to learn French, I knew French. But those things, that's a part of the scientific intellectual environment that I think that's somewhat missing in a lot of places. I mean the language piece is crucial. Science is international by definition. There's nothing that happens here that doesn't happen somewhere else and our collaborators are global. I mean when I was working in Geneva [Switzerland] for example, we had collaborators from thirty countries. When I was working at Yale [University, New Haven, Connecticut], we had collaborators from maybe twp. Now if you're working at the LHC [Large Hadron Collider, CERN, Geneva, Switzerland] you had collaborators from fifty! You know it's just the way it is. If you don't have the language facility and you don't sort of appreciate some of the different cultures you're not going to be successful in those environments because science now is such a global enterprise, certainly the big science of particle physics is that it's really a social enterprise. It's not the scientific enterprise where somebody back in the old days sits at a table with two or three graduate students and does something and those days have been long gone in physics. And you have to be in some sense the social sciences as well you have to understand social dynamics and being broadly cultural allows you to do that.$And the experience in Mexico--Mexico is the most important country in the world to the United States and I say that for a lot of reasons. One is what happens in Mexico happens here. I mean you take a look at what happened with the drug war. I think that reinforcing the border was one of the stupidest things we've done. But worst than that, creating this drug war where you--we do so well with interdicting and freezing assets that these guys who are doing the trafficking can't pay the porters who go through Mexico in cash. So what do they do? Pay them in drugs. And what do they do? They sell the drugs to the kids in Mexico. The whole thing just blows up. It just blew up and that's what we have now. We have this incredible mess on our hands cause nobody thought through the dynamics. What's also true is that if there's a catastrophe in Mexico which is now less and less likely than it used to be, you got 50 million Mexicans crossing the border all at once. What are you going to do about it? Nothing. They're just going to be over there. They're going to cross and that's going to be it. It is in our interest to make Mexico in every way we can a stable, prosperous country, period, cause nobody can affect us like Mexico can affect us, nobody. It's a country of 110 million people. Half the Mexicans, at least when I was there, half of them had U.S. passports or green cards. I mean they have families on both sides of the border. So the idea is to integrate, not to block and we're doing an incredibly bad job of that now. It's just a fiasco and you get this mess. You get--El Paso [Texas] being one of the most murderous places in the world. You got these other places on the border just like Durango [Colorado] and other places. You can't go out at night. You know you got, it's just horrible. It's horrible and that's what we're doing to ourselves.$$Okay.$$You'd never do that in the Canadian border. Why do you think? (Laughter).$$(Laughter). So, any other stories from Mexico? Now, a lot--, I know there are massive protests concerning NAFTA [North American Free Trade Agreement] back in '93 [1993], '94 [1994] I guess.$$There were a lot of protests, I mean I remember when a certain congressman would sneak across the border and try to--with a camera crew show, all the bad stuff that was happening along the border in (unclear) and all the pollution, it's just kind of crazy stuff, and how it was going to take and (unclear) U.S. jobs. Well it turns out that it's produced 2 million jobs in the United States. It's been so successful the cost of labor in Mexico has gone up because of the standard of living going up. So the U.S. companies that were exporting jobs to Mexico are bringing those jobs back to the United States because Mexico is more prosperous and most of the costs of manufacturing a refrigerator for example is in the transportation so if you can manufacture the stuff close to the home and the wages are the same, you save more money. So NAFTA has worked, I mean it just had worked enormously well on the trade side. We need to try to do it more on the social side with--the NCAA [National Collegiate Athletic Association] for example for the first time we have, at Division II, agreed to have the Canadian and Mexican universities participate in U.S. intercollegiate athletics. It would have been unthinkable without having some significant integration. But still this is one place. North America is Canada, the U.S. and Mexico, that's North America. I mean it's geographically and culturally the same. Remember the, Mexico used to be Texas too and California, you know New Mexico and we don't seem to appreciate that as much as we should and I think it may have something to do with you know the language and the fact that a lot of these folks are dark skinned. I mean you know just, I don't mean to be pejorative but it's almost always something like that, something stupid. We need to embrace the Mexicans. When I was there we were doing interesting research in the Gulf of Baja, California looking at the--they just discovered these really hot vents at the bottom of the Baja. They would go down and they would find these animals, this fish life, this plant life that lived without sun, period. You know and it was just on the sulfur vents, then we found new kinds of metabolisms just by doing a collaborative research with the Mexicans, volcanic research when you know the Popocatepetl [volcano, Central Mexico] used to pop its cork. The collaborations between us and the Mexicans have been extraordinary and we got to really reinforce that. But it's, we'll see. I mean it's all politics. It's all driven by in some sense a lack of understanding of each other.$$Okay.

Carlos Handy

Physicists Carlos Handy was born on October 18, 1950, in Havana, Cuba, to a Cuban mother and an American father. His father, W.C. Handy, is known as “Father of the Blues.” Growing up in New York City, Handy attended George Washington High School where he was a top math student. In 1972, Handy earned his B.A. degree in physics from Columbia College in New York. He then continued his studies at Columbia university, earning is M.A. degree in physics in 1975 and his PhD degree in theoretical physics in 1978.

From 1878 to 1981, Handy worked as a postdoctoral research associate as Los Alamos national Laboratory focusing on the use of moment representations to relate large scale to local scale features of strong coupling problems. A related approach to this led to Wavelet analysis, as developed by others (i.e. Grossman, Morlet, and Daubechies). In 1983, Handy was hired by Clark Atlanta University as an associate professor of physics. During his time there, he received grant money from the National Science Foundation (NSF), which led to his discovery of the Eigenvalue Method (EMM) technique.

With a second grant from the NSF, Handy established the Center for Theoretical Studies of Physical Systems at Clark Atlanta University, a research and student mentoring center. In 2005, Handy left Clark-Atlanta University and became the head of the physics department at Texas Southern University where assumed full responsibility for the development of the physics program.

Throughout his career, Handy published numerous research articles. The most recent of these was an extension of EMM to determining the symmetry breaking regime of an important pseudo-hermitian system, and application to Regge pole scattering analysis in atomic and molecular physics. His professional concerns include the need for modern facilities in physics education as well as student’s early mastery of calculus. Carlos Handy works in Houston, Texas.

Carlos Handy was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on [mm, dd, yyyy]

Accession Number

A2012.194

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/17/2012

Last Name

Handy

Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

R

Schools

Columbia University

George Washington High School

Los Alamos National Laboratory

First Name

Carlos

Birth City, State, Country

Havana

HM ID

HAN04

Favorite Season

May

Favorite Vacation Destination

Costa Rica

Favorite Quote

Greatness comes from within.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Texas

Birth Date

10/18/1950

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Houston

Country

Cuba

Favorite Food

Condensed Milk, Rice

Short Description

Research physicist and physics professor Carlos Handy (1950 - ) is the founder of the Center for Theoretical Studies of Physical Systems at Clark Atlanta University, and the first Physics Department Chair at Texas Southern University.

Employment

Texas Southern University

Clark Atlanta University

AMAF Industries

Los Alamos National Laboratory

Favorite Color

Green

Timing Pairs
0,0:740,33:1845,45:3715,79:6952,122:18406,364:19236,376:24465,482:25876,510:26291,516:32939,528:35144,572:35396,601:35963,613:37916,646:38231,652:39239,664:39554,670:39995,679:41570,710:42263,723:42830,734:48124,771:50100,813:50708,825:52456,876:60121,978:60590,987:60858,992:65883,1113:66352,1122:66821,1131:73789,1266:79364,1296:79692,1301:85924,1421:86498,1429:87072,1437:87400,1442:91008,1528:101247,1651:107058,1730:114196,1921:124550,2007:132458,2158:137148,2258:138287,2284:146126,2474:152324,2514:164360,2652:164612,2666:165053,2713:165431,2742:168896,2807:169337,2817:170030,2831:174231,2858:177542,2925:182162,3016:182547,3022:191038,3105:193978,3184:197674,3269:198850,3281:201580,3405$0,0:5950,117:10213,180:34409,451:34967,459:37292,491:37850,498:41058,545:41488,551:52584,694:53010,701:53862,715:54359,724:57057,801:59684,856:61885,902:62382,915:62879,924:73996,1043:75772,1076:76068,1081:76512,1088:78510,1146:78954,1154:83394,1278:84356,1299:85244,1313:94882,1384:96194,1406:98654,1460:100048,1481:100458,1486:103000,1543:103574,1552:111085,1639:112789,1669:114706,1713:115274,1719:121384,1780:129640,1906
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Carlos Handy's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Carlos Handy lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Carlos Handy describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Carlos Handy talks about Cuban patriotism

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Carlos Handy talks about his mother's early life in the United States

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Carlos Handy describes his childhood experiences of going back and forth between the United States and Cuba

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Carlos Handy talks about his mother's growing up in Cuba

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Carlos Handy describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Carlos Handy talks about his grandfather, W.C. Handy, a famous blues musician

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Carlos Handy describes his memories of his grandfather, W.C. Handy

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Carlos Handy talks about his paternal family's musical talents

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Carlos Handy talks about his father's growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Carlos Handy talks about his father's career as a businessman

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Carlos Handy describes how his parents met and got married

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Carlos Handy describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Carlos Handy talks about his siblings and his childhood household

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Carlos Handy describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Carlos Handy describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in New York City and Cuba

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Carlos Handy talks about being brought up by a Cuban mother

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Carlos Handy describes his childhood neighborhood in New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Carlos Handy describes his experience in elementary school and junior high school in New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Carlos Handy describes his experience at George Washington High School in New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Carlos Handy talks about representing his high school on the NBC program 'It's Academic'

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Carlos Handy describes his freshman year at Columbia University and his work with Martin Gutzwiller at the Thomas J. Watson Research Center

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Carlos Handy describes the challenges that he faced during his freshman year at Columbia University

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Carlos Handy describes his experience as a physics major at Columbia University

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Carlos Handy talks about physicist Martin Gutzwiller

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Carlos Handy talks about his parents' separation and his decision to pursue graduate studies at Columbia University

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Carlos Handy describes his experience as a first-year Ph.D. student at Columbia University

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Carlos Handy describes the challenges that he faced during his doctoral studies at Columbia University - part one

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Carlos Handy describes the challenges that he faced during his doctoral studies at Columbia University - part two

