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The Education of Underrepresented Students in STEM: An Interview with Dr. Michael Summers

By Regina Stevens-Truss, Contributing Editor, Science and Social Justice, and Kalamazoo College students Virginia Greenberger, Amanda Bolles, and Rina Fujiwara

Now in its 26th year, the Meyerhoff Scholars Program at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) is a model for all to follow. This program has its humble beginnings in 1988 and was created as a means to provide financial assistance for the STEM education of African American male students. Today, the program boasts over 900 alumni, with over 300 students enrolled in graduate and professional programs. No other program can claim the successes of this program. President Freeman Hrabouski and Dr. Michael Summers, two major players in this program, can certainly take the credit for nurturing the achievements of many underrepresented scientists.

This past year, the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology presented Hrabowski and Summers with the annual Ruth Kirschstein Diversity in Science Award. This award was established in 2011 to “honor an outstanding scientist who has shown a strong commitment to the encouragement of under-represented minorities to enter the scientific enterprise and/or to the effective mentorship of those within it.” The award was presented to Dr. Summers at the society’s annual meeting in San Diego, CA on April 28 where Kalamazoo College students Virginia Greenberger, Amanda Bolles, and Rina Fujiwara had an opportunity to interview Dr. Summers and ask him about his motivation and life-long passion for the education of underrepresented students in STEM. Here is the interview with Dr. Michael Summers.