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Lloyd Douglas

Mathematician and education administrator Lloyd Evans Douglas was born on October 5, 1951 near the Polo Grounds in New York City. Douglas’ family moved to Brooklyn where he attended Lafayette Public School (now the Eubie Blake School) and Berriman Junior High School (J.H.S. 64) before graduating from Brooklyn Technical High School in 1968. He was awarded a New York State Regents Scholarship and enrolled in the City Colleges of New York where he graduated with his B.S. degree in mathematics in 1972. While there, Douglas earned three varsity letters as a lacrosse player. He then attended graduate school at Miami University and worked as a graduate assistant in the math department and as an assistant coach of the lacrosse team. Douglas received his M.S. degree in mathematics in 1974. Douglas went on to enroll in Boston University’s doctoral program where he studied algebraic coding theory under the late Dr. Edwin Weiss. He was awarded a senior teaching fellowship in the mathematics department and worked as a mathematics tutor in the resident tutor program.

From 1971 to 1976, Douglas worked at the law offices of LeBoeuf, Lamb, Leiby and MacRae in New York City as a paralegal assistant specializing in litigation. In 1976, he was hired as a mathematician in the U.S. Naval Underwater Systems Center (now called the Naval Undersea Warfare Center) in Newport, Rhode Island. Douglas joined the Trident Command and Control System Maintenance Activity in Newport in 1979 as a computer specialist where he was the on-site representative for the data processing subsystem on the first Trident submarines. From 1980 to 1983, Douglas served as an operations research analyst at the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command in Ft. Monmouth, New Jersey.

In 1983, Douglas moved to Washington, D.C. where he was appointed as a computer specialist in the U. S. General Services Administration and in the U.S. Office of Advanced Planning. In those positions, Douglas assisted in conducting technology assessments for automatic data processing and telecommunications throughout all federal departments. In 1984, Douglas joined the National Science Foundation (NSF). While there, he oversaw a large increase in the Research Experiences for Undergraduates program in the Division of Mathematical Sciences. Douglas was then appointed as the assistant to the Vice President for Research at the University of Nevada, Reno. In 2010, he became the associate director of the Office of Sponsored Programs at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro; and, in 2012, he has been the associate director of the Office of Contracts and Grants at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Douglas served on numerous committees in the Mathematical Association of America. In addition, he was elected as president of two, the Federal Executive Institute Alumni Association and the NSF Employees Association. He received NSF’s Meritorious Service Award in 2007.

Lloyd E. Douglas was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on June 19, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.143

Sex

Male

Interview Date

6/19/2013

Last Name

Douglas

Marital Status

Divorced

Middle Name

Evans

Schools

P.S. 25

Berriman Junior High School

Brooklyn Technical High School

City College of New York

Miami University

Boston University

Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Any

First Name

Lloyd

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

DOU05

Speakers Bureau Preferred Audience

Any

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

No

Favorite Season

Summer

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Las Vegas, Nevada

Favorite Quote

The more things change, the more they remain the same.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

North Carolina

Birth Date

10/5/1951

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Greensboro

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Candy

Short Description

Mathematician and education administrator Lloyd Douglas (1951 - ) served as a mathematician for the U.S. Army Communication and Electronics Command and the U.S. Naval Command Center, and as a research director at the National Science Foundation where he was instrumental in expanding the Research Experiences for Undergraduates program in the mathematical sciences.

Employment

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

University of Nevada, Reno

National Science Foundation (NSF)

United States General Services Administration

United States Army Communications and Electronics Command

United States Navy Trident Command and Control System Maintenance Activity

United States Naval Underwater Systems Center

Dewey & Le Bouf, LLP

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:22832,276:23162,282:24020,299:31850,392:33950,420:34895,434:36260,451:39967,491:41830,531:42451,588:55332,736:58248,798:58572,803:60597,839:67710,887:68280,895:71605,949:83547,1123:98761,1372:100327,1395:100762,1401:103981,1454:112552,1514:113128,1569:115648,1666:115936,1762:146530,2076:147010,2082:166164,2437:166428,2442:171401,2474:180626,2586:181161,2592:181696,2598:189969,2679:190237,2684:190505,2689:190907,2696:191443,2710:191979,2719:192515,2777:203070,2841:203520,2847:214576,2986:223385,3093:232270,3265:234500,3286$0,0:2098,23:16728,282:17596,309:18278,322:27358,424:42496,725:43738,744:44083,750:67404,996:68301,1012:87285,1302:92376,1391:92904,1398:101000,1605:106946,1659:108034,1667:112937,1707:115367,1749:116015,1758:129471,1909:132835,1931:133213,1938:143780,2136:144200,2144:148470,2404:176054,2601:177533,2629:180491,2713:180839,2718:181274,2724:182057,2736:187143,2767:190538,2806:191120,2813:200430,2882:208188,2922:216723,3044:220945,3104:222177,3156:228222,3195:228798,3200:235875,3258:239355,3303:239703,3312:240399,3321:241182,3350:249278,3437:254290,3487
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Lloyd Douglas' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Lloyd Douglas lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Lloyd Douglas describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Lloyd Douglas talks about his mother's immigration to the United States

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Lloyd Douglas describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Lloyd Douglas talks about his father's education and his employment in New York City

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Lloyd Douglas talks about his parents' marriage in 1948

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Lloyd Douglas describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Lloyd Douglas talks about his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Lloyd Douglas describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Lloyd Douglas describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Lloyd Douglas talks about the Jamaican community in Brooklyn, New York while he was growing up

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Lloyd Douglas talks about his childhood interests

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Lloyd Douglas describes his interest in science in elementary school and talks about his father helping him with his studies

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Lloyd Douglas talks about his interests as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Lloyd Douglas talks about the schools that he attended in New York City and his experience in school

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Lloyd Douglas talks about his involvement in Christ English Evangelical Lutheran Church

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Lloyd Douglas talks about the political climate in the United States in the early 1960s

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Lloyd Douglas talks about his childhood interest in space

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Lloyd Douglas talks about the 1964 New York City World's Fair and the Mobile Economy Run

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Lloyd Douglas talks about his family's infrequent vacations and their trip to Jamaica in 1961

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Lloyd Douglas talks about his desire to attend Brooklyn Tech High School in New York City

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Lloyd Douglas describes his experience at Brooklyn Technical High School in New York City - part one

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Lloyd Douglas describes his experience at Brooklyn Technical High School in New York City - part two

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Lloyd Douglas describes his decision to apply to the City University of New York (CUNY), and attend Brooklyn College

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Lloyd Douglas talks about the reaction to the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King in Brooklyn, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Lloyd Douglas describes his experience at the City University of New York (CUNY)

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Lloyd Douglas describes his decision to pursue his graduate studies at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Lloyd Douglas describes his experience at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Lloyd Douglas talks about starting a Ph.D. degree in mathematics at Boston University, and leaving the program to go to work

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Lloyd Douglas describes his experience at the U.S. Naval Underwater Systems Center

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Lloyd Douglas describes his experience with the U.S. Army

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Lloyd Douglas describes his experience as a computer specialist at the U.S. General Services Administration

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Lloyd Douglas talks about self-teaching himself computer programming

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Lloyd Douglas describes his role as the head of the central computer system at the National Science Foundation (NSF) in the early 1980s

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Lloyd Douglas discusses the mission and funding mechanisms of the National Science Foundation, and Walter Massey becoming the head of the NSF

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Lloyd Douglas describes his experience at the National Science Foundation

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Lloyd Douglas discusses the National Science Foundation (NSF)'sfunding for historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs)

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Lloyd Douglas discusses his role as a program officer in the Division of Mathematical Sciences at the National Science Foundation (NSF)

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Lloyd Douglas talks about the National Science Foundation (NSF) Employee Association and his appointment at the University of Nevada at Reno

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Lloyd Douglas describes the history of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Lloyd Douglas describes his experience in the Office of Sponsored Programs at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Lloyd Douglas describes his experience as associate director of the Office of Contracts and Grants at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Lloyd Douglas talks about his service at the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) and the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI)

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Lloyd Douglas lists the professional organizations where he is a member

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Lloyd Douglas reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Lloyd Douglas talks about his interest in hockey

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Lloyd Douglas describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community today

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Lloyd Douglas reflects upon the approach to mathematics in the educational system and in the community

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Lloyd Douglas discusses his operating philosophy while reviewing grants and the importance of communicating science

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Lloyd Douglas talks about his family

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Lloyd Douglas talks about how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Lloyd Douglas describes his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