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Carlos Handy describes his doctoral dissertation research in the field of gauge theories, at Columbia University

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Carlos Handy describes his disappointing experience in the physics department at Columbia University and the lack of mentoring

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Carlos Handy talks about the broad applicability of a doctoral degree, and the problem with stringent expectations in academia

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Carlos Handy describes the way he was treated in the physics department at Columbia University

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Carlos Handy describes his work on the moment problem at Los Alamos National Laboratory

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Carlos Handy describes race relations in New Mexico

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Carlos Handy talks about getting married, and moving to AMAF in Baltimore, Maryland, and to Clark-Atlanta University in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Carlos Handy describes his research on the moment problem at Clark Atlanta University

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Carlos Handy describes his research collaboration with physicist Daniel Bessis - part one

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Carlos Handy describes his research collaboration with physicist Daniel Bessis - part two

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Carlos Handy describes his research with Daniel Bessie, on the neutron star problem

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Carlos Handy describes his work with Hermitian operators at Clark Atlanta University

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Carlos Handy describes his research at the Center for Theoretical Studies of Physical Systems at Clark Atlanta University

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Carlos Handy describes his decision to accept a position at Texas Southern University

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Carlos Handy describes his experience as chair of the physics department at Texas Southern University, and the status of HBCUs in the state of Texas

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Carlos Handy describes the demographics of Texas Southern University

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Carlos Handy describes his involvement as chair of the physics department at Texas Southern University

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Carlos Handy describes the challenges faced by the physics department at Texas Southern University

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Carlos Handy discusses the graduation rate of African American students in the STEM fields in the Texas university systems

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Carlos Handy reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Carlos Handy reflects upon his life

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Carlos Handy describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community today

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Carlos Handy talks about his family

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Carlos Handy talks about how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

6$1

DAStory

3$5

DATitle
Carlos Handy describes his research collaboration with physicist Daniel Bessis - part two
Carlos Handy talks about his mother's early life in the United States
Transcript
So, [Daniel] Bessis [physicist], this is now January of '85 [1985], comes back from his Christmas break. And he says, he says, you know, I tried to, I tried to solve this problem, but I, I couldn't come up with a solution. I said, well, I solved it. He says, what do you mean you solved it? Yeah, I solved it. So I showed him what I did. And his jaw dropped because not only had I solved the problem, I did something else. It turns out--and this is the other irony, it turns that he and Barnsley, a few years before, had tried it--because the method I came up, not just gave you an answer. It gave you an answer in a very special way. I could tell you, I could tell you that the true answer had to be between this number and that number. And depending upon how much I wanted to go, I can make those two shrink, and those are called lower and upper bounds. So I can tell you that the true answer must be between this and this, and I can make this arbitrary type. And they had been looking for a method like that. And, in fact, Barnsley came up with something called the "bathtub," "Barnsley's bathtub theorem" which is really a variation of something called the Barta's Bounds for ener--, for, you know, for eigenvalues, well, it's really for the ground state, the Barta Bounds. But that method can give you estimates, but there's no way to shrink 'em down. I could shrink 'em down, and so Bessis gets very excited because even though that's not what I was looking for, that's what I discovered. And then he says that there's a very famous problem, called the Quadratic Zeeman Effect for super strong magnetic fields. What is means is basically, you know, the earth's, the magnetic field of the earth is like, you know, one gauss or .4 gauss [unit of measurement of a magnetic field]. It's very, very small. But if you go on the neutron star, the magnetic field can be a billion, I mean huge, (unclear) billion gauss, very strong. And so what astronomers wanna do is, they'll measure the energy emitted by these hydrogen-looking atoms, and by doing the spectro-analysis, they can actually measure in magnetic fields. So it's a, you know, it's an involved, it's an inverse process. So if you have, if you have good--if you can accurately measure the energy levels from a hydrogen atom, you can then determine what the strength and magnetic field (unclear) neutron star. So it's an important pract--theoretical and practical problem. But the problem is that, this quadratic Zeeman effect is a strong coupling problem, all right. The boundary layer I think I told you, it's a strong coupling problem. And when people try to solve that problem, they, because the methods are not, they're not robust, they're not accurate enough, they can give answers that vary all over the place. But here I am coming with a solution that can tell you that the, what the true (unclear). There's no uncertainty. So, I remember in '85 [1985] Bessis looking at me, and, and you have to understand Bessis is the first collaboration I ever had in my life, okay, not at Columbia, not at Los Alamos, the first collaboration I ever had in my life. So I remember in '85 [1985] Bessis saying, we wrote a paper, a 'Physics Review Letters'[journal] paper which is the top publication still [C. R. Handy and D. Bessis, `Rapidly Convergent Lower Bounds for the Schrodinger Equation Ground State Energy', 1985].$Okay. Now, when she [Handy's mother, Leonor Maria Cartaya] was raised up, did she have a chance to go to, to finish school?$$Well, she, at the time, she, she--in fact, she met my father, she was, I think, in a doctoral program in pedagogy, but never finished, but she was close to getting a doctorate in education.$$Okay, was she in the United States or in Cuba?$$Well, she, she came on an academic, she came on an excursion in 1947. I guess it was like an academic excursion. She toured Howard University [Washington, District of Columbia], other places like that. And then she fell in love with the United States and stayed behind, rented an apartment and in that building, my father was living with his kids from his first wife. He was a widower.$$Is this in New York?$$In New York City.$$New York City.$$Okay, and little by little, they started a relationship, and, you know, one thing led to another, and they got married in 1950. So or 1949, 'cause I (laughter), heck, so I don't know. They married in 1949 or 1950, but I do know that, that we were, we popped up nine months after (laughter). So--.$$So, they, your mother had moved back to Cuba for a minute, I guess when you were born?$$Yeah, 'cause she taught. She was a school teacher.$$Okay.$$So she would go back and forth. She would fly--my mother hated to fly, and my father never flew. So my mother would fly from Havana [Cuba] to Miami [Florida] and then take either the train or the Greyhound Bus up the East Coast. And I do remember, she would, she, you know, she tells me that the bus driver would tell her, well, you know, you folks in the back. And so she says that on one occasion she said, or the only occasion she said, "Me no speak English," okay, so she stayed put. And my mother was of the character that she would not bow down. You know, she would find a way to (laughter) stay where she wanted to be, so--.$$Okay.

Raymond L. Johnson

Mathematician Raymond L. Johnson was born on June 25, 1943 in Alice, Texas, a small town near Corpus Christi. He was raised by his mother Johnnie Johnson, his maternal grandmother Ethel Pleasant Johnson, and her second husband Benjamin Thompson. Growing up, it was Benjamin Thompson who taught Johnson how to read and do some arithmetic. This sparked an early interest in mathematics and allowed Johnson to skip the first two grades. Johnson attended a two room schoolhouse because the nearby grade school was segregated. With the help of his mentors, Larry O’Rear and Stan Brooks, Johnson excelled in high school mathematics. He went on to major in mathematics and received his B.A. degree from the University of Texas in 1963.

Once again, with the help and encouragement of a great mentor, Dr. Howard Curtis, Johnson applied and became one of the first African Americans to be admitted to Rice University. Two alumni sued the university to stop Johnson’s entrance, but within the year, Rice University won the case. Johnson became a regular student, graduating with his Ph.D. degree in mathematics in 1969. After college, Johnson started his forty year career at the University of Maryland in College Park, becoming the first African American faculty member in the mathematics department. He began as an assistant professor in 1968 and became a full professor in 1980.

Johnson served as chair of the graduate studies department at the University of Maryland from 1987 to 1990. As chair, he founded several programs to eliminate barriers for minority students and to help increase the number of minorities and women in the Ph.D. program in mathematics. He received a Distinguished Minority Faculty Award for his work. Johnson was promoted to chair of the mathematics department in 1991, a position he held for five years. Johnson’s mathematical work has focused in the area of harmonic analysis, the study of overlapping waves, which has roots in functions related to trigonometry. He has contributed to over twenty-five publications on mathematics research. Johnson’s current research focuses on applying harmonic analysis to study spectral synthesis. In 2007, Johnson was honored with the Mentor Award for Lifetime Achievement from the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In 2009, Johnson returned to Rice University to serve as a visiting professor. He has one son, Malcolm P. Johnson.

Raymond L. Johnson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 17, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.193

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/17/2012

Last Name

Johnson

Marital Status

Divorced

Middle Name

L

Schools

Dubose Intermediate

Carver Elementary

William Adams High School

University of Texas at Austin

Rice University

First Name

Raymond

Birth City, State, Country

Alice

HM ID

JOH41

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Texas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Europe

Favorite Quote

Don't look back. Someone might be gaining on you.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Texas

Birth Date

6/25/1943

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Houston

Country

United States

Favorite Food

All Food

Short Description

Mathematician and math professor Raymond L. Johnson (1943 - ) led the way for minority scientists by breaking through barriers and serving as a mentor. He is known for his research on harmonic analysis and spectral synthesis.

