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Making Black Scientists

Making Black Scientists

A Call to Action

Marybeth Gasman, Thai-Huy Nguyen

ISBN 9780674916586

Publication date: 08/13/2019

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Americans have access to some of the best science education in the world, but too often black students are excluded from these opportunities. This essential book by leading voices in the field of education reform offers an inspiring vision of how America’s universities can guide a new generation of African Americans to success in science.

Educators, research scientists, and college administrators have all called for a new commitment to diversity in the sciences, but most universities struggle to truly support black students in these fields. Historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) are different, though. Marybeth Gasman, widely celebrated as an education-reform visionary, and Thai-Huy Nguyen show that many HBCUs have proven adept at helping their students achieve in the sciences. There is a lot we can learn from these exemplary schools.

Gasman and Nguyen explore ten innovative schools that have increased the number of black students studying science and improved those students’ performance. Educators on these campuses have a keen sense of their students’ backgrounds and circumstances, familiarity that helps their science departments avoid the high rates of attrition that plague departments elsewhere. The most effective science programs at HBCUs emphasize teaching when considering whom to hire and promote, encourage students to collaborate rather than compete, and offer more opportunities for black students to find role models among both professors and peers.

Making Black Scientists reveals the secrets to these institutions’ striking successes and shows how other colleges and universities can follow their lead. The result is a bold new agenda for institutions that want to better serve African American students.


  • In order for our nation to compete in the twenty-first century, everyone with an interest in pursuing a career in STEM must have the fullest possible opportunity to receive a high-quality education. Gasman and Nguyen reveal the practices and policies that have been proven to be successful in guiding African American students to success in STEM education. It is imperative that academic institutional leaders and faculty take their recommendations seriously.

    —John Brooks Slaughter, University of Southern California


  • Marybeth Gasman is Judy and Howard Berkowitz Professor of Education at the University of Pennsylvania and author, with Clifton Conrad, of Educating a Diverse Nation (Harvard). She is a regular contributor to the New York Times, Washington Post, and Chronicle of Higher Education. Gasman was honored by the White House in 2015 and was selected in 2018 by Education Week as one of the ten most influential voices in education.
  • Thai-Huy Nguyen is Assistant Professor of Education at Seattle University and Senior Research Associate at the Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions. In 2017 he was selected as an Emerging Scholar by Diverse: Issues in Higher Education.

Book Details

  • 256 pages
  • 5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches
  • Harvard University Press