8$10

DATitle
Lloyd Douglas talks about his family's infrequent vacations and their trip to Jamaica in 1961
Lloyd Douglas describes his experience as a computer specialist at the U.S. General Services Administration
Transcript
Now, did your parents [Calvin Sylvester Douglas and Lurline Isylda Brown] have a chance to go on many vacations in the car?$$No, in fact, they may--went on very few vacations. I think in '59 [1959] we went to Massachusetts. That was, my sister and I and my parents went. I think that's maybe the only vacation that we went on as a family. In '61 [1961] when I went to Jamaica to visit my grandmother, it was just my sister and my mother and I who went. And then we started going to New Jersey, to Asbury Park, and that was my sister and my mother and I who went. And then later, my mother would go to Pennsylvania and go on vacation. So it wasn't, we didn't vacation a lot. My father thought that he was going on vacation every time he left the house. So.$$So from what I gather, he had a keen appreciation of everything that was around him.$$Um-hum, yeah.$$Okay, so, now, your trip to Jamaica in '61 [1961], you would have been like what, nine [years old] or--$$Right, and so that's one of the reasons we went is because, so my sister is a little bit older, a year older than I am, and she--it was because of the airfares, because we could both go for less than adult fare because my sister was still young enough. And so that was the last year. So that was the year that my mother decided that we should go to Jamaica.$$Okay, 'cause if she had waited another year--$$Then my sister would have had to pay adult fare.$$Okay, so, all right, so what impression did Jamaica make on you?$$You know a lot of people go on vacation to Jamaica. I would never go on vacation (laughter) to Jamaica. It was, I mean saw the, you know, all the poverty side. And so that was, that's what struck me the most, you know. See my grandmother had a farm, but it was, there was really, there were dirt floors, and the house was pretty much a shack. And then there was, you know, a barn. And so it was, you know, even though things weren't really wonderful in New York, we lived in a house, and it was, it was a house. You didn't have chickens running in and out of the house and other creatures flying in and things like that. So that was sort of an awakening.$$Okay, so you could understand why your parents left Jamaica?$$Yeah, in fact, that was my father's thing. So people would go back to Jamaica or say they were gonna go back to Jamaica, a lot of Jamaicans (unclear)--maybe a lot of them thought they'd come to the U.S. and they'd make money and then go back. And my father would say, why would you go back? That's the reason you left there. So I think he had been in the U.S. forty years before he went back. And he had relatives there.$$It seems strange to hear that when most people consider it a vacation spot--$$Yeah, exactly.$$--but if you don't have the money there, it's not that much fun.$$Yeah, no.$$Okay, so, well, now, okay, anything else about the World's Fair? Now, but, you know, the trip in '61 [1961] in Jamaica, that's--you're actually going abroad for the first time. Did you learn anything about--$$Right, so that was the first time I had been out of the U.S. There was, as I mentioned before, the money was different, so that was unusual. People, although they supposedly spoke English, my mother had to translate for us. And so that was unusual too.$Okay, now, you started with the GSA [U.S. General Services Administration] in '83 [1983], right?$$Um-hum.$$And what was, how did that come about?$$So, I sort of had gotten back to, also--not back to New Jersey 'cause I hadn't lived in New Jersey, but New Jersey was sort of, it was close to home because it's close to New York, having lived in Ohio and Massachusetts and Rhode Island. And I thought I would just stay there because it was close, but then I started sort of looking at other opportunities, and, you know, a lot of them--being a federal employee, a lot of them were in the Washington, D.C. area, and I sort of resisted for a while, moving to D.C. I said, well, I can always move to D.C. later, and but all the interesting jobs I found were in Washington, D.C. And the job at GSA was the second that I applied for, that, where I was hired over the phone. I had applied for the job. They interviewed me over the phone, and they hired me, and they even told me that they were very reluctant to do that because they had never hired anybody over the phone before, but they, then compared my application to the other applications, they said it wasn't close. And so they, so then I moved to D.C., working at GSA as a computer specialist.$$Well, you know, you hear so many stories about job discrimination of black candidates going to an interview, and when they find out they're black, they won't even interview 'em or that sort of thing.$$Um-hum.$$And then the government's not necessarily--$$Right.$$--at this stage, it's not, isn't known for doing that kind of thing. But here you get two jobs on the telephone (laughter).$$Yeah, (laughter).$$This is fairly lucky it seems, to me. So, now, what did you--you worked for the GSA as a computer specialist, right?$$Um-hum.$$And so were you doing programming for the GSA?$$No, I was actually doing planning. So back then GSA was the government's purchaser. So if you bought anything, you had to go through GSA. So whether you bought pens or pencils or telecommunications systems, you have to go through GSA if you're with the federal government. And so I worked then in office, called the Office for Advanced Planning, and our job was to do--was to look at emerging technology to see where it could be applied throughout the federal government. And that was a really interesting job because you got to do technology--technical analysis, technology assessment, just looking at new technology and seeing where it could be applied.$$Okay, now, this is a time period when the whole computer world is changing rapidly, you know.$$Um-hum.$$Some people are still using mainframes, some people--PCs [personal computers] have come out and--$$Right.$$Just talk about some of the changes and--$$So that was the first time I ever used a PC. It was a Compaq computer, and, you know, it probably has hundredth of the capability that my phone does now. But it was not large in the sense of a mainframe. It was sort of like a desktop now and it was actually things that you could write and program and have it actually do things. So, again, with my interest in computers, I thought that was something that I really enjoyed doing.$$Okay, at this juncture, then, would you--the kind of programming you're doing, I guess would, you know, is PC-based, were you aware of Macintosh [from Apple, Inc.] computers at this point?$$No, no, I wasn't.$$Okay, and was the government--I guess the government was basically PC-based?$$Right, um-hum.

James Donaldson

Mathematician James A. Donaldson was born in 1941 on a farm in Madison County, Florida as one of eleven children to parents Audrey Brown and Oliver Donaldson. After graduating from high school, Donaldson enrolled at Lincoln University near Oxford, Pennsylvania in 1957 and graduated from there in 1961 with his A.B. degree in mathematics. Donaldson continued his studies at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign where he received his M.S. degree in mathematics in 1963, and his Ph.D. degree in mathematics in 1965.

Upon graduation, Donaldson served as professor of mathematics at Southern University, Howard University, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and the University of New Mexico. In addition, Donaldson was appointed as a visiting professor at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Science at the University of Victoria in Canada, the University of Ferrara in Italy, and Duke University in North Carolina. In 1972, Donaldson was named chairman of Howard University Department of Mathematics. During his tenure there, Donald oversaw the hiring of new tenured-faculty and the development and inauguration of the first Ph.D. degree-granting mathematics program at a Historically Black College and University.

Donaldson has served on committees of several professional mathematics and science organizations. He is a member of the Council of the American Mathematical Society, served as the second vice president of the Mathematical Association of America, and was the editor of the newsletter of the National Association of Mathematicians. Donaldson’s research interests include the history of mathematics and mathematics accessibility issues and he has published more than fifty research papers, articles and presentations in these areas as well.

Donaldson served as a consultant to the National Science Foundation, the National Research Council, the Sloan Foundation, the Educational Testing Service, several state boards of Education, many mathematics departments, and the District of Columbia Public School System. He received the Lincoln University Alumni Achievement Award in 1986, and was the National Institute of Science’s memorial lecturer in 1989.

Donaldson passed away on October 18, 2019.

James A. Donaldson was interviewed by March 28, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.087

Sex

Male

Interview Date

3/28/2013

Last Name

Donaldson

Maker Category
Middle Name

Ashley

Occupation
Schools

Jeslamb School

Madison County Training School

Lincoln University

University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign

Search Occupation Category
First Name

James

Birth City, State, Country

Madison County

HM ID

DON03

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Florida

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

I'm still kickin'.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

4/17/1941

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

USA

Favorite Food

All Food

Death Date

10/18/2019

Short Description

Mathematician James Donaldson (1941 - 2019) served as the chairman of the the Howard University Department of Mathematics where he established the first Ph.D. degree-granting mathematics program at a Historically Black College and University.