Employment

University of Maryland, College Park

Rice University

Howard University

ESSO PRDD RES

Favorite Color

None

Timing Pairs
0,0:3932,40:4336,45:14248,198:19240,343:19752,358:20584,383:20904,389:22056,421:22696,432:24360,479:24744,493:30828,557:31158,563:31554,574:35646,666:38484,724:46572,844:47694,884:53080,986:53610,1007:53875,1013:54140,1020:54511,1028:54935,1039:55147,1045:56419,1075:57691,1113:81970,1481:83570,1658:84210,1667:95362,1799:101581,1831:118144,2186:118540,2193:119002,2202:119464,2228:120784,2262:121048,2267:122038,2288:122830,2303:123424,2327:128638,2480:139286,2623:139700,2645:147840,2757:148980,2776:150360,2889:161820,3154:162900,3179:163560,3194:173308,3287:185697,3529:189055,3613:191318,3650:192048,3663:193143,3683:193654,3696:204320,3836$0,0:3165,82:5960,168:8040,231:9470,259:9730,264:10185,272:10965,290:12785,337:22852,541:25690,605:30178,755:30838,768:37690,817:38950,861:40750,921:42790,1016:43210,1026:47784,1077:48894,1097:49264,1103:49782,1112:50078,1117:50522,1130:50966,1137:53260,1188:55110,1233:55776,1247:56220,1259:59402,1327:59698,1333:59994,1339:69124,1467:69392,1472:74350,1648:76628,1680:80715,1803:82591,1841:82993,1848:83395,1855:83998,1871:85070,1934:97691,2107:98160,2120:98562,2127:101175,2184:102314,2215:114356,2436:115742,2467:117656,2513:119372,2556:123080,2571:127505,2682:129155,2718:129455,2723:131255,2753:131555,2758:136560,2848
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Raymond Johnson's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Raumond Johnson lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Raymond Johnson describes his mother's side of the family

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Raymond Johnson describes his mother's life in Alice, Texas

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Raymond Johnson discusses similarities and differences from his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Raymond Johnson describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Raymond Johnson describes growing up in Alice, Texas

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Raymond Johnson describes the sights and sounds and smells of growing up

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Raymond Johnson describes his family in Alice, Texas

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Raymond Johnson describes his early school-days

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Raymond Johnson describes his experience in a newly-integrated school system

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Raymond Johnson describes growing up during segregation

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Raymond Johnson discusses the sports heroes of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Raymond Johnson describes those who influenced his decision to attend college

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Raymond Johnson describes his experience in high-school

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Raymond Johnson describes his experience at the University of Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Raymond Johnson describes his experience with the American Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Raymond Johnson describes the mentorship he received in high school and college

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Raymond Johnson describes the post-Sputnik climate in the United States

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Raymond Johnson shares pleasant memories from the University of Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Raymond Johnson describes the summer of 1963

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Raymond Johnson describes his first year at Rice University

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Raymond Johnson shares his thoughts on the presidencies of John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Raymond Johnson describes his relationship with NFL player, Frank Ryan

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Raymond Johnson describes his experiences at Rice University

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Raymond Johnson describes his experience with his graduate advisor, Jim Douglas

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Raymond Johnson describes his Ph.D. dissertation research

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Raymond Johnson describes his transition from graduate school to his first job

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Raymond Johnson describes the tension following Dr. Martin Luther King's assassination

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Raymond Johnson describes his experience at the University of Maryland

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Raymond Johnson describes his brief experience at Howard University

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Raymond Johnson describes his service as the Associate Chair for Graduate Studies

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Raymond Johnson describes his service as the chairman of the mathematics department

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Raymond Johnson describes collaboration among African American mathematicians

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Raymond Johnson discusses prominent African American mathematicians

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Raymond Johnson talks about his family

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Raymond Johnson talks about the Mentor Award for Lifetime Achievement

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Raymond Johnson talks about the first generation of African American mathematicians

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Raymond Johnson reflects upon his legacy at the University of Maryland and at Rice University

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Raymond Johnson describes one of his successes as a mentor

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Raymond Johnson discusses meeting Ron [Ronald] Walters

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Raymond Johnson reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Raymond Johnson discusses his concerns for African American mathematicians

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Raymond Johnson describes his relationship with Freeman Hrabowski

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Raymond Johnson talks about his son

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Raymond Johnson's reflects upon how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$2

DAStory

5$1

DATitle
Raymond Johnson describes his experience in high-school
Raymond Johnson describes his experience in a newly-integrated school system
Transcript
Okay, now, I don't wanna get you out of high school yet.$$Okay.$$But we'll go back to, to high school [at Williams Adams High School, Alice, Texas] for a second. Now, did you, were you involved in clubs and stuff in high school or run for student government or--$$No, not for student government. But I was involved in clubs. So this is the National Honor Society, 'cause I mean I think that was, I don't know what the conditions were for getting in it, but, you know, I was a member of the National Honor Society. And that's where I met like, you know, other people who were very, very smart and who also were very competitive. I mean, you know, I remember the competition for valedictorian, for example, of Alice High School. I was not involved in the competition, but I was observing it. And, you know, having people sort of take easy classes and try to make sure they could keep their grade point average up and have a better chance of being valedictorian. I mean I remember that was sort of the first time I learned about, you know, that sort of social aspect of learning. I thought you just went to school and you did the best you could and, you know, and you graduated, and then you go on and keep doing the best you can. But there were actually these people who were competing to be valedictorian.$$Okay, and--$$And they were all in National Honor Society.$$And strategizing what kind of class they're gonna take to--$$Yeah, yeah.$$--to get there.$$--to make sure that they had the highest GPA [Grade Point Average].$$Okay,--$$And no socializing. I mean, you know, I don't remember prom, you know, or anything like that. But did go to the football games for the Alice Coyotes, you know, football team. It was a long walk, but, you know, it was worth it. And socializing in that sense.$$Okay. So the foot--the high school was named William Adams--$$William Adams, yeah, and the Alice Coyotes was the football team.$$Okay, so they, okay, all right. So they called the football team, not the Adams' Coyotes, but the Alice Coyotes?$$The Alice Coyotes.$$Okay (laughter), all right.$$It was for the whole city.$$All right. Now, football is, when you think of football, people think of Texas for some, you know, some reason.$$Yep, Friday night.$$High school, Friday night lights and all that sort of thing. So what, was it really big in Alice?$$Oh, yeah, yeah. I mean, well, first of all (laughter), there's nothing else to do in Alice, okay. So, I mean it was really big, and, you know, for a kid like me who didn't have any money, I mean getting into the game was non-trivial. I climbed a fence a few times to get into the game, but sometimes after halftime, they'd sort of let you into the game. So, you know, we, it wasn't, I don't remember like them saying, okay, because you go to, here, here's a free pass because you're a student at Alice High School. I mean there was supposed to be like a two dollar or dollar charge or something like that. So sometimes I'd just go to the game and wouldn't actually get to see the game. But the team, you know, I think they competed for the state championship. They had some very good players. I don't, don't remember their names or exactly how well they did, but they, they had a very good football team.$$Okay, any players make--$$The only one I remember, I think was a quarterback named Len Baillets (ph.), but, you know, I don't think he did very much in college or anything like that, but he was the star of the Alice football team.$$Okay, all right, so when you graduated, did you, did they tell you what rank you were or anything?$$You know, I was, I was the top ten. But that's all I remember. And, and that was the last graduation I attended. So I actually did go to my graduation in high school.$$Okay, but you didn't go to any of the rest of 'em?$$Nah.$Okay, yeah, tell us, now, what happened next in school now? You're, you're--$$So after eighth grade, Alice [Texas] didn't have enough black students, and so the Alice school district had an arrangement with the Kingsville [Texas] school district. So grades nine through twelve were bused from Alice to Kingsville which is twenty-eight miles, and I knew classmates who had ridden the bus and had gone to school in Kingsville. And I was looking forward to it 'cause in a sense, it's a chance to get out of Alice, at least for a, for a day, every day. But 'Brown versus Board' was decided, and the Alice school district decided to live up to it, accept 'Brown versus Board'. So I spent ninth grade in DuBoise [DuBoise Junior High School, Alice, Texas], which is the first time I'd gone to an integrated junior high school, I mean it was junior high school at that time. So you just went for ninth grade, and then high school was William Adams [Williams Adams High School, Alice, Texas], grade ten through twelve, which was also integrated.$$Okay.$$DuBoise was-I was, it was lucky for me in the sense that the main thing that I recall that happened to me at DuBoise was they discovered that I couldn't see. You know, in Alice, in this two-room school, the boards were very close, and so, you know, it was a very small room, four, four, four grades cramped into one room. So I didn't have any problem seeing everything. But then when I went to DuBoise, you're in this classroom, and, you know, there's thirty seats in a room and the board up at the front. And I couldn't see. So I got glasses, and that I think (laughter) helped a lot 'cause that meant I could see what was actually going on in class.$$Do you remember how you discovered, how, how it was discovered you couldn't see?$$No, I don't remember, but, you know, somehow I, I wasn't seeing what was on the board, and so they, they sent me, they told my, told my mother that I need to have an eye test. I had an eye test, and they discovered I needed glasses.$$So the teacher noticed it.$$Yeah, the teacher noticed it.$$Okay, all right. So, what was the racial makeup of--after integration for, I guess, DuBoise?$$You know, two or three blacks in a class of thirty, yeah, yeah, 'cause we, we were, it was a--there was a tight-knit black community, but it was very small. It was very small.$$Okay. And there wasn't a lot of rancor or problems, I guess, would you say?$$There was some resentment, you know. There were some kids who muttered some things and stuff like that, but, you know, mostly, it was uneventful. Let's say it like that. I mean, you know, the black kids would hang together, and the white kids still hung together. So it, it was more like two separate worlds that were colliding but really not paying much attention to each other. That's the way I recall it.

David Garrison

Physicist David Garrison was born on October 27, 1975 in Chicago, Illinois to parents Christine and Millard Garrison, Jr. He has two older siblings, Cassandra Guichard and Michael Garrison. He went to grade school in O’Fallon, Missouri, attending Mount Vernon Elementary School, Fort Zumwalt North Middle School, and Fort Zumwalt North High School. While in high school, he was a jazz soloist in the jazz band. Garrison finished secondary school in 1993, after which he began studying at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and played on the varsity football team for three years. He received his B.S. degree in physics from there in 1997. That same year he began a doctoral program in physics at Pennsylvania State University. He received his Ph.D. in physics from Pennsylvania State University in 2002.

During graduate school in 1999, he started Fast Financial Analysis with his future wife Rispba McCray-Garrison. The company provides software programs useful in analyzing money metrics. In 2002, he began working for the University of Houston-Clear Lake (UHCL) as a visiting assistant professor. A year later, he became a regular assistant professor and began reorganizing the physical sciences program into an actual physics department. The department now has a B.A. degree in physics, a M.S. degree in physics, a collaborative Ph.D. degree in physics with the University of Houston, and a P.S.M. degree in physics with a sub-plan in technical management. With these degrees programs, Garrison has been able to attract students better qualified to help with his research in numerical relativity, cosmology, computational physics, and plasma physics. In addition to research at the University of Houston-Clear Lake, he has also worked in collaboration on many projects with NASA’s Johnson Space Center, including a project for the development of a plasma rocket engine. In 2003, Garrison became the faculty chair of the physics program and began the UHCL Physics and Space Science Guest Lecture Series. He has also served terms on university bodies such as the Planning and Budget Committee, the Faculty Senate, University Council, and the Academic Council.

