Keep diversity!

As an undergraduate and graduate student at Penn State (loved that school too much), I received 2 Bunton Waller scholarship and fellowship. The Bunton Waller scholars program were named in honor of Mildred Settle Bunton (1932), recognized as the first African American woman to graduate from Penn State, and Calvin Hoffman Waller (1904), believed to be Penn State’s first African American graduate. The scholarship is given to students who enhance the broad and diverse student population at Penn State. The Bunton-Waller Program attracted students from various backgrounds who have demonstrated academic potential and are eligible to attend Penn State.

Most of my friends through college and in life were Bunton Waller scholars. Imagine all of us living in the same dorm our freshman year in college. That was our experience in a predominantly white institution. The program allowed us to see ourselves and not get lost in the shuffle of what it means to be a racial and ethic minority. And we all thrived. When I look through the profiles of us, those I keep in touch with and I those I don’t, majority have doctoral degrees. It gives me chills to see the amount of doctors that came out of the program. One of my close friends from the program is an anchor woman at CBS Philly. Another group run Fortune 500 companies as top leaders, while some simply own their business. Such is the beauty of university programs that begin with diversity in mind. Not just in words but truly with efforts to train the next generation of scholars. I will be speaking about my experience as a diverse scholar next week for National Institutes of Health and if you can, do register to join us here.

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