Employment

Howard University

Lincoln University

University of New Mexico

University of Illinois, Chicago

Favorite Color

Black

Timing Pairs
0,0:3205,45:5830,134:10030,203:10330,208:54025,510:55300,528:55725,534:57085,556:58020,568:65771,655:66518,675:73075,797:73739,807:85190,876:94792,975:96254,992:97888,1014:128240,1332:135030,1389:135282,1394:135975,1407:149510,1610:166544,1815:193768,2089:195013,2107:208260,2252:212765,2349:220162,2406:226148,2487:230822,2553:240673,2628:241085,2633:243140,2689:277622,3089:280348,3128:286264,3178:306890,3480:321553,3643:322799,3665:333408,3783:337420,3891:338372,3914:340760,3931$0,0:1639,6:3814,38:5032,53:9121,85:13819,144:14167,153:27672,208:35298,268:37794,302:42946,336:43558,343:43966,348:45581,353:46148,362:47039,379:50696,414:51156,420:53456,454:54560,469:55756,478:60995,518:67943,554:72221,592:79876,679:80212,684:81640,702:82228,710:83740,777:92376,862:92764,867:94025,882:98416,912:103044,970:108295,1060:109274,1072:110164,1083:113190,1122:129608,1356:130661,1369:131633,1382:132281,1392:136331,1449:138194,1474:140948,1520:141839,1530:146886,1554:147390,1559:149784,1575:153888,1625:154680,1637:158110,1667:158740,1680:167776,1755:168596,1767:169334,1777:171138,1803:173680,1851:175812,1885:176468,1895:177698,1916:178108,1922:178846,1938:204980,2173:205540,2181:206660,2200:208020,2218:209540,2243:210260,2253:211700,2272:212340,2281:218150,2308:219162,2322:220082,2334:224084,2358:225293,2372:225944,2384:226595,2392:227246,2401:231920,2426:233620,2452:244912,2538:245535,2546:248294,2589:249006,2598:249807,2610:261950,2708
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of James Donaldson's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - James Donaldson lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - James Donaldson talks about his mother and her family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - James Donaldson describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - James Donaldson talks about his father and his work on his family's farm

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - James Donaldson talks about his parents getting married in the early 1920s

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - James Donaldson talks about his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - James Donaldson talks about his parents' and his Uncle Enoch's influence on his upbringing and his early education

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - James Donaldson describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - James Donaldson describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up - part one

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - James Donaldson describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up - part two

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - James Donaldson talks about the quality of his early education

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - James Donaldson talks about Jeslamb School

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - James Donaldson talks about his teachers at Jeslamb School

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - James Donaldson talks about listening to the radio while growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - James Donaldson talks about his teachers and his academic performance in high school

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - James Donaldson talks about his experience in high school

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - James Donaldson talks about his pre-college counseling, graduating from high school, and his father's death

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - James Donaldson talks about his teacher, Mr. Scott, and his interest in working as an electrician

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - James Donaldson talks about his visit to Washington, D.C. during high school

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - James Donaldson talks about being hazed upon his arrival at Lincoln University

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - James Donaldson talks about his preparation for college and his academic performance there

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - James Donaldson talks about his clumsiness in the science lab and his decision to major in mathematics

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - James Donaldson talks about his math studies, his professors, and his peers at Lincoln University

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - James Donaldson talks about his decision to pursue graduate studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - James Donaldson talks about his problems with finding a place to stay upon his initial arrival at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC)

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - James Donaldson talks about African American mathematicians and his peers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC)

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - James Donaldson explains the concept of differential equations

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - James Donaldson describes an example of a differential equation

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - James Donaldson talks about mathematical problems

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - James Donaldson talks about his Ph.D. advisor, Ray Langebartel, and his teacher, Professor Dube

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - James Donaldson talks about his struggles in graduate school and the nature of research in mathematics

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - James Donaldson talks about his experience working at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's (UIUC) Computer Center

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - James Donaldson talks about his experience working at Howard University during the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - James Donaldson talks about his colleagues and his experience working at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC)

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - James Donaldson talks about the Annual Meeting of the American Mathematics Society

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - James Donaldson talks about his memories of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination and his participation in anti-war protesting

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - James Donaldson talks about his decision to leave the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC)

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - James Donaldson talks about his postdoctoral research at the University of New Mexico

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - James Donaldson talks about returning to Howard University and publishing in the Cambridge Philosophical Society

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - James Donaldson talks about being a founding member of the Association for Women in Mathematics

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - James Donaldson talks about the development of Howard University's doctoral program in mathematics

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - James Donaldson talks about the supporters of Howard University's graduate program expansion efforts

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - James Donaldson talks about balancing his responsibilities as chair with his research activities

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - James Donaldson talks about his mathematical teaching philosophy

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - James Donaldson explains a Cauchy problem as a differential equation

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - James Donaldson talks about his organizational affiliations

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - James Donaldson talks about the attendees of the First Pan African Congress of Mathematicians

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - James Donaldson talks about his professional activities - part one

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - James Donaldson talks about his experience in Italy

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - James Donaldson talks about his professional activities - part two

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - James Donaldson talks about the Mathematical Association of America and the American Mathematical Society

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - James Donaldson talks about Abdulalim Shabazz

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - James Donaldson talks about becoming acting president of Lincoln University and receiving a traveling award from the National Science Foundation (NSF)

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - James Donaldson talks about Patrick Swygert's role in his appointment as the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Howard University

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - James Donaldson talks about becoming the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Howard University

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - James Donaldson talks about his educational initiatives for Howard University - part one

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - James Donaldson talks about his educational initiatives for Howard University - part two

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - James Donaldson talks about his colleague, Jeff Donaldson, and his involvement in developing the Afro-American Studies program

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - James Donaldson talks about Elbert F. Cox and the importance of scientists knowing the history of their field

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - James Donaldson talks about his research interests, and the integration of mathematics and the life sciences

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - James Donaldson reflects upon how he treated his students when he first started teaching

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - James Donaldson reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - James Donaldson talks about his views on research

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - James Donaldson shares his hopes for mathematical-related fields

Tape: 8 Story: 10 - James Donaldson talks about his family

Tape: 8 Story: 11 - James Donaldson talks about how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

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James Donaldson talks about his clumsiness in the science lab and his decision to major in mathematics
James Donaldson talks about the development of Howard University's doctoral program in mathematics
Transcript
Now what did you decide to major in when you first got to Lincoln [University]?$$Well when I first went to Lincoln, I was not sure; I thought that I was going to do pre-medicine because I'd heard people talk about pre-medicine but when I went to the biology class and they had--as part of the experiments you had to do was to dissect this frog that had been preserved in formaldehyde. I decided, you know, that there had to be something else, so I just sort of went--I went and changed that and so I looked at engineering for a while because they had this cooperative agreement with--I wanna say Lehigh University [Bethlehem, Pennsylvania]--no, Lafayette College in [Easton] Pennsylvania. Lincoln had a cooperative agreement so you do three years at Lincoln, two years at Lafayette, and you get a degree in engineering and a degree in liberal arts. And so I was interested in engineering so I did that for about a semester but that didn't work out well and again, it was the laboratory thing that just fell down.$$What was the problem with the laboratory?$$Well, you had to go out on these field trips; you had to go out on these field trips and one Saturday morning--and I think I probably will remember this until the day I die--we had to go out and it had rained a lot the week before. On a Saturday, we had to go out to look at some rock stratifications along the Chesapeake Bay Canal that connects the Chesapeake Bay to the Atlantic Ocean. It's up in Delaware; it's not too far from Lincoln, so just a bus trip; and we were supposed to go out and look at this and we went out there and--now my professor, Professor Rasmussen, really nice man, he was equipped; everything was equipped. He had on these rubber boots and all of this stuff and here I was out there, you know, with sneakers on and my classmates we were similarly equipped, and all of that mud and stuff we were sloshing around in. And so by the end of the day, everyone was tired and, you know, all wet and dirty, and I remember being so tired I saw this little small pool of water and ordinarily I would have tried to go around it or jump across it but I was just so tired I said I'm just gonna walk--I'm wet already, I might as well walk through this water. So I walked through this water and there was a hole, and I came up--water came up to my chest. So when they got me out of that, I knew then that my engineering days were over. So when I got back to the school, I went to see my advisor and told him "Well look, that's it with the engineering." And Professor Rasmussen tried to talk me out of it; he said "You know, you can do it, you can do it," but I just could not see that there was much of a career for me in that kind of area if that was what I had to do afterwards. Now of course if I had been dressed as he was, it probably wouldn't have been as bad. And so then Lincoln said "You've got to choose." They said "You've got to pick something." My better grades were in the sciences and mathematics and the chemistry again, I loved it. But the laboratory (laughter) just how I say it, the laboratory--did not know whether to put the water into the acid or the acid into the water. And the two--the operations do not commute. So one you get an explosion, you know. Thing say Pow!!! If you put the--$$So did you get it wrong, or did you--$$Oh, a couple of times I got it wrong (laughter). Put the water in the acid--Pow!! So I messed a couple of pair of pants; I only had about three or four pair, and that's all together so, you know, I just couldn't stay there, and I think the chemistry professor was a really good guy--Professor Rudd. I think he sort of agreed that I made the right decision (laughter). He agreed I made the right decision. So I went into mathematics which I say "Well this is what I choose as a major," but didn't know whether I was gonna work in it or not but I decided to choose that as a major because I had to choose something.$So at Howard University--Professor of Mathematics at Howard. Had they planned--well, when you got to Howard, did they--how soon was it before a plan was developed to create a PhD in Mathematics at Howard?$$I guess I got it--I arrived at Howard in 1971. In 1972, I was appointed, you know, Chair of the Mathematics Department and it was around that time that the president of the University, James E. Cheek, talked about expanding, you know, the graduate offerings, you know, in mathematics here. And so it was shortly after 1972--around probably 1973, I have one of the earl proposals--draft proposal, you know, for the doctorate, and I think that's 1973.$$Okay. Alright. So you came back, or you were invited back to Howard basically by a new administration, right?$$By a new administration, right.$$James E. Cheek.$$James Cheek, right.$$Okay. And he took over from James Nabrit.$$Right.$$So some of the things that you did at Howard since you came here, you developed both short-range and long-range programs for the Math Department, right? Strengthened the Mathematics Department faculty, wrote a proposal to offer PhD program; that's in '73 [1973], right?$$Right.$$And (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous)--It was around '73 [1973]; I'm not really sure. Seventy-three [1973], '72 [1972], '73 [1973], around there, but I think it was '73 [1973].$$Okay. And what was the university's thinking? That Howard was not really--had not really fulfilled its potential in mathematics before, or what?$$Well no, I think it was the vision of President Cheek, and he felt that, you know, that a first-rate university should have a strong mathematics program. I know that he was a visionary in that sense so I--but not only that, but in the other sciences as well. But physics and chemistry already had doctorates in mathematics, you know, at the time--physics and chemistry. In fact, chemistry was first and then I think shortly after that, there was physics.$$Okay.$$So it was just the president--it was part of the president's vision.$$Alright, so what did establishing a PhD program entail? What did you have to do?$$Well, first of all, as all new programs are concerned, there is a process that one has to go through involving getting the approvals at different levels. First, the graduate school; well, the graduate school has to approve the proposal, and then once that is done, getting the support from the different administrative offices, you know, at the university. But in our case, it was easier in the sense that the dean of the graduate school, this was Edward Hawthorne, the dean of the graduate school, was supportive of the program and of course the main support was from the president of the university.