In 2002, Garrison married Rispba McCray-Garrison on December 28. In 2012, he became an advisory board member for the Space Center Houston and published What Every Successful Physics Graduate Student Should Know<\em>.
David Garrison was interviewed by The HistoryMakers<\em> on August 15, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.199

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/15/2012

Last Name

Garrison

Marital Status

Married

Schools

Pennsylvania State University

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Fort Zumwalt North High School

Fort Zumwalt North Middle School

Mount Vernon Elementary

Mount Hope Elementary

First Name

David

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

GAR03

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Beaches

Favorite Quote

If We Knew What We Are Doing, We Wouldn't Call It Research, Would We?

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Texas

Birth Date

10/27/1975

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Houston

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Short Description

Physicist and physics professor David Garrison (1975 - ) is a physicist who began teaching physics at the University of Houston-Clear Lake in 2002, where he is the physics program founder and faculty chair of the department.

Employment

University of Houston-Clear Lake

Fast Financial Analysis

Pennsylvania State University

Favorite Color

Blue, Red

Timing Pairs
0,0:2490,41:3300,55:5163,92:9537,209:13587,294:14316,311:26267,437:27482,457:27887,463:28211,468:31046,531:31451,537:44518,661:44854,666:47374,726:47794,732:54495,828:55132,833:57043,864:57589,871:65708,948:89994,1250:90282,1255:90570,1260:91002,1267:91434,1274:91938,1282:92226,1287:96100,1346:96850,1357:97900,1402:98875,1461:117030,1710:117830,1721:119110,1757:121190,1805:124690,1825:125810,1874:134655,1919:135180,1937:138540,2018:139065,2024:139590,2030:147155,2101:148175,2116:149620,2138:149960,2143:151575,2169:156070,2219:156758,2228:159166,2263:161746,2306:166820,2397:173305,2450:173730,2456:174835,2473:181840,2562$0,0:7332,105:12126,158:17196,181:18364,198:18948,208:19459,216:20992,240:21503,248:24656,265:25244,274:25580,279:26168,290:26924,300:29640,319:29976,326:30256,334:30760,344:33665,377:33925,382:34445,394:35095,405:35550,415:36785,442:37435,455:37695,460:38865,485:39320,493:39840,503:40360,514:44365,536:44745,541:45790,553:46170,558:48291,580:48615,585:53656,641:55224,661:57968,703:59046,715:59830,725:62840,737:63830,743:64202,748:65039,758:66341,776:66899,783:68201,802:68573,807:71750,818:72206,826:72719,836:72947,841:73517,853:75740,903:78020,954:81418,993:82098,1013:86419,1083:87175,1108:87427,1114:88624,1140:89128,1149:91908,1185:92584,1199:93416,1212:94092,1226:94352,1232:94560,1237:95930,1243:96498,1256:96924,1263:98344,1289:99409,1311:99977,1338:100758,1350:104628,1388:104900,1393:105308,1400:106750,1412:107542,1427:108334,1444:108622,1449:109270,1463:111702,1480:112854,1497:113526,1504:114774,1519:116886,1542:117558,1550:120610,1564:121585,1580:121885,1585:122485,1594:123085,1599:123610,1607:124510,1621:127250,1651:128174,1667:128510,1672:129740,1678:130389,1692:131215,1716:133516,1772:137005,1792:139555,1838:141055,1860:141730,1872:142105,1883:143005,1897:143680,1909:146080,1960:146455,1966:152140,1999:157835,2053:164304,2096:167458,2128:169872,2153:170282,2159:171020,2172:171676,2181:172086,2187:172496,2193:173070,2201:173480,2207:173890,2213:174218,2218:176667,2232:181590,2307:182094,2315:183606,2341:184398,2356:184902,2365:185478,2374:185982,2382:186630,2394:189725,2415:190697,2434:191426,2445:192560,2483:194933,2498:195257,2504:196715,2533:197039,2538:197687,2547:198659,2565:200441,2610:205710,2652
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of David Garrison's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - David Garrison lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - David Garrison describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - David Garrison describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - David Garrison talks about his father's experience in the Army and how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - David Garrison talks about his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - David Garrison describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - David Garrison describes his childhood home

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - David Garrison talks about his father's career

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - David Garrison describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - David Garrison talks about his elementary school experience

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - David Garrison talks about he and his sibling's transition to Missouri

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - David Garrison talks about his high school extracurricular activities

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - David Garrison talks about his high school experience

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - David Garrison talks about the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - David Garrison talks about graduating from high school and his decision to attend MIT

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - David Garrison talks about his experience at MIT

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - David Garrison talks about his peers, professors and the academic environment at MIT

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - David Garrison talks about computers and emerging technologies during his college years

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - David Garrison talks about his decision to attend Pennsylvania State University

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - David Garrison talks about meeting his wife

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - David Garrison talks about meeting his wife

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - David Garrison talks about his company, Fast Financial Analysis

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - David Garrison talks about his experience at Pennsylvania State University

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - David Garrison talks about his doctoral advisors

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - David Garrison describes his dissertation on binary black hole codes

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - David Garrison talks about his decision to join the University of Houston, Clear Lake

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - David Garrison talks about his work at the University of Houston, Clear Lake (part 1)

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - David Garrison talks about his work at the University of Houston, Clear Lake (part 2)

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - David Garrison talks about the distinguished lecture series at the University of Houston, Clear Lake

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - David Garrison talks about his publication on cosmology

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - David Garrison talks about his professional activities with UHCL and the Space Center Houston

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - David Garrison talks about his book and journal publications

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - David Garrison talks about his colleagues at the University of Houston, Clear Lake

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - David Garrison talks about his future plans and the challenges he sees in higher education

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - David Garrison talks about his interest in physics

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - David Garrison talks about the challenges with physics education at the university level

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - David Garrison talks about his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - David Garrison reflects on his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - David Garrison reflects on his life choices

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - David Garrison talks about his family

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - David Garrison reflects on his career

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - David Garrison talks about how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - David Garrison describes his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

5$4

DATitle
David Garrison talks about computers and emerging technologies during his college years
David Garrison talks about his doctoral advisors
Transcript
And it was, it was fascinating, and then also, this is also when the dot.com revolution was going on or at least getting started 'cause when I started at MIT [Massachusetts Institute of Technology], I'd never really, I learned a little bit of computer programming from my cousin. You know, he taught me how to program on a Commodore Vic 20. And it was basically one of those things where we had the cassette tapes that would store the programs to get, it could take hours for it to load and everything. And I hadn't really, I'd never heard of the Internet. I hadn't been on a modern computer. And then I got to MIT, and we were using, you know, high-level Unix machines. I hadn't even used a PC, and we were already at, using Unix and learning about the Internet, the world-wide web and being able to do stuff on it. And then also, when I was working on my senior thesis, I ended up kind of getting involved in this computational project to simulate the gravitational lens on un-lensed images. And the idea was could I, could--is it possible to train a computer to just look at the sky and figure out where the gravitational lenses are without having a human astronomer have to go through and do it by hand. And so I was given this piece of code that really wasn't working very well. And over time, I improved on it, I optimized it and everything else. And then I made the kind of discovery that, I didn't even have to go into the lab to do this. I could actually be at home on my computer and 24 hours a day, as long as I had access to the Internet, I could go and I could change the code. I could rerun it. I could do whatever I needed to do without going into the lab. So that was part of my motivation from there on out, was the laziness that I could just have this total freedom to do science, but that I would, didn't have to be in a certain place at a certain time to do it.$$Now, do you remember when you got your first computer?$$I bought a computer when I first got to MIT, and they had a, an Apple store downstairs in the student center. And I bought an Apple, and the main reason why was because when I was in high school, I took a computer class, and we learned how to use, you know, basic computer stuff on, on Apples, and they were Macintosh SE's. I actually have one in my office now. And it was, you know, they were incredibly primitive compared to what we have today. But that's what kind of started. And then I never really liked the PC's much. But I, I learned how to use the Apples and I just stick with them since then.$Okay, now, who was your advisor at Kent State?$$I had two advisors--$$Penn State.$$--Jorge Pullen was my primary advisor, and my secondary advisor was Pueblo Laguna. And Jorge was interested in, I think his primary interest was in quantum gravity more so. But he also did some stuff with numerical relativity. I was pretty much in numerical relativity. And like I said, at some point in my scientific career, I think the older scientists just decided that they wanted to stick the younger people in front of a computer. And I felt more comfortable with that. And Pueblo was more focused on the numerical relativity aspect. So we'd, I learned how to, you know, run code on Super Computers and the interesting thing was that at the time, most computers were single-core, single processor. And we were running on dozens, sometimes even hundreds of processors at once. And so we had a, a skill for running multi-processor or writing multi-processor programs before anybody even knew that that was gonna be a major need.$$So you'd have them networked and--$$Yeah, oh, yeah, they were networked, and, you know, they were--we'd use Super Computer architectures. And then we started experimenting with Beowulf architectures where they were, they weren't shared memory. And then so each processor had its own memory, and they'd have to communicate with each other. And so we got to do some really interesting research. And also Penn State, even though it was isolated, at the time, it was the United States premier center for gravitation physics research. So anybody who had done anything with general relativity or cosmology passed through Penn State. And the only other center in the world that was anywhere close to as big as what we were doing was in Pottstown, Germany. And so we talked to them. But we had, pretty much any, anybody who was a big name in the field or a potential big name in the field, passed through there, like Shawn Carroll or Scott Hughes, or, let's see, one of my mentors there was Lee Smolin who's now one of the big people at the Perimeter Institute. And we also had, we didn't meet Steven Hawking, but we did meet Roger Penrose. He actually would spend several weeks every year there at Penn State and was one of, and had a joint faculty appointment. And so we were getting seminars from world-class people, and we knew the absolute cutting edge of the research. And so we were in this just, within our department, we were in this kind of a bubble of, you know, absolutely, top-of-the-line, best research going on. And we knew anything going on in the field, just by walking up the hall and talking to people.

Valerie Taylor

Computer science and engineering professor Valerie E. Taylor was born on May 24, 1963. She attended Purdue University where she received her B.S. degree in computer and electrical engineering in 1985 and her M.S. degree in electrical engineering in 1986. She continued her education at the University of California at Berkeley where she received her Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering and computer science in 1991.

