Georgia Tech Encourages African Americans to Attend Grad School

Marian Wright Edelman, Founder and President of the Children’s Defense Fund, Will Address Guests at Ecumenical Service Jan. 19

African American scientists and engineers who have earned a bachelor’s degree are less likely to go on to obtain a graduate-level degree than whites, Hispanics or Asians. According to the National Science Foundation, 55 percent of all scientists and engineers in the U.S. labor force did not seek an advanced degree after obtaining their bachelor’s. Black engineers and scientists accounted for a larger percentage – 66 percent – of those who don’t seek graduate-level degrees.

To counter this trend, the Georgia Institute of Technology has developed successful minority recruiting campaigns. Georgia Tech now awards more master’s and doctoral degrees to African American engineers than any other university in the nation, and ranks second in the number of degrees awarded to African American engineers at the bachelor’s level, according to Black Issues in Higher Education.

To encourage African Americans to pursue graduate degrees, Georgia Tech will host almost 300 of the country’s best and brightest black college students during FOCUS 2003, Jan. 16 - 19. This is the twelfth anniversary of the program, which is held annually during the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday.

FOCUS is designed to give undergraduate African Americans an opportunity to visit Georgia Tech, receive an overview of the graduate degree programs and participate in the holiday celebration. Additionally, the participants will hear from prominent African American leaders like Dixie Garr, vice president of Customer Success Engineering for Cisco Systems, Inc., and Calvin Mackie, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Tulane University and co-founder of Channel ZerO, an educational and motivational consulting company.

The FOCUS program will conclude with Georgia Tech’s twelfth annual King Week Ecumenical Service, with keynote speaker Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) and the first black woman admitted to the Mississippi Bar. The Ecumenical Service will be held Sunday, January 19, at 10 a.m. in Georgia Tech’s Ferst Center for the Arts, 349 Ferst Drive, and is open to the public.

Edelman has been an advocate of disadvantaged Americans for her entire professional career. Under her leadership, CDF has become the nation’s strongest voice for children and families. The mission of CDF is to “Leave No Child Behind” and to ensure every child a healthy start, a head start, a fair start, a safe start, and a moral start in life with the support of caring families and communities.