William Massey

Mathematician William A. Massey was born in 1956 in Jefferson City, Missouri; the younger of two sons of Richard A. Massey, Sr. and Juliette Massey. Massey attended the public schools of St. Louis, Missouri and high school in University City, a suburb of St. Louis. Upon graduating from University City High School, Massey received a Harvard Book Award and a National Achievement Scholarship. He enrolled at Princeton University in 1973 and encountered his first real introduction to research mathematics in an honor calculus course taught by the late Ralph Fox. Massey wrote his undergraduate senior thesis, “Galois Connections on Local Fields,” under the direction of Bernard Dwork, and graduated from Princeton in 1977 with his A.B. degree in mathematics with honors – magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, and Sigma Xi. Massey was then awarded a Bell Labs Cooperative Research Fellowship for minorities to attend graduate school in the department of mathematics at Stanford University. Massey wrote his doctoral theses, “Non-Stationary Ques,” under the supervision of Joseph Keller, and graduated from Stanford University in 1981 with his Ph.D. degree in mathematics.

In 1981, Massey became a member of the technical staff in the Mathematical Sciences Research Center at Bell Laboratories, a division of Lucent Technologies. His research there included queuing theory, applied probability, stochastic processes, and the performance modeling of telecommunication systems. Massey published over fifty papers in those areas, one of which credits him as the co-author of a U.S. Patent on server staffing. In the area of mentoring, Massey has organized every annual Conference for African American Researchers in the Mathematical Sciences, which he co-founded in 1995. He founded the Council for African American Researchers in the Mathematical Sciences (1996) and is a lifetime member of the National Association of Mathematicians (NAM). In 2001, Massey was named the Edwin S. Wilsey Professor of Operations, Research, and Financial Engineering at Princeton University, making him the first tenured African American mathematician at an Ivy League University.

Massey received the Distinguished Service Award from NAM in 1996 and was invited to give its William W. S. Clayton Lecture. He has given invited lectures at the American Mathematical Society national conference, the Congreso Nacional de la Sociedad Matematica Mexicana, and the Edward Bouchet Conference for African and African American Physicists and Mathematicians that were held in Ghana, Canada, and Germany. The Blackwell-Tapia Prize Committee awarded Massey its 2006 prize and U.S. Black Engineer and Technology magazine honored Massey as the Black Engineer of the Year in 2008.

William A. Massey was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 8, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.065

Sex

Male

Interview Date

3/8/2013

Last Name

Massey

Maker Category
Occupation
Schools

University City High School

Princeton University

Stanford University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

William

Birth City, State, Country

Jefferson City

HM ID

MAS08

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Missouri

Favorite Vacation Destination

Paris, France

Favorite Quote

Think outside the hypercube.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New Jersey

Birth Date

9/4/1956

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Piscataway

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Steamed Crab Legs

Short Description

Mathematician William Massey (1956 - ) , co-founder of the Conference for African American Researchers in the Mathematical Sciences, became the first tenured African American mathematician at an Ivy League University when he was named Edwin S. Wilsey Professor of Operations, Research, and Financial Engineering at Princeton University.

Employment

Bell Laboratories

Princeton University

Favorite Color

Blue

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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of William Massey's interview

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

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

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - William Massey describes his mother's education and her career as a teacher

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - William Massey describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - William Massey talks about his parents' employment in Missouri

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - William Massey talks about his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - William Massey describes his childhood's neighborhood in St. Louis, Missouri

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - William Massey describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - William Massey describes the sights, smells and sounds of growing up

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - William Massey describes his childhood interests

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - William Massey discusses the portrayal of black scientists on television

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - William Massey describes his childhood toys

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - William Massey describes his experience in grade school and his early interest in mathematics and drawing

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - William Massey talks about his childhood friends

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - William Massey talks about the political atmosphere in the 1960s

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - William Massey talks about his experience in a mixed-race schooling system

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - William Massey talks about attending church as a child

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - William Massey describes his involvement with church and in sports while growing up

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - William Massey talks about his training in mathematics in school

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - William Massey discusses his summer jobs, and his high school activities and achievements

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - William Massey describes his decision to attend Princeton University

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - William Massey describes his experience at Princeton University

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - William Massey discusses his concerns about education and violence in the African American community

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - William Massey talks about the misrepresentation of statistics in the media

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - William Massey describes his mathematics coursework at Princeton University

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - William Massey describes his senior thesis on Galois connections on local fields

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - William Massey describes his experience at Bell Labs

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - William Massey talks about African American scientists at Bell Labs in the 1960s

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - William Massey describes the queueing theory and his dissertation research on non-stationary queues

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - William Massey talks about his Ph.D. thesis advisor, Joseph Keller

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - William Massey describes his experience as a doctoral student at Stanford University and his summer experience at Bell Labs

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - William Massey talks about his contemporary generation of African American mathematicians

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - William Massey describes his decision to work at Bell Labs and explains the queueing theory

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - William Massey talks about his research at Bell Labs in the 1980s and 1990s

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - William Massey describes the concept of Jackson networks

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - William Massey talks about other African American mathematicians at Bell Labs and in academia

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - William Massey describes his most significant research contributions at Bell Labs

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - William Massey describes how his research has advanced the theory of dynamic rate queues

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - William Massey describes his involvement in establishing the Conference for African American Researchers in the Mathematical Sciences (CAARMS)

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - William Massey describes his involvement in mentoring students

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - William Massey describes his research in congestion pricing, and his transition from Bell Labs to Princeton University

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - William Massey describes his decision to accept a professorship at Princeton University in 2001

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - William Massey describes his current research in decision-making, at Princeton University

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - William Massey talks about his involvement with the National Association of Mathematicians (NAM) and the African American legacy at Bell Labs

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - William Massey talks about his professional awards

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - William Massey talks about his mentorship of African American students

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - William Massey reflects upon his career's legacy

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - William Massey reflects upon his career's choices

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - William Massey describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - William Massey describes the role of African American organizations in discussing social issues

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - William Massey talks about how he would like to be remembered