That same year, Taylor joined the faculty at Northwestern University as an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering. She became an associate professor in 1997 and then a full professor in 2002. In 2003, Taylor transferred to Texas A&M University where she was named head of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering as well as the Stewart & Stevenson Professor. Since 2004, Taylor has been the Royce E. Wisenbaker Professor and head of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering. Her research interests lie in high performance computing. Taylor is currently working on “Prophesy,” a database used to collect and analyze data to predict the performance on different applications on parallel systems. She has been supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) for the “OptiPuter” and “New Approaches to Human Potential Realization through Information Technology Research” as well as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) University Research, Engineering and Technology Institutes (URETI) Program for “Nanoelectronics.” Currently, she is funded by the National Science Foundation to use Prophesy in conjunction with two other tools for the purpose of exploring the performance and power for applications on current parallel systems.

In 2001, Taylor received the Pathbreaker Award from the Women in Leadership at Northwestern University and the Hewlett Packard Harriet B. Rigas Education Award. The following year, Taylor was named a Young Outstanding Leader by the University of California, Berkeley’s Distinguished Engineering Alumni Society. That same year she also received the Computing Research Association’s (CRA) A. Nico Habermann Award for outstanding contributions aimed at increasing the numbers and/or successes of underrepresented groups in the computing research community. She has also been recognized as a Sigma Xi Distinguished Lecturer and in 2005, Taylor was given the Richard A. Tapia Achievement Award for Scientific Scholarship, Civic Science, and Diversifying Computing. Since 2008, Taylor has served on the Board of Directors for the Computing Research Association.

Accession Number

A2012.190

Sex

Female

Interview Date

8/14/2012

Last Name

Taylor

Schools

Purdue University

University of California, Berkeley

Maria High School

St. Leo Elementary School

First Name

Valerie

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

TAY12

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Hawaii

Favorite Quote

What's up?

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Texas

Birth Date

5/24/1963

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Bryan/College Station

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Greens (Collard), Smoked Turkey

Short Description

Computer scientist and engineering professor Valerie Taylor (1963 - ) studies high performance computing, with particular emphasis on the performance analysis and modeling of parallel and distributed applications.

Employment

Northwestern University

Texas A&M University

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:2764,27:5305,66:6537,89:7692,116:8231,137:8770,146:10002,167:10310,172:12851,236:24175,371:25365,384:26130,394:43944,609:48884,684:55270,737:57547,765:58240,774:61903,831:65240,840:65758,848:66054,853:66794,865:67238,873:68866,902:69162,907:70420,925:73158,979:73602,987:79163,1030:80498,1045:80854,1050:81744,1064:82100,1069:93299,1220:94916,1248:104865,1329:105630,1339:105970,1344:107415,1360:113110,1445:114725,1472:115745,1488:120690,1515:122186,1545:123274,1562:123614,1568:158400,1958:161637,2010:173570,2219:174830,2239:176860,2272:177280,2280:177840,2289:182320,2378:185120,2437:196870,2618:198470,2654:201510,2685:201830,2702:209190,2896:222724,3021:223540,3051:229756,3134:236140,3210:238492,3246:241410,3252:241895,3258:242865,3269:244708,3291:245193,3297:245872,3306:247618,3343:248006,3348:250750,3371:251270,3381:252115,3407:255078,3476:263058,3680:265262,3728:276713,3854:277496,3875:277931,3881:295378,4107:295834,4113:298342,4157:298722,4166:300622,4216:312370,4417:313510,4433:317400,4494:332570,4714:336415,4749:337262,4762:337724,4773:344731,4937:345501,4954:353556,5068:354524,5085:371835,5316:372435,5326:373035,5335:376560,5431:376860,5436:385380,5510:387564,5540:398950,5668$0,0:2688,40:3456,54:3904,63:4160,74:4672,84:5312,93:5824,104:6144,110:6464,116:7168,129:7424,134:7872,154:9280,186:10368,236:11776,274:12032,279:12608,291:21618,366:23504,395:24078,403:24898,415:25718,435:26292,443:31950,535:32278,540:33754,563:36390,569:36702,574:38340,609:41694,686:43410,711:45282,744:47388,783:47778,789:48090,794:48558,802:48948,808:50040,826:50586,835:50898,840:51366,847:56904,926:57918,942:65914,975:66348,983:66968,999:67526,1009:67898,1017:68518,1029:71080,1050:73870,1073:74936,1092:75510,1101:76002,1108:76412,1114:79774,1190:80348,1198:81988,1221:82316,1226:83300,1242:87562,1274:88532,1287:89405,1298:90084,1309:92897,1413:97941,1453:98329,1459:98814,1466:99202,1471:102500,1477:103109,1486:104240,1509:110350,1592:110654,1608:114682,1696:115594,1712:115898,1718:120875,1759:121400,1768:122075,1779:123125,1796:123425,1801:124700,1822:125750,1842:126125,1849:126725,1859:128675,1891:130175,1919:130925,1932:137667,1972:138052,1978:139207,1997:139592,2004:140670,2019:141748,2036:142595,2048:143134,2057:144443,2081:149754,2123:150006,2128:150258,2133:150825,2144:151329,2154:152211,2172:152589,2179:153219,2190:153534,2196:156440,2236:156890,2244:158015,2264:158690,2275:158990,2280:160790,2316:162440,2345:162740,2350:163040,2355:164840,2387:166565,2420:166865,2425:167765,2440:168065,2448:172742,2470:173665,2486:177286,2544:178782,2572:188341,2705:195940,2743:196396,2750:198144,2784:200570,2799
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Valerie Taylor's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Valerie Taylor lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Valerie Taylor describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Valerie Taylor talks about Emancipation Day and the differences between the South and the North

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Valerie Taylor talks about her mother's growing up

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Valerie Taylor describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Valerie Taylor talks about her father's growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Valerie Taylor talks about her father's career and interest in music

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Valerie Taylor talks about how her parents met

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Valerie Taylor describes her parents' personalities and who she takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Valerie Taylor talks about her household and describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Valerie Taylor talks about her childhood home and neighborhood

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Valerie Taylor describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Valerie Taylor talks about her childhood home

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Valerie Taylor talks about her elementary school experience

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Valerie Taylor talks about her father's company, Sonicraft

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Valerie Taylor talks about her developing interest in technology and her father's company, Sonicraft

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Valerie Taylor talks about her childhood television

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Valerie Taylor talks about the social atmosphere of Maria High School

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Valerie Taylor talks about the politics around education in Chicago

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Valerie Taylor talks about her experience at Maria High School

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Valerie Taylor talks about the racial climate in Chicago during her adolescence

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Valerie Taylor talks about her high school teachers and the ID program sponsored by IIT

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Valerie Taylor talks about her decision to attend Purdue University

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Valerie Taylor talks about her social life, her peers, and the National Society of Black Engineers at Purdue University

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Valerie Taylor talks about the importance of study groups

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Valerie Taylor talks about her professors and mentor at Purdue University

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Valerie Taylor talks about her decision to pursue her Ph.D. degree

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Valerie Taylor talks about her experience living in California

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Valerie Taylor talks about her Ph.D. advisor at the University of California at Berkeley

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Valerie Taylor talks about her dissertation research concerning parallel computing and finite analysis

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Valerie Taylor talks about her experience defending her dissertation

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Valerie Taylor talks about her involvement in the Black Engineering and Science Students' Association

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Valerie Taylor talks about her decision to become a professor at Northwestern University

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Valerie Taylor talks about her experience as a professor

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Valerie Taylor talks about receiving the National Science Foundation Investigator Award

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Valerie Taylor talks about balancing family with her career

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Valerie Taylor talks about Prophesy

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Valerie Taylor talks about GriPhyN and AADMLS

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Valerie Taylor talks about her professional awards and outreach activities

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Valerie Taylor talks about Richard Tapia

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Valerie Taylor talks about her perceptions of Texas

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Valerie Taylor talks about the Institute of African American E-Culture

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Valerie Taylor talks about her experience as department chair at Texas A&M University

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Valerie Taylor talks about the NASA URETI Program and the OptIPuter

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Valerie Taylor talks about her awards and professional affiliations

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Valerie Taylor talks about her research

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Valerie Taylor talks about her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Valerie Taylor reflects upon her legacy and life choices

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Valerie Taylor talks about her family

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Valerie Taylor talks about being a single mom

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Valerie Taylor reflects on how she would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$5

DAStory

1$5

DATitle
Valerie Taylor talks about her developing interest in technology and her father's company, Sonicraft
Valerie Taylor talks about her experience as a professor
Transcript
So did you get involved in early programs in technology for youth when you were in grade school, or did it add them later, or--$$Well, I think we were, as children we were exposed to technology through my father's [Willie James Taylor] company. So, for example when I was young, my mother [Ollie Mae Thompson Taylor], that's when my mother went back to school, first at Kennedy King Community College and then National, in terms of getting her degree. And so, on Saturdays my father would take us to work with him. And it's funny, because my sister and I, first we would be at his desk acting like we were secretaries, writing on paper, okay. But then, you slowly ventured to the electronics bench, okay. And so, when you mentioned about smell, one smell that comes to mind is that of a soldering iron. I can tell that smell anywhere because it's something I grew up smelling, you know, going to work with my father on Saturdays. Because oftentimes he would go in, not to work on paperwork, but to be at the bench building something such that when I was in high school, I was very familiar with schematics. I was familiar with breadboard. I could look at a schematic and build a breadboard. And I just thought that was the norm. I could work on bikes (laughter). You were used to having a volt meter around to see if something were connected. You just knew, go get the volt meter and see if you have a current through. (laughter). That was our norm, and for example, in our house, my father built our first speaker. It was nice. Everybody talked about that. The sound from the speaker--and he also built our first record player. So, for a long time our record player had vacuum tubes, okay, where we had to jingle the vacuum tube, and you knew the record player was on because the filament lit up in the vacuum tube, okay. So, everything was, all the electronics were exposed. So, you'd jiggle it: "Okay, the record player's on, play the record." And so, it wasn't until I was high school that we got this record player where everything was enclosed. And I was like, "Dad, where are the vacuum tubes?" (laughter). He'd say, "We have transistors now." (laughter). So, we, I think we grew up with technology, but not knowing it as such, but you just grew up thinking this was the norm. And he always taught you, he would take time to teach you how to fix something. Or, he would say, you know, you would say "Oh, this is broken." And he would go, "Go get the screwdriver." And you knew what a Phillips versus a flathead was, and "Go get the Phillips, let's take it apart and let's see what's going on." And it may be something with the wires. And so, that, that was Dad and that was the norm. So I think all of us, my sister and brother--currently if something's broken, you go, "Get the Phillips, see what's going on, maybe it can be fixed." (laughter). You know, that's your first thought. I think now it's funny because my mother is like "Can't you call a repairman because you know it takes a little while for your father to get to stuff. Go ahead and call." (laughter). But, he'll fix anything first. Uh huh.$$That sounds like an engineer.$$Yes, so we did grow up with technology.$$Now, Sonicraft was the first black technology company to, you know, bring down big government contracts.$$Yes.$$They're well known. I mean, people heard the name. I didn't know your father, but I heard of the name Sonicraft. There's some people, you know, doing this deep technology for the government. And I said wow. Then I met Carl Spite at one point.$$Oh yes, uh huh.$$He was working with Sonicraft. So, it was exciting to a lot of people just to think that we had a company that could do that, because a lot of black people didn't imagine that we had anyone in deep technology.$$Right.$$And so, it was a thrill and, you know, for us to even think about that. (laughter).$$It was. And, but my mother, my mother kept it real, okay. So, and it was interesting, because my father, when George Bush 41 was vice-president under [President Ronald] Reagan, my father went to the White House because of the contract they received from the government. So, we have a picture of him with at that time vice-president Bush.$$Right, right. I saw it yesterday actually standing in front of the White House.$$Yes. So, it's--$$The Sonicraft staff--$$Right. So, it's really phenomenal. And they hired engineers from MIT [Massachusetts Institute of Technology], and it was great, the work that was being done there. So, my father, all of us grew up with Sonicraft. So, my brother, my sister, myself, we all worked at Sonicraft, and our friends. Because my mother's view is if she came home from work during the summer and we were sitting around the house, we had to get a job. Because my mother said, "I'm not coming home to people lounging." And if we had friends over, they had to get a job. So they knew if they came by the house, they had to get a job. (laughter). And she would always tell my father, "Please get the kids a job. So, that way, they'd come home at five, having worked a day." So, when you were eligible to work at sixteen, we were working at Sonicraft.$$Okay, okay.$$Uh huh. And even after my brother graduated with his degree, he worked at Sonicraft. My sister, after she finished with her degree in information systems, she worked at Sonicraft for some time. Her husband, at that time they were just dating, he worked at Sonicraft during the summer as a summer intern while he was in college. So, everybody in our circle, you know, at one summer or another you went through Sonicraft. And it was, it was great.$And we have your comment in the outline that you made that you were, that there was never an image of a black woman professor in your mind, because you'd never seen one.$$Right.$$In all your years in school, you never saw a black woman professor, in college anyway.$$No, so I've never had a black woman professor stand in front of me. So, I went to Northwestern in October of '91' [1991] and I started teaching in January. And so, I went to Janet before teaching, and I'm going, "Janet, what earrings do I wear, how do I look? Do I wear something ethnic? You know, what should I look like in front of the class?" And so, she just laughed and she said, "Yourself." And I go, "But, Janet. You know, and it comes to mind, I've never seen a black woman stand in front of me, so I don't know what it looks like, and I don't know how that person will be received by the students." So, it was very overwhelming, you know, to prepare for the first lecture in class. And you worried about all these different things, because you never had that image before.$$Okay.$$And it really goes to the heart of having those images, uh huh. Because then you could say, this worked, this didn't. And without those images, I didn't know what worked and what didn't. And you know, and that was the reason for asking the question, you know, can you wear something ethnic? You know, how are you being perceived? And so, you know, being yourself, yes, but you, you know, it's a wide range that you have. Because it's not where you wear all ethnic clothes, and you wear big earrings, little earrings, you know, jewelry. What do you wear? Do you wear slacks, skirts? So, it's all these options. And you're just going, you know, what worked and what didn't?$$So did you strike a balance in terms of--$$Yes, over time I began to feel comfortable wearing what I wanted to wear and not what I perceived I should be wearing. And so, because if I feel comfortable in how I look, then it comes across in what I'm doing, that comfort. Because you feel comfortable with the material, and I have no problems with being questioned and how to deal with questions, because I think at Berkeley you're constantly being questioned. And so, your assumption is that if people ask a lot of questions, that means they're engaged. If I give a presentation and I don't get that many questions, I think that's a bad presentation, because that meant that people did not find it interesting enough to challenge me in some way. So, it's not where questions--that I wanted to avoid questions--but it was just the perception of how you're perceived as an instructor. So it was, I think it took probably about a semester, and then I felt comfortable.$$Okay. So--$$And I wore bright colors. (laughter). I wore what I wanted to wear.

Michael Spencer

Electrical Engineer, Computer Scientist and Engineering Professor Michael G. Spencer was born on March 9, 1952 in Detroit, Michigan. Spencer’s passion for teaching is part of a family tradition, his mother and grandparents were teachers. He grew up in Washington, D.C. and travelled to Ithaca, New York to study at Cornell University. He earned his B.S. degree in 1974 and his M.S. degree in 1975. Spencer worked at Bell Laboratories from 1974 to 1977 before returning to Cornell to receive his Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering in 1981.
He joined the faculty of Howard University as an assistant professor in 1984. Spencer also founded the Materials Science Center for Excellence in 1984 and served as its director for the entirety of his career at Howard. He spent the next eighteen years working and researching at Howard, becoming a full professor in 1990 and the David and Lucile Packard Chaired Professor of Materials Science in 1999. During this time, Spencer also worked as a visiting scientist at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)’s JET Propulsion Laboratory. In 1999, he returned to his alma mater, Cornell University as professor of electrical engineering. He served as associate dean of research and graduate studies for the College of Engineering from 2002 to 2008. Spencer directed the Wide Bandgap Laboratory where he researched semiconductor materials like Silicon Carbide (SiC) and Gallium Nitride (GaN), as well as two dimensional semiconductors like graphene. He co-founded Widetronix, a company that builds low power long life betavoltaic batteries. Spencer has written over 130 publications concerning semiconductors and has also co-authored eleven United States patents.

Spencer has received much recognition for his research and teaching. In 1985, he received the Presidential Young Investigator Award from the National Science Foundation. Spencer also received the QEM (Quality Education for Minorities) Giants of Science Award and the Allen Berman Research Publication Award from the Naval Research Laboratory. He served as one of the directors for the National Science Foundation (NSF) Nano-Fabrication Network. Spencer was a member of the program committee of the American Vacuum Society and the International Conference on Silicon Carbide and Related Materials. He also held memberships in the Electronic Materials Conference Organizing Committee and the Compound Semiconductor Symposium Organizing Committee. Spencer lives in Ithaca, New York.
Michael G. Spencer was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 5, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.158

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/5/2012

Last Name

Spencer

Middle Name

Gregg

Schools

Cornell University

New Hampton School

Jefferson Middle School Academy

La Salle Elementary School

Speakers Bureau

Yes

First Name

Michael

Birth City, State, Country

Detroit

HM ID

SPE63

Speakers Bureau Preferred Audience

Adults

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

Yes - $200-$300

Favorite Season

None

Speaker Bureau Notes

Honorarium $200-$300 (may be waived or negotiated depending on circumstance)

State

Michigan

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

3/9/1952

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Ithaca

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Short Description

Electrical engineer, computer scientist, and engineering professor Michael Spencer (1952 - ) is a leader in materials science and holds eleven United States patents.

Employment

Bell Laboratories

Howard University

Cornell University

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:4811,56:5903,67:11727,228:19860,308:20820,322:24740,367:26580,402:28180,439:28500,444:44122,628:44892,640:45277,646:47818,701:48126,706:48434,711:52815,730:57745,805:63790,851:64255,857:70132,889:74560,928:75510,936:76080,942:76935,952:79025,974:81020,993:82065,1005:82540,1011:88554,1048:89490,1062:94014,1126:94404,1132:96354,1165:96666,1170:97914,1196:98226,1201:98616,1207:104794,1250:109170,1294:109995,1307:116260,1362:121096,1425:127468,1488:127998,1494:131708,1531:136394,1557:136718,1562:138986,1598:139958,1616:141011,1634:144575,1682:145061,1689:145790,1694:147005,1711:147410,1717:152346,1740:152634,1746:152994,1752:155874,1804:156954,1819:158610,1854:159258,1866:162184,1878:164692,1921:165220,1931:165814,1943:168904,1961:169996,1975:170836,1989:172432,2012:176082,2022:178904,2063:179485,2072:183742,2099:184374,2108:185085,2118:191484,2194:195934,2220:197628,2245:197936,2253:198783,2266:204756,2329:205274,2338:206088,2351:207272,2374:208160,2387:208530,2393:209196,2404:210084,2423:213682,2445:214048,2452:214353,2458:214780,2466:215390,2479:221850,2546:224034,2577:224762,2586:227800,2613:232222,2704:232486,2709:233542,2727:234400,2742:235324,2756:244960,2834:245800,2848:247312,2869:253200,2910:264987,3077:266261,3094:270078,3109:270654,3118:271806,3137:272454,3146:272742,3151:279552,3237:281961,3291:284808,3353:285684,3363:287436,3406:309241,3572:309873,3585:313707,3617:314358,3629:314916,3636:319450,3683:320099,3698:320335,3703:322460,3737$0,0:448,4:6376,151:13132,198:15750,223:20320,228:21508,241:30039,300:30854,306:48989,475:49624,481:52326,502:52598,507:52938,513:65438,584:68062,624:69690,640:70086,647:72955,692:75160,721:79180,759:80236,771:80908,782:84070,797:85137,809:85719,816:89874,880:90294,886:104544,970:110092,1105:111384,1190:115370,1281:123794,1438:139372,1521:151180,1683:151810,1717:173604,1962:190156,2101:192328,2290:212058,2472:212553,2478:216810,2551:217404,2565:218295,2575:219978,2602:224060,2627:225076,2636:229400,2692:230600,2710:231400,2725:233000,2739:233400,2744:240936,2840:243246,2882:244434,2912:244698,2917:245622,2936:245886,2941:246414,2951:250230,2993:254590,3046:255990,3082:263420,3129:265320,3158:267920,3201:268820,3211:271955,3225:272391,3230:272936,3236:280010,3312
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Michael Spencer's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Michael Spencer lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Michael Spencer describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Michael Spencer talks about the Denmark Vesey Revolt

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Michael Spencer talks about the history of Charleston, South Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Michael Spencer talks about his ancestors in the Marines during the Revolutionary War

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Michael Spencer talks about his mother's childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Michael Spencer describes his mother's education

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Michael Spencer describes his father's family background

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Michael Spencer describes his paternal great-grandfather acquiring freedom and becoming a teacher

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Michael Spencer describes how his paternal great-grandfather became a shoemaker

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Michael Spencer talks about his paternal great-grandfather losing his stocks in the Stock Market Crash of 1929

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Michael Spencer talks about his great-grandmother Sue Spencer's family pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Michael Spencer talks about his great-grandmother Sue Spencer's family pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Michael Spencer talks about his father growing up in Frankfort, Kentucky

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Michael Spencer talks about his father's career as a beer salesman

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Michael Spencer describes how his parent's met

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Michael Spencer talks about his parents' marriage

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Michael Spencer describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Michael Spencer talks about his household as a child

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Michael Spencer describes the neighborhoods he grew up in

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Michael Spencer talks about elementary school and the assassination of President John F. Kennedy

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Michael Spencer talks about the death of his father

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Michael Spencer talks about his mother's careers

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Michael Spencer talks about government officials his mother worked with

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Michael Spencer talks about his mother being part of African American society in Washington D.C.