DASession

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DATape

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DAStory

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DATitle
William Massey describes his current research in decision-making, at Princeton University
William Massey describes his decision to work at Bell Labs and explains the queueing theory
Transcript
So, now you continued to do research at a higher level here [Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey] according to all the paper citations I have on you in this album. I'm not sure it's not comprehensive. But can you just kind of summarize what your research has been here?$$Well, here it was getting into--well, moving over from the world of--well, at Bell Labs [New Jersey], they were called queueing theory performance modeling. So, what I call modeling is that, sort of the deliverable for a model is a forecast, you know. So a good model gives you--enables you to predict what goes on with the actual system. So I didn't do a lot of that. As I got to Princeton, I started moving into the area of decision-making. So, now the deliverable is, instead of a forecast, the deliverable is a policy. And so--and then for communications, there seems to be three different natural types of, well, areas we would develop decision-making policies, and just for alliteration sake since, you know, performance begins with the letter P, these three I called--well, first I just thought there were two, you know, provisioning and pricing. And so, now, if you're not obsessed with using the letter P, then provisioning; another way of saying provisioning will be design, you know; having just enough resources to make your customers happy. Pricing is--would be sort of like control, you know; how to--you use prices and mechanism to control the demand for the services, and then, you know, this gives you a way of--well, you have two things where, on one hand you want to maximum your profit, but on the other hand you don't want to violate the constraints of creating bad service. So you want to keep congestion constrained to be no higher than this level. So what's fun about, you know, being in an executive setting and having Ph.D. students, so you're, you know--so this is kind of the setting I gave to Robert [Hampshire; Massey's student who is now on the faculty of the School of Public Policy and Information Sciences at Heinz College, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania] and I kind of had this nice picture, you know, of performance and then--performance for modeling, but then for issues of decision-making, the two Ps, you know, pricing, provisioning. Then a few months into it, he comes back to me and says, "Shouldn't there be a third P here?" "What do you mean?" "Well, I think there should be one on--but--well, later we were going to call it "prioritization." And you only think of that when you have multiple classes of customers. So you don't assume all the class--customers are the same. You know, they have different needs, they have--they can afford different levels of service; and so, how do you allocate these resources. What's the fairest way to allocate these resources among the different classes of customers? You know, so that's another issue, you know, paper we're still--what we developed, we have the paper but that's--one of my outstanding papers we need to finish up and write up and kick out the door. But we got some from out of the thesis, you know; through collaboration, we got some of the papers, you know, from it. And, so now what I'm doing with Jamal, is that we have these--well, it's an essential object that's called the dynamical system, which is the solution of ordinary differential equations. In the twenty-first century, thanks to the computers, these are easing things to solve. So, if you can formulate some more complicated system in terms of dynamical systems, you almost feel you have a closed form solution. And we used--with Robert I used this to approximate average behavior of these random systems. And then we would control that average behavior, so we'll see average profit through the average revenue. And so what's the strategy that optimizes that? But now, when you look at more stochastic systems--well, I have colleagues who were in finance. They worry a lot about decisions under risk. Because things aren't completely deterministic. There's a certain randomness involved. So there's a risk that occurs. But how do you maximize in the face of that type of risk? And so, it turns out you got to understand things like the variance standard deviation, and it turns out the formulas, we have to approximate those; (unclear) approximate those aren't quite as good as the ones that approximate the mean. So with Jamal, his thesis is developing new techniques. I guess he would say it's involving stuff like skewness approximation, cumulate moments; and give better estimates of the variants. So we could extend this sort of decision-making to, you know, deal with more uncertainty. You know, like, you want to maximize your profit, but you only want to take this level of risk. You know, how do you, you know, how do you do that? And then, now I have a most recent student, Jerome--major move I'm making now is that, up to now, everything has been related to communication, communication services; but I found writing up this, you know, in the act of writing up these papers I've done with Robert or, you know, having do up his thesis, I just realized that, when you look at communication services--okay, so--and, of course, when you're no longer working for a phone company, you know, you feel free to thinking about things outside of telephony. But what's communication services from a business perspective? It's sort of the leasing of shared resources. You know, with your cell phone. You don't buy a radio channel. You know, in effect, you're paying for the leasing of it through the rate of your conversation. And so, that's what we're studying in general, so like Robert is in a department of--I guess it's the School of Public Policy and Management [Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania]. And, well, once I made this discovery, I was happy, you know, so I was telling Robert, you know, "You'll be happy to know that a set of tools--," since he's an expert in, you know, he trained to be an expert in queueing theory, "--a set of tools that help you study, you know, the leasing of shared resources, you know, may come in, you know, handy when you're looking at issues of public policy." And so, he's looked at them and applied to areas of transportation. Now, recently, what I've been doing is, a new area a lot of people in operations and research are getting excited by is health care, you know, because, like, in health care, you don't--you go to the hospital, you don't buy a hospital bed; you lease it for the duration of your stay. And then you have a lot more issues of, you know, coordination of different types of resources. So you have this whole elaborate choreograph of resources that all come to bear on your specific, you know, issue. And so, there's a lot of--there's a lot of room for queueing analysis, you know, there, because the problems are a lot more complex than--a lot of problems that's on the communication systems.$$Okay.$Okay. So 1981 when you finished Stanford [University, Palo Alto, California], did you have any doubt that you were going to be working for Bell Labs [New Jersey]? (laughs)$$Oh, no doubt.$$All right.$$Because it just seemed like such a, you know, a congenial environment. Also, I just got a chance to work on exciting problems, because I found that by focusing on this applied area looking at specific time varying queue, I as address the issues--the general theory of Markov processes didn't seem to be (touch it?).$$Okay. So you contributed something new to the field of mathematics--$$Yeah.$$--over in this dissertation?$$Oh, yeah. Just studying--there was a classic queueing model with people who are very familiar with constant rates. And so I developed the sort of approximate or asymptotic theory when you had time-varying rates. And then from this new insight I could show--well, basically show that you could, if you analyze things the old way, you might make a mistake a come in, you know, come with a misleading conclusion. Because you think of--well, okay. So you think of--well, we'll make it simple; where the service rate is constant, so that doesn't change; you just have (unclear) rate. And you think of it, it's like water coming to a bucket at a certain rate, and it goes out--let's make it easy; it goes out at a unit rate. It drains in unit rate, water comes in, okay. Now, if the water rate is always less than the unit rate, then the bucket never fills up. And that's kind of like steady-state behavior. But if the water, incoming rate, exceeds the draining rate, then the bucket will fill up; and then over time, it'll just go all the way up to infinity. So that's sort of the static situation. But what happens if the input rate changes in time? Well, what will happen is that, it may start off being less than the unit rate but later it becomes higher; but later it'll drop back down. And so, the actual level goes up, but it's not going to go all the way up to infinity, it's going to come back down. So the big question is: When does it come back down to zero? And people used to think, Well, this is what's going to happen when the input rate--the first time the input rate is less than the draining rate. Of course, if you try that, you'll realize that's not true. You know, it's sort of--kind of like turning on the bathtub and the water is coming in faster than the draining rate. The minute you turn off the faucet, you know, the water level doesn't drop to zero immediately; it's going to take some time. And so what I showed is that, to talk about stay-state behavior, you have to wait until the time it takes for that part to drain out. And then what I was really surprised about, this is just a couple years ago, I didn't realize that this phenomenon really describes what's been going on with our economy. You know, when people say, you know, after this recession that they--we started a "recovery," the recovery that didn't feel like a recovery? What does that mean? Well, what economists call a recovery is like when you suddenly turn off the faucet and the, you know, the rate at which jobs are disappearing becomes smaller than the rate at which jobs are being created (coughs). That's called a recovery. But this backlog of unemployed people, that doesn't suddenly disappear. So economists may say, when the input rate is less than the draining rate, you know, in terms of, you know, lost jobs, that's a recovery. But everyday people are not going to feel like it's a recovery until, you know, that level of water drops back down to zero. And that's kind of where we are right now. You know, we're getting closer, but we're waiting for that to happen.$$Okay. Okay.

Johnny Houston

Mathematician, education administrator, and research director Johnny L. Houston was born on November 19, 1941 in Sandersville, Georgia to parents Bobby Lee Harris and Catherine Houston Vinson. After graduating from Ballard Hudson High School in Macon, Georgia, Houston attended Morehouse College and graduated in 1964 with his B.A. degree in mathematics. Houston received his M.S. degree in mathematics from Atlanta University (Clark Atlanta University) in 1966 and then travelled to Paris, France to study at the Universite de Strasbourg. In 1974, Houston graduated with his Ph.D. degree in mathematics from Purdue University.

In 1975, Houston was appointed as the chair of the Atlanta University Math and Computer Science Department. During a leave period, he served as the Calloway Professor of Computer Science at Fort Valley State University. In 1984, Houston became the vice chancellor of academic affairs and professor of math and computer science at Elizabeth City State University (ECSU). He was named senior research professor in the ECSU Department of Mathematics and Computer Science in 1988. Throughout his career, Houston has held several positions as a specialist in mathematics and computer science, including serving as a member National Institute of Health’s MARC Committee from 1980to 1986, a member of the Board of Governors of the Mathematical Association of America from 1992 to 1995, and as a member of the Human Resource Advisory Group for the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute from1993 to1998. In 1996, Houston established the Computational Science and Scientific Visualization (CSSV) Center at ECSU; and, in 2002, he established the African Studies (TLMP) at ECSU. Houston served as the director of both programs until 2008. Houston is a co-founder of the National Association of Mathematicians, Inc. (NAM), and served as NAM’s executive secretary from 1975 until 2000. Houston published The History of NAM, the First 30 Years; 1969-1999 in 2002 and is the author of more than forty books and articles on the science, mathematics, and education

Houston has received several awards and honors, including the University Of North Carolina Board Of Governors Teaching Excellence Award in 1996, NAM’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 1999, and the Purdue University BCC Pioneer Award in 2009. Houston has been included American Men and Women of Science, Who’s Who Among Black Americans, Who’s Who in America, and the World Directory of Mathematicians. In 2010, Houston was named professor emeritus at Elizabeth City State University after twenty-six years of service.

Houston is married to Virginia Lawrence. They have two daughters: Mave Talibra and Kaiulani Michelle.

Mathematician, education administrator, and research director Johnny L. Houston was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 25, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.046

Sex

Male

Interview Date

2/25/2013

Last Name

Houston

Maker Category
Middle Name

L.