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Michael Spencer talks about his junior high school

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Michael Spencer talks working with a graduate student on his science fair project

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Michael Spencer talks about Dr. Herman Branson's involvement in the discovery of the structure of DNA

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Michael Spencer talks about Dr. Herman Branson

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Michael Spencer describes how he decided to go to a prep school in New Hampshire

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Michael Spencer talks about his experience at his prep school, New Hampton School, in New Hampshire

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Michael Spencer describes his science classes and extracurricular activities at his prep school, New Hampton School

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Michael Spencer talks about his interviews for admission to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Michael Spencer describes the racial tensions on Cornell University's campus when he attended

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Michael Spencer talks about the Africana Studies Department at Cornell University

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Michael Spencer describes the engineering department at Cornell University

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Michael Spencer talks about the Black Electrical Engineers and alumni of Cornell University

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Michael Spencer talks about his time as a member of the Nation of Islam

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Michael Spencer talks about Minister Farrakhan and Malcolm X

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Michael Spencer talks about religion

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Michael Spencer talks about his education at Cornell University

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Michael Spencer describes the work environment at Bell Laboratories

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Michael Spencer describes his work at Bell Laboratories

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Michael Spencer talks about his doctoral dissertation

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Michael Spencer talks about his time as a professor at Howard University

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Michael Spencer talks about doing research at Howard University

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Michael Spencer talks about his former students at Howard University

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Michael Spencer describes his decision to leave Howard University to become a professor at Cornell University

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Michael Spencer talks about his research at Cornell University

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Michael Spencer talks about Widetronix, the company he cofounded

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Michael Spencer talks about the prospects of Widetronix

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Michael Spencer describes his publications and patents

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Michael Spencer reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Michael Spencer talks about STEM education in the United States

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Michael Spencer describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Michael Spencer talks about his family

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Michael Spencer talks about how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Michael Spencer describes his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

7$5

DAStory

2$9

DATitle
Michael Spencer describes his publications and patents
Michael Spencer describes the work environment at Bell Laboratories
Transcript
Tell us about some of your publications and would it be correct to generalize that you are publishing more at Cornell [University, Ithaca, New York] than you did at Howard [University, Washington, D.C.]?$$Yeah, I would say so. Certainly more in terms of numbers and also citations are higher, the number of citations are higher.$$Okay, that's when someone else uses your research?$$Yeah, when someone else--$$Cites what you're--$$--cites your work in their publication.$$Okay.$$Yeah.$$All right. What are some of your papers and I want you to talk about some of your patents too.$$Well, we have on the patent side, we have of course in a small company you always--patents are more important. So we have some patents on ways of getting more power out of beta voltaic batteries or nuclear batteries. So power meaning power density and so that's one major area of patenting. In terms of publications, we have, we did a lot of work on using something called scanning probe microscopes to get information about semiconductors. So a scanning probe microscope is based on the material that is piezoelectric. Now piezoelectric means that if you apply electricity to this material it moves a very, very small distance. So in a scanning probe unit you have a little tip which is moved very small distances by these piezoelectric manipulators and as that tip comes close to the surface of the semiconductor it will experience a force and that force that it experiences can be measured. Now using that force and a lot of other things related to it we can make very nice measurements about some of the properties of the material. We can determine what are the electric fields that are coming from dislocations and other problems and so we use that, those techniques. It's called Kelvin probe microscopy to characterize a material. And we were some of the first to do that and so that publication has received a lot--those series of papers have received a lot of citations and that work was started when I came to Cornell. Some of the more recent graphene work in which we have demonstrated a way of actually producing suspended membranes of Graphene. So I told you that graphene is one atomic layer thick. Well we can actually make a membrane that is suspended in space bound on either side, it's suspended and this one atomic layer is literally in space. And so you can actually see right through it with an electronic microscope. And it's really quite amazing that you can actually, that one atomic layer of atoms will self-support but the other amazing thing is you can actually make useful devices out of this one atomic layer. You can put it into vibration and you can make lots of things. So this particular way of suspending the membranes has also you know been given a lot of attention. We're completing a paper now in which we have demonstrated for the first time producing graphene on another material called sapphire and we have studied and we plan on submitting this to the journal 'Nature.' I'm very excited about it. We have studied the way in which the potential of the substrate will actually align the graphene films so that paper has yet to be submitted but it will be soon. And I don't remember what all the things that I put down, one of the other papers I put down on there. I think I probably put down something about a measuring properties of aluminum nitride which we've talked about and we also--and then there was the initial work on grain boundaries which we're very proud of. And you know there, I think there are a number of other things but I think, you know I have over one hundred and twenty publications so I think that's a good--I think right now is a good place to stop. (Laughter).$$Okay.$Now what kind of projects were you working on at Bell Labs and well tell me something about the environment of Bell Labs and as a work environment and what projects were you working on?$$So at Bell Laboratories was divided into divisions or areas, Area 10, Area 20, Area 30, Area 40, Area 50--10 was basic science, 20 was applied engineering, that was my area, 40 I believe was transmission I think or switching. I can't recall all of them. But I was in Area 20 and we did power supplies. I was the only black engineer at Area 20 and my first--and Area 20 had several, a couple of laboratories. A laboratory is a fairly large group of, fairly large group and then departments, laboratory department then groups. So, first departmental meeting one of the technicians raises the question about affirmative action hires. I'm the only black face in the room. It must have been fifty people and were they qualified, something to that affect. Oh god, anyway you asked about--$$Well how was that handled? We can't just skip over that. Now what--?$$How was that handled?$$Yeah.$$It wasn't handled. The question just laid there as the department head sort of moved on and didn't answer.$$There were no affirmative action hires in your department right?$$Well the implication was that I was the affirmative action hire.$$Right, right, right, yeah.$$Being the only black in the room. And it wasn't handled.$$So, well go on. So what was that typical of the atmosphere there or was it--did it get better?$$Well it wasn't typical but it wasn't atypical either. I think you were--I think the way you have to view Bell Labs is it had managers who were both, who were angels, some were angels and others were devils and others were ambivalent.$$Hmm, okay just like in the rest of life I guess?$$Hmm?$$Just like everything else in life?$$Pretty much.$$Every other area.$$Yeah.$$Okay, all right. So I've heard people--now I'll put it like--I've heard people say the people we've interviewed within this month have talked about how Bell Labs had such a wonderful you know, what a wonderful place it was to work because of the way all the you know research scientists were treated and engineers for the most part, freedom to you know explore things and they had well, they were well equipped and they had you know there was a lot of freedom at Bell Labs to explore things and that sort--that's what we were told.$$Well yeah that's absolutely right. That's probably, there were three places in the country to work and Bell Labs was one of them. As an MTS, member of the technical staff, I, you know I had a signature authority of a thousand dollars on my own as I recall. We were more in applied division. In the research area, Area 10, even more flexibility on what to work with. Bell Labs was a monopoly that wasn't very well controlled at that time and so the labs were run on one percent of the profits of the Bell system which was a huge amount of money and they didn't have to worry about getting money so that was always there. So it was a tremendous place to work, wonderful work was done. It has never been duplicated. Again, I'm very proud of the fact that I'm an alumnus of Bell Labs in a technical sense and you meet other people who are alumni of Bell Labs and as I said it has, was not duplicated.

Lucius Walker

Mechanical engineer, engineering professor and education administrator Lucius Walker was born on December 16, 1936 in Washington, D.C. to Inez, a housewife and M. Lucius Walker, Sr., a public school teacher. After attending Armstrong High School for one year, he received a Ford Foundation scholarship to attend Morehouse College at the age of fifteen. In 1954, he transferred to Howard University to study engineering. Walker graduated with his B.S. degree in mechanical engineering in 1957. He continued his studies at Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University), earning advanced degrees in mechanical engineering, his M.S. degree in 1958 and his Ph.D. degree in 1966. During his studies, he served as an instructor at Howard University and Carnegie Institute of Technology.

In 1963, Walker joined the faculty of Howard University as an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering; in 1967, he was promoted to an associate professor and in 1970, he became a full professor. A year later, he became chair of the department of engineering. In 1972, Walker co-founded and directed the Engineering Coalition of Schools for Excellence in Education and Leadership and co-founded the organization, Advancing Minorities' Interest in Engineering. In 1976, Walker became acting dean of the School of Engineering and a graduate professor of mechanical engineering. He was appointed dean in 1978. Throughout his career, Walker also worked for General Electric, Exxon, Ford Motor Company, and Harry Diamond Laboratories. He published many scientific research articles covering topics such as transportation systems analysis, fluid mechanics, and bioengineering. Walker also conducted aerodynamics research using airplane models and holds a patent on a Fluidic NOR device. Lucius Walker retired as dean in 2002 and became a professor emeritus at Howard University.

Walker has been recognized many times throughout his career including receiving the 2008 Distinguished Alumni Award from Howard University. He served on the board of directors of Carnegie Mellon University; Junior Engineering Technical Society and the Center for Naval Analysis, as well as MIT’s Visiting Committee of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences. Lucius Walker has two children and six grandchildren.