Occupation
Schools

Universite de Strasbourg

University of Georgia

Clark Atlanta University

Morehouse College

Ballard Hudson High School

Search Occupation Category
Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Day,s Evenings, and Weekends by pre-arrangment

First Name

Johnny

Birth City, State, Country

Sandersville

HM ID

HOU03

Speakers Bureau Preferred Audience

Any

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

Yes - Expenses plus any expression of appreciation

Favorite Season

Fall, Spring

State

Georgia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Mountains, Water

Favorite Quote

Life Has Been Very Kind To Me And I Thank God For It.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

North Carolina

Birth Date

11/19/1941

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Charlotte

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Vegetables

Short Description

Mathematician Johnny Houston (1941 - ) was the founder of the Computational Science and Scientific Visualization Center and the African Studies Program (TLMP) at Elizabeth City State University, and co-founder of the National Association of Mathematicians, Inc. (NAM).

Employment

Elizabeth City State University

Fort Valley State University

Atlanta University

Savannah State University

Stillman College

E.E. Smith High School

Favorite Color

Gray

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Johnny Houston's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Johnny Houston lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Johnny Houston talks about his mother and his grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Johnny Houston talks about growing up in the deep South

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Johnny Houston talks about his aunts' perception of Elijah Muhammad

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Johnny Houston talks about his mother's education and career

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Johnny Houston talks about his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Johnny Houston talks about his father's education

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Johnny Houston talks about his relationship with his father

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Johnny Houston talks about how his parents met and his father's career in the funeral business

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Johnny Houston talks about his grandmother's influence on him

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Johnny Houston talks about his grandmother, her influence in the community, and her employment

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Johnny Houston describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Johnny Houston talks about his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Johnny Houston talks about the black communities in Sandersville, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Johnny Houston talks about his interest in how things work and describes living in poverty during his early childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Johnny Houston talks about his experience in elementary school

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Johnny Houston talks about his passion for learning and his elementary teachers' perceptions of him

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Johnny Houston talks about his uncle's service in World War II and the racial tensions of growing up in the South

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Johnny Houston talks about his involvement in Springfield Baptist Church while growing up

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Johnny Houston talks about the impact of his grandmother's death

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Johnny Houston talks about his childhood jobs

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Johnny Houston talks about his sister's death, his family's move to Macon, Georgia, and living in the projects

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Johnny Houston talks about the demographics of the projects of Macon, Georgia, and his education

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Johnny Houston talks about his junior high school science teacher

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Johnny Houston talks about his high school English teachers and the importance of communication skills

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Johnny Houston talks about his science and math instruction in high school

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Johnny Houston talks about his high school math teacher and his math instruction

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Johnny Houston talks about his extracurricular activities and working during high school

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Johnny Houston talks about graduating from high school, his decision to attend Morehouse College, and his financial hardships there

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Johnny Houston talks about his financial hardships and his quest for work in Hot Springs, Virginia

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Johnny Houston talks about his experience working at The Homestead luxury resort in Hot Springs, Virginia

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Johnny Houston talks about his favorite vacation destination, Hot Springs, Virginia

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Johnny Houston talks about his interest in math and science and his chemistry professor at Morehouse College, Henry C. McBay

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Johnny Houston talks about his professors, Claude B. Dansby and Henry C. McBay, at Morehouse College

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Johnny Houston talks about his professors at Morehouse College

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Johnny Houston talks about Benjamin Mays - part one

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Johnny Houston talks about Benjamin Mays - part two

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Johnny Houston talks about Shirley McBay

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Johnny Houston talks about his memories of the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Johnny Houston talks about graduating from Morehouse College and his experience teaching high school mathematics in Fayetteville, North Carolina

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Johnny Houston talks about the professors at Atlanta University Complex, including Abdulalim Shabazz

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Johnny Houston talks about his thesis advisor, Lloyd Williams, and the area of topology in mathematics

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Johnny Houston talks about his decision to study at the University of Strasbourg in France

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Johnny Houston talks about learning French and his experience in France

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Johnny Houston talks about learning French and his travels within the United States

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Johnny Houston talks about his studies and his experience at the University of Strasbourg

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Johnny Houston talks about his travels through Europe

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Johnny Houston talks about his decision to teach at Stillman College and his experience there

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Johnny Houston describes his first exposure to computers, when he attended an IBM workshop to learn to program in Fortran

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Johnny Houston talks about his memories of Martin Luther King, Jr. and his assassination in 1968

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Johnny Houston describes his experience at the Summer Institute for College Teachers of Math at the University of Georgia

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Johnny Houston describes his decision to pursue his Ph.D. degree at Purdue University, and talks about other African Americans who studied there

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Johnny Houston talks about his wife, Virginia Lawrence, whom he married in 1969

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Johnny Houston talks about the establishment of the National Association of Mathematicians (NAM) in 1969, and the reasons for its conception

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Johnny Houston describes the objectives of the National Association of Mathematicians (NAM), and the reasons for its conception

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Johnny Houston talks about his doctoral advisor, Eugene Schenkman, and his experience as a doctoral student at Purdue University - part one

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Johnny Houston talks about his doctoral advisor, Eugene Schenkman, and his experience as a doctoral student at Purdue University - part one

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Johnny Houston describes his doctoral dissertation, titled, 'On the Theory of Fitting Classes in Certain Locally Finite Groups'

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Johnny Houston discusses the impact of his doctoral dissertation, titled 'On the Theory of Fitting Classes in Certain Locally Finite Groups'

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Johnny Houston talks about how pure mathematics is the forerunner of applied mathematics

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Johnny Houston talks about his graduation from Purdue University

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Johnny Houston talks about teaching mathematics at the Krannert School of Industrial Management at Purdue University

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Johnny Houston describes himself as a computational scientist

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Johnny Houston talks about his decision to become the head of the mathematics department at Atlanta University

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Johnny Houston talks about becoming the National Secretary of the National Association of Mathematicians (NAM) in 1975

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Johnny Houston talks about training faculty at HBCUs to use computers in the 1970s

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Johnny Houston describes his experience at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colorado

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Johnny Houston describes his experience at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in 1979

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Johnny Houston talks about becoming the Fuller E. Callaway Professor of Computer Science at Fort Valley State University in 1981

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Johnny Houston talks about his appointment as the vice chancellor of academic affairs at Elizabeth City State University

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Johnny Houston describes the history of Elizabeth City State University

Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Johnny Houston describes his contribution towards the computerization of Elizabeth City State University

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Johnny Houston talks about his publications on the general applications of mathematics

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Johnny Houston describes the growing application of mathematics and computer science in scientific research

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Johnny Houston talks about the ease of scientific collaboration in the modern age of computerization

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Johnny Houston describes how he became involved in the President's Africa Education Initiative: Sub-Saharan Africa Textbooks Project

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Johnny Houston describes his contribution towards the President's Africa Education Initiative: Sub-Saharan Africa Textbooks Project

Tape: 10 Story: 6 - Johnny Houston describes his collaboration with the University of Cheikh Anta Diop while working on the Sub-Saharan Africa Textbooks Project

Tape: 10 Story: 7 - Johnny Houston describes the two different phases of the Sub-Saharan Africa Textbooks Project in Senegal

Tape: 11 Story: 1 - Johnny Houston talks about teaching students to think critically to solve problems in mathematics - part one

Tape: 11 Story: 2 - Johnny Houston talks about teaching students to think critically to solve problems in mathematics - part two

Tape: 11 Story: 3 - Johnny Houston talks about the scientific contributions of Benjamin Banneker

Tape: 11 Story: 4 - Johnny Houston talks about Elbert Frank Cox, who was the first African American to earn a Ph.D. degree in mathematics

Tape: 11 Story: 5 - Johnny Houston talks about Euphemia Lofton Haynes, Evelyn Boyd Granville and Marjorie Lee Brown

Tape: 11 Story: 6 - Johnny Houston talks about mathematician, J. Ernest Wilkins

Tape: 11 Story: 7 - Johnny Houston talks about the accomplishments of mathematician, David Blackwell

Tape: 11 Story: 8 - Johnny Houston talks about African American pioneers in mathematics, and the current occupational trends amongst African American mathematicians

Tape: 12 Story: 1 - Johnny Houston describes his contributions to the field of mathematics, and shares his advice for aspiring mathematicians

Tape: 12 Story: 2 - Johnny Houston reflects upon his choices

Tape: 12 Story: 3 - Johnny Houston describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 12 Story: 4 - Johnny Houston talks about the Black Culture Center at Purdue University and the African Studies Program at Elizabeth City State University

Tape: 12 Story: 5 - Johnny Houston talks about his family

Tape: 12 Story: 6 - Johnny Houston talks about how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$9