Lucius Walker was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on July 14, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.054

Sex

Male

Interview Date

7/15/2012

Last Name

Walker, Jr.

Marital Status

Seperated

Schools

Lovejoy Elementary School

Terrell Junior High School

Armstrong Technical School

Morehouse College

Carnegie Institute of Technology

Howard University

First Name

M. Lucius

Birth City, State, Country

Washington

HM ID

WAL17

Favorite Season

Spring

State

District of Columbia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts

Favorite Quote

The Future Is Now.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

12/16/1936

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Chocolate Bars

Death Date

6/22/2013

Short Description

Mechanical engineer, engineering professor, and education administrator Lucius Walker (1936 - 2013 ) served as dean of the College of Engineering for thirty years and was a major advocate for minority science education.

Employment

Howard University

Carnegie Institute of Technology

Favorite Color

Cream, Crimson

Timing Pairs
0,0:1264,38:1896,62:15046,220:15491,226:16025,233:16381,238:17894,262:24451,341:25375,357:26453,386:27993,419:34926,503:35238,508:43176,626:43624,634:43880,639:44136,644:44840,654:45288,662:48680,735:59500,897:60166,907:60980,919:62090,945:72790,1118:75004,1213:76726,1250:79678,1296:81564,1328:82220,1341:83368,1358:83778,1364:93241,1497:93696,1503:95516,1534:97518,1564:107970,1686:116822,1783:118402,1806:122905,1901:123300,1907:129146,2041:130726,2080:134992,2161:138073,2241:157268,2398:157772,2406:162710,2477$0,0:2595,23:3306,35:4096,49:23180,382:34080,573:75670,985:76230,993:78430,1005:89240,1135:89690,1146:90050,1151:102626,1286:113178,1391:129768,1575:135763,1709:139494,1831:145924,1923:146722,1931:156252,2002:175486,2277:176172,2285:180876,2381:187285,2478:191280,2531:197778,2581:213320,2755:222052,2848:224348,2888:225578,2908:226480,2926:234260,3060:244985,3227:261640,3582:267618,3618:277000,3693:292137,3884:294284,3902:295979,3936:311244,4114:322526,4252:325425,4281:326270,4315:326530,4320:338666,4565:364316,4963:386550,5157
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Lucius Walker's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Lucius Walker lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Lucius Walker describes his mother's family background - part one

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Lucius Walker describes his mother's family background - part two

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Lucius Walker talks about his mother's life

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Lucius Walker describes his father's family background - part one

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Lucius Walker describes his father's family background - part two

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Lucius Walker talks about his father's life

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Lucius Walker talks about his father's interest in science

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Lucius Walker talks about his father's growing up and education

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Lucius Walker talks about how his parents met

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Lucius Walker describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Lucius Walker talks about being an only child

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Lucius Walker describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Lucius Walker describes his childhood in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Lucius Walker describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Lucius Walker describes his experience at Lovejoy Elementary School

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Lucius Walker describes his childhood interests

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Lucius Walker talks about World War II

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Lucius Walker describes his childhood interest in sports

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Lucius Walker talks about the Ford Foundation Early Admission Program

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Lucius Walker talks about his classmates at Morehouse College in the Early Admission Program

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Lucius Walker describes his experience at Morehouse College in the Ford Foundation Early Admission Program

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Lucius Walker describes his decision to attend Howard University

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Lucius Walker describes his experience at Morehouse College and Howard University

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Lucius Walker talks about his mentors and peers at Howard University

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Lucius Walker talks about HistoryMaker Percy Pierre

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Lucius Walker describes his experience as a student at Howard University

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Lucius Walker talks about Carnegie Institute of Technology/Carnegie Mellon University

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Lucius Walker describes his dissertation research

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Lucius Walker talks about how he met his wife

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Lucius Walker describes his decision to pursue a Ph.D. degree in engineering

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Lucius Walker talks about his doctoral dissertation research at Carnegie Institute of Technology/Carnegie Mellon University

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Lucius Walker describes his experience as a faculty member at Howard University

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Lucius Walker talks about his work towards increasing African American representation in engineering - part one

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Lucius Walker talks about his work towards increasing African American representation in engineering - part two

Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Lucius Walker talks about his work towards the study of cardiac dynamics

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Lucius Walker reflects upon engineering training in America

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Lucius Walker reflects upon his career at Howard University

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Lucius Walker talks about the solar car competition

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Lucius Walker describes his post-retirement work in science education

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Lucius Walker reflects upon the awards that he has received

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Lucius Walker reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Lucius Walker describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Lucius Walker reflects upon his career

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Lucius Walker talks about his family

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Lucius Walker describes the Highland Beach community

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Lucius Walker describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Lucius Walker describes his photographs - part one

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Lucius Walker describes his photographs - part two

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Lucius Walker describes his photographs - part three

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Lucius Walker talks about his father's interest in science
Lucius Walker reflects upon his career at Howard University
Transcript
My father [Lucius Walker, Sr.] and my mother's [Inez Landers] brother were both in the physics program at Howard [University, Washington, District of Columbia], in the graduate program.$$Okay, all right, now, is there a story behind your father's involvement in physics, you know. That's a--$$Well, I mean, he just always as a young person aspired to be a scientist, you know what I'm saying. At least that's what he told me. And then he sort of influenced my thinking as well, you know, and gave me some confidence that if it was something I wanted to achieve, I could, which I think was a very important dimension that's missing from some young and women's lives, you know, someone who tells them, look, you know, (laughter). My father, incidentally, my father never tutored me per se. What he did was always reassure me that within my own abilities I could do the work, which is kind of a different perspective from, you know, you think that maybe he taught me physics. He never taught me physics. He taught me that if I needed to do physics, I could, you know (laughter).$$Okay, you know, with the emphasis today, I know we've been talking about STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics] education in the black community for years and how it's not, the hard sciences and some of the equipment to pursue them are not available in the black community--$$Um-hum.$$--especially in the old days when the one-room schools and people, you know. But, so I just imagine there's a story here on some level behind your father being even involved in physics in that, during that time period, you know. I mean, you know, Howard had a department but who inspired--did your father ever talk about how he was inspired to pursue physics?$$Well, it strikes me that he liked science before he ever came to Howard. But I may, you know, that's as best I recall, his telling me that, well, as a young person, like I said, I told you the story about, you know, he had entered a science fair and somehow, someone confiscated his science project. He was eternally upset about that even though he was, you know. I mean it was a thing of his past when I was growing up, you know. He was maybe thirty or forty years old and still talking about his high school science project (laughter), said someone had confiscated it, you know, so and unfairly so. So, he, he--but there's no science, I mean nothing beyond that I could really say at this time.$$Okay.$$That occurs to me.$Now, so what have been some of the highlights of your career at Howard [University, Washington, District of Columbia]? What would you say they are, if you could pick like three things maybe, as highlights?$$Well, one, I mean I've always enjoyed, you know, working with young men and women and, you know, seeing and I'm hoping, hopefully, opening up their vision, you know, for the future and especially as it relates to engineering opportunities. And, of course, Howard gave me a platform to pursue that concept and hopefully, I've inspired many people to, you know, be, pursue engineering careers and be successful in their careers as engineers. Secondly, I guess it would be, and I was real worried back--well, and National Science Foundation [NSF] introduced the idea of engineering education coalitions in the late '80s [1980s], I was concerned that, you know, we'd be a full part of that exercise of--the notion was to renew engineering education and its infrastructure with a special emphasis on increasing, you know, minority and women participating in engineering. But, but it involved more than just the, the people power issue. It also involved, you know, curriculum reforms and, and curriculum restructuring. So, you know, I took the initiative to organize a number of schools under what was titled 'The ECSEL Coalition'. And so finally, I was successful in bringing these schools together, which included MIT [Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts] and I had a (unclear), my son finished MIT. So that sort of gave me access. I, City College of New York, University of Washington, Seattle, Penn State [Pennsylvania State University, State College, Pennsylvania], University of Maryland [College Park, Maryland] and Morgan State [University, Baltimore, Maryland]. That should be seven schools. So those were members of our coalition, and we were funded for, you know, fifteen million dollars for five years, over a five-year period to, to carry out these studies. Subsequently, we were refunded, although I was, you know, so you kind of know when to hold and you know when to fold (laughter). So I was sort of moving out of engineering education, and my directorship of Excel, and, but we were subsequently refunded for another fifteen million [dollars]. And actually, over the course of the program itself, we were funded maybe a couple extra million [dollars] here and there, you know, during the first five years. So I felt some pride that, you know, we were able to play some role, and our greatest contribution was, I think, introducing engineering in the beginning years of students' course of study. And so we had, we had some, that was the Engineering Design 'cause that was our theme, designed across the curriculum broadly conceived was the essence of engineering. And so, so a lot of schools now, you know, try to introduce students, you know, early on in their academic careers to, you know, doing engineering problems and doing engineering designs. And the one, the design we had, it was very exciting in the Washington metropolitan area. It was homeless shelters. You know, a lot of people sleep in the streets during the coldest month of the year, but the students, you know, came up with some low-budget, low-cost type of shelters that these, you know, people could live in. And they actually tested them in the streets here and there. But that has, you know, finally, we understood, you had to be a little careful about that (laughter) because of the liabilities involved in this, you know, in this society that we live in. But in any event, that was one of the contributions that we made, and then on the other end, well, the other end was, you know, maybe changing people's philosophy about how to teach, you know. Myself was, you know, more weighted to just the chalk-talk method as opposed to the whole idea of involving students in the teaching learning process, and, which I think, you know, we were fairly effective at different institutions in changing the philosophy, you know, of how to teach. Well, you've probably heard the Chinese proverb, what is it, "Tell me and I forget, show me and I remember, and involve me, I understand". That was the concept. And so that was one of those things that we got across. And then the last thing was, you know, just to make all participating schools more conscious of the need to increase minority and women as engineering graduates. So those were the three by-products of the effort and, you know, one thing I came to understand was that when you talk about social change, you're talking about a big investment and a lot, lot in terms of, in terms of money and time, wow. It's unbelievably costly to realize social change, but, but, you know, I think all of our schools benefited from the program. And there's some evidence, because like I said, it was funded for an additional ten or, ten years or so.$$Okay.$$What else? Well, those were a couple of the major things that I was involved in, that I feel excited about the outcome. I guess that was the largest quote "program" that I, you know, had any role in developing.