DAStory

7$3

DATitle
Johnny Houston talks about his interest in math and science and his chemistry professor at Morehouse College, Henry C. McBay
Johnny Houston describes his experience at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colorado
Transcript
Now, to Morehouse [College] to talk about the academics. Now did you decide on a major as a freshman?$$When I went to Morehouse as a freshman, I knew I had an analytical mind; I knew I had a curious mind and I told you I had had these two teachers who had mentored me in English in high school. And something annoyed me about them; they would tell me how to do things correctly and why to do it, and then I would find myself doing it and then they--"No, no, you can't do it at this point." I say "Why not?" They say "Because this is the exception to the rule; this is when the rule doesn't apply." (Unclear) "Oh no, this is the exception to"--I say "Well, if it's a rule, it should be a rule." And so I was not--and then in the social sciences, they were talking theories; this is such-and-such-a theory; this is this. I say "Wait a minute, either something is or it isn't." So I liked analytical things and the things that were pretty much straight forward, so I decided the freshman year when I went to Morehouse that I'm sure I'm gonna major in math or science because those--two and two is gonna be four, don't care what you do with it; they're not gonna change. As Mr. Thomas say, "If you heed this compound, this is gonna happen; it's not gonna be these exceptions they keep talking about." So I went there with the understanding that I would either major in mathematics or science because of my very nature, the nature of my mind and what I was most comfortable with. And so I took chemistry my first year there from a professor named Henry C. McBay, perhaps the most renowned African American chemist that we've had in the United States. And he really--he was the most exciting mentor I have had in college; teacher and scholar, he excited me; I took his class, general chemistry, 8:00 in the morning the first year I went to Morehouse. He had a lecture room with 125 seats in it and I would go there and I would sit up near the front; I wanted to hear and learn everything he had to teach. He was a fantastic teacher, great scholar, and he made chemistry come alive, and he excited me; I mean he excited me so much--and the other thing that made me excited was you knew he was a chemist. In the entire--I took two semesters of chemistry from him during my first year at Morehouse, and I only remember him bringing a note or a book to class only once. He was totally prepared mentally with all the details, and he went in there and he could teach chemistry; he knew chemistry and he could teach it. Now there were things in the room like we call the chart of elements [periodic table] and different things he would point to from time to time to refer, but notes he didn't bring. And he had boards that you--you could write on the board and then you could push it up in the air and then pull the other board down and write on it, and then over the other side it had--so we were trying to keep up with him with his writing. But he was a fantastic and inspiring teacher, and he is perhaps the greatest teacher that I have ever had; he inspired me to want to do science and to want to do it well, and I say if I ever taught, I wanted to be like Henry C. McBay.$Now, you did some work with the National Center for Atmospheric Research [NCAR], Boulder [Colorado] right?$$Yes. The idea was and this is one of the things I can never forget my grandmother [Ruth Houston] and mother [Catherine Houston Vinson] for this, they say you learn as much as you can and so what--I talked to some of the professionals--again NAM [National Association of Mathematicians] helped me on this. We were closed out. When I say we, African American mathematicians and scholars were closed out from a lot of the big research labs, a lot of things. But in the '70s [1970s] they start opening up and start letting blacks come out there for internships, or activities during the summer. And so we said, hey we got to take advantage of these things to learn. And they saw that as a forerunner for being able to hire them as full-time employees and also for us to start introducing the students to what they were doing. So, I went out there to Boulder, Colorado and there is something called NOOA, N-O-O-A. It was the National Center for Atmospheric Research, it's on the side of a mountain and it's fantastic. Every morning, five days a week, I had to get up that mountain to that and I had a window in my office and I could look over the mountains. And it was beautiful. In fact, sometime during the lunch hour we would climb some of the smaller cliffs out there--we called them flat irons--just for the heck of it. But that was a fantastic experience because that's when I really got into computer science. They had the first super computer I ever ran into. A large computer was the forerunner to the big super computer and they allowed us to work on it. And you talking about really crunching numbers and we were looking at data they were getting from the atmosphere. And one of the problems they wanted me to work on was unequally spaced data. It was easy to work on data that end up at exact spaces apart, but they found out then in the atmosphere it wasn't like you draw it on the board in the classroom. You had data that was unequally spaced and so the question is--to give an example, if you had one piece of data right here, another piece here, another piece there that was the same distance, well you always knew what was in the middle; it was half the distance between. But what if you got data where one was here then the next piece was there then the next jumped here, how did you handle that data because we needed to know the previous data in order to make predictions about the one up front. And so that was a big problem, how did you handle unequally spaced data. And that was a good computational science problem that I started working on there.$$Okay. Now, also this is at the National Center for Atmospheric Research? And so they had a super computer--this is your first experience with one, what was--can you describe what a super computer was like in '76 [1976]?$$What a super computer was like in '76, I hate to say, but it was like the desktop computers today.$$In terms of the power?$$Yeah. I mean, see in '76 [1976], the only thing that could give--if you had a five hundred and eighty megabytes or if you had one billion gigabytes, only super computers do that. Now you can get a gigabyte on your laptop but back then that was big news; I mean, that was speed. People talk, well wow, you were getting--I don't know whether you ever saw it but the computers back at that time people were talking about thirty-two, thirty-two megabytes or sixty-four, you were on the low computers they had. But you got five hundred and the gigabyte you are the super computer thing.$$Okay.

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

USA

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

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

3$3

DATitle
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.

Donald Frank St. Mary

Mathematician and academic administrator Donald Frank St. Mary was born on July 22, 1940 in Lake Charles Louisiana. He attended McNeese State College (Louisiana) as an undergraduate and completed his B.S. degree in mathematics in 1962. St. Mary went on to earn his M.A. degree in mathematics from the University of Kansas in 1964 and his Ph.D. degree from the University of Nebraska in 1968. As a graduate Ph.D. student he worked as an instructor at the University of Nebraska, and then at Iowa State University.

In 1968, St. Mary was hired by University of Massachusetts, Amherst (UMASS) as an assistant professor in the physics department. His early efforts to build the department and attract research funding to the university resulted in a promotion to associate professor in 1975 and subsequently to full professor in 1983. St. Mary also worked closely to advance the education of minority students. Between 1969 and 1974, he implemented an arithmetic skills course that helped build students’ knowledge of computational analysis. During the summers between 1975 and 1981, he developed a two-week course, “What is Calculus About?” for sophomore and junior level high school students. When the university was in session he directed the Minority Engineering Program which assisted students in the academic support program with their calculus coursework. In 1992, he created and organized the Science Enrichment Program at the University of Massachusetts. The five-week residential program was designed to enrich minority high school student’s’ experiences with science curricula in a college environment.

In 1994, St. Mary was selected by faculty in the department of mathematics and statistics at UMASS to be its principal academic leader with executive responsibility for all aspects of the department, and after receiving approval from from Dean of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics he was appointed department head. During his career, St. Mary was awarded research grants totaling $600,000 from the National Science Foundation and the Office of Naval Research. He was awarded institutional grants, all in some manner to support minority students, totaling $7 million from the NSF and the National Cancer Institute. From 1968 to 2002, St. Mary served on the Board of Directors for the Committee for the Collegiate Education of Blacks and Other Minority Students, holding various offices including vice chairman and chairman.

St. Mary is internationally renowned for his research in Computational Ocean Acoustics. He has been invited to lecture in Accra, Ghana, Honolulu, Hawaii, and Dublin, Ireland. St. Mary has authored, co-authored, and edited scholarly works for distinguished publications such as Proceedings of the American Mathematical Society, Journal of Computational Physics, and Journal of the American Acoustical Society.

Donald Frank St. Mary was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on October 8, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.214

Sex

Male

Interview Date

10/8/2012

Last Name

St. Mary

Middle Name

Frank

Schools

University of Nebraska-Omaha

University of Kansas

McNeese State College

Sacred Heart High School

Sacred Heart / Saint Katharine Drexel School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Donald

Birth City, State, Country

Lake Charles

HM ID

STM01

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Louisiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

New York, New York, San Francisco, California, Washington, D.C.

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Massachusetts

Birth Date

7/22/1940

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Amherst

Country

USA

Favorite Food

All Food

Short Description

Mathematician and academic administrator Donald Frank St. Mary (1940 - )

Employment

University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Iowa State University

University of Nebraska

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
0,0:25090,250:33970,317:44020,390:45065,412:69376,628:71960,663:85945,913:86481,924:101578,1109:104714,1148:109317,1195:114520,1202:114975,1208:128448,1330:147456,1614:150966,1680:163354,1775:169522,1872:169991,1880:171063,1898:172537,1920:175284,1971:175753,1980:182778,2068:183462,2082:187566,2128:227088,2600:227376,2608:238824,2749:239208,2757:243456,2782:246162,2835:255234,2919:269820,3034:270420,3043:271095,3053:272745,3080:274530,3088$0,0:1343,13:8295,126:10744,161:11376,173:11929,181:12719,192:29710,207:44429,317:50156,438:53061,475:53393,480:60652,519:62172,549:62628,557:63008,563:63540,572:66352,651:66960,661:67264,666:67568,671:70380,738:71824,762:86873,830:87359,838:87764,844:88169,850:97534,950:97822,955:99550,978:100342,990:104830,1004:106062,1018:106846,1027:112226,1092:112898,1102:118966,1135:119782,1144:122660,1165:123380,1174:125900,1212:127790,1244:128510,1253:135030,1282:138315,1320:141465,1336:141725,1341:142115,1348:143480,1376:143740,1381:147315,1449:149720,1486:151020,1514:155510,1522:156800,1542:157144,1547:160670,1597:161014,1602:161530,1609:162304,1634:162648,1639:164196,1665:171640,1704:175502,1751:177816,1797:183444,1866:184200,1876:185376,1901:185712,1906:186216,1913:190938,2016:195290,2077:195562,2082:195834,2087:196786,2105:197126,2111:198010,2131:198690,2140:199778,2164:201002,2184:201274,2189:201682,2196:202226,2209:217920,2270:218208,2275:219000,2300:234248,2474:234836,2481:237188,2520:242382,2600:252608,2648:257597,2708:257982,2714:263295,2826:264142,2844:273610,2924:274338,2932:278012,2964:278477,2970:279221,2980:279965,2989:280988,3002:306130,3224:309180,3271
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Donald St. Mary's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Donald St. Mary lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Donald St. Mary describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Donald St. Mary describes his father's family background

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Donald St. Mary talks about his Creole ancestry

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Donald St. Mary talks about his paternal grandparents

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Donald St. Mary describes his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Donald St. Mary describes his childhood neighborhood and his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Donald St. Mary describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Donald St. Mary describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Donald St. Mary talks about his elementary school experience

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Donald St. Mary talks about his interest in math

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Donald St. Mary talks about his childhood jobs and career aspirations

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Donald St. Mary talks about his high school experience and involvement in sports

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Donald St. Mary talks about his childhood friends

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Donald St. Mary talks about his participation in Civil Rights organizations

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Donald St. Mary reflects on his high school experience

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Donald St. Mary talks about his decision to attend McNeese State College

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Donald St. Mary talks about his experience at McNeese State College

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Donald St. Mary talks about meeting his wife

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Donald St. Mary talks about the social climate of McNeese State College

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Donald St. Mary talks about his studies at McNeese State College

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Donald St. Mary talks about his college mentors and his decision to attend the University of Kansas

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Donald St. Mary talks about his experience at the University of Kansas

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Donald St. Mary talks about his studies at the University of Kansas

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Donald St. Mary talks about his professors at the University of Kansas and his teaching philosophy

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Donald St. Mary talks about his interest in computer-based mathematics and his decision to leave the University of Kansas

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Donald St. Mary talks about his studies and his mentor at the University of Nebraska

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Donald St. Mary describes his dissertation with differential equations

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Donald St. Mary talks about how he was appointed to the faculty at the University of Massachusetts

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Donald St. Mary talks about his peers and his mathematical discovery

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Donald St. Mary talks about his experience at the University of Massachusetts

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Donald St. Mary talks about his research and teaching

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Donald St. Mary talks about perceptions of mathematicians

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Donald St. Mary talks about the "What is Calculus About?" summer program

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Donald St. Mary talks about his research and grants

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Donald St. Mary talks about the academy's shift towards a focus on teaching

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Donald St. Mary talks about his transition into computer-based mathematics

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Donald St. Mary describes his research on underwater wave propagation

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Donald St. Mary talks about his excitement for his research

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Donald St. Mary talks about his use of super computers

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Donald St. Mary talks about the Housing Allowance Project

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Donald St. Mary talks about being appointed chair of the math department

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Donald St. Mary talks about the Science Enrichment Program

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Donald St. Mary talks about David Blackwell and being honored by the National Association of Mathematics

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Donald St. Mary talks about black mathematicians

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Donald St. Mary talks about his teaching philosophy

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Donald St. Mary talks about his grant projects

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Donald St. Mary talks about his retirement from research

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Donald St. Mary talks about his community activities

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Donald St. Mary talks about his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Donald St. Mary talks about his draft card

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Donald St. Mary reflects on his career

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Donald St. Mary reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Donald St. Mary talks about his family

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Donald St. Mary talks about how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Donald St. Mary describes his photos

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Donald St. Mary describes his photos

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Donald St. Mary talks about his interest in computer-based mathematics and his decision to leave the University of Kansas
Donald St. Mary talks about the Science Enrichment Program
Transcript
I can tell you a little more about that. I was interested in computers. Now, eventually, my career moved into computers, computer-based mathematics. But way back then, computers were a new thing. So I took the only two computer-based mathematics courses they had in the department. This was so new. I took them because I wanted to go into computer mathematics. Well, I programmed at that point one of the earliest computers, an IBM 650. You use punch cards on this computer. You put your stack of cards on it. I could sit at the console and see what command it was executing. I could stop it. Now, a modern computer executes millions of commands in a second, all right. So (laughter), but I could stop the machine, and it would show me which command it was working on. Okay, the faculty member, he was the only one who did computer mathematics, he ran the computer facility, the one I'm telling you about, the research computer stuff. You put your machines on there, your cards on the card reader. He taught me a whole year's course. I wanted to be in this area. It is the area I eventually came to many, many years later. But I decided I could not work with him. He was too busy. After having him for a year, two whole semesters in a graduate-level course and seeing him, you know, three days a week, I knew that wasn't gonna work, even though he knew I was interested. He told me he would like for me to stay at the University of Kansas. He said he would support me. I decided not to stay because I knew I was gonna have trouble. He was extremely busy. He, he didn't grade our homework papers himself. He had a teaching assistant grading the papers. That was fine, but I knew I could not complete a PhD which is a major, major undertaking under somebody who could barely give me the time of day (laughter). That wasn't gonna work. And so I started looking for other institutions. First, institutions that had computer-based mathematics. That was almost non-existent in '62' [1962] and '63' [1963]. But I ended up transferring to the University of Nebraska.$$Now, had you received your Masters already at--$$It turns out I hadn't, but I completed it that fall.$$Okay.$$I hadn't, you had to finish your Masters thesis, and have an oral exam on your Masters thesis. So those things weren't done. They were done in the fall when I was officially then, a student at the University of Nebraska. But my MA degree came from the University of Kansas. And I completed my dissertation and had my oral exam. And so now, I'm at the University of Nebraska, but my focus has been in analysis, all right, the, my dissertation is in one of the branches of analysis, Integration. The computer mathematics that I was studying, it's in analysis. And so it was natural, when I got to the University of Nebraska to focus on analysis. Analysis there focused on differential equations. So I started taking advanced differential equations courses, and any--several of them, several different kinds. And so I was a teaching assistant there. I taught freshmen, largely.$Yes, now, we neglected to go over the, to talk about the SEP Program. That started in '92' [1992], National Cancer Institute awards you a five-year, $3 million grant for a science enrichment program.$$Yes, that was a phenomenal thing. SEP stands for Science Enrichment Program. The goal is to try to move minority students and underserved students, so students who may not be a minority, but be in a community where their--communities where their development would not be very robust. Enter the sciences. Now, the National Cancer Institute, of course, would like for them to be biological scientists. But I didn't care about that (laughter). I wanted to move them into the sciences. You have to be a scientist before you can be a biological scientist at some level in any case. And so I designed this program. It brings rising, ninth grade students from all over New England and Upstate New York, as far away as Buffalo and all of that, to this campus for a five-week residential program. And there are six areas of study that are studied extensively. Each area of study, the six areas are biology, chemistry, mathematics, computer science, physics and language arts, okay. So you have five science areas and one non-science area, language arts. These were structured courses. Each course was taught by a professor and a high school teacher. The professor may come from here or I may have gotten him from other institution, but they were professorial status, and I told these professors, to design courses that are not in the high school curriculum. Don't want anything that's in high school that they're gonna learn next year. Said, you design a course for, for students that they can understand and learn from, but I want it to be serious, and it needs to--if you can bring in research, bring it. And they did miraculously. I was, I was really impressed with the faculty and the high school teachers. They worked hand-in-glove. They designed the courses. Usually, the professor designed the course before the high school teacher got here. I found the best high school teachers I could find anywhere, from Chicago, from wherever. I had a fantastic chemistry high school teacher from Chicago. And, now, had a full residential staff, counselors that worked with the students directly. I had senior staff, residents' hall staff and a full program, all activities, all day were planned. And it was enormously successful.$$Were the students from the Boston area or from Springfield or, you know, cities in Massachusetts mainly or--$$No, we couldn't do that. We certainly had some from those areas, those large geographical areas. But because this, we were supposed to be covering a broad geographical area. So we definitely had students from those (unclear), from Springfield, from Hartford, but we also had students from Maine, from Upstate New York, from Buffalo, as I mentioned. And so it was largely populated by minority students, black students, Hispanic students and some American Indian students. But I just considered it enormously successful. Everybody who interacted with it just thought it was phenomenally good.$$How many years did you do this?$$We ran it five years or was it six years? (Laughter) Am I having a senior moment?