All Articles Tagged "University of Michigan"
Top Graduate: University of Michigan Celebrates The First African-American Woman to Earn Ph.D. in Computer Science
Kyla McMullen isn’t merely graduating from the University at Michigan. She is actually the first African-American woman Ph.D. graduate in computer science at the university.
But McMullen isn’t fully celebrating. According to McMullen, the experience is “bittersweet” because of the low number of women and minorities pursuing advanced degrees in computer science. In fact, out of the more than 1,400 Americans who received Ph.D.s in computer science from 2010 to 2011, less than a quarter were female, and a mere 1.2 percent – 16 people – were African-American, according to the latest Computing Research Association Taulbee Survey.
Intrigued by computer science as a young girl, McMullen was selected to participate in The University of Maryland, Baltimore County´s (UMBC) Meyerhoff Scholarship Program. After that, she thrived at The University of Michigan, where she was president of The Society of Minority Engineers and Scientists and the vice president of the Movement of Underrepresented Sisters in Engineering and Science.
McMullen should have many doors open for her. As we reported recently STEM majors are greatly deserved on the job market, And there are few women in these fields. And according to a 2012 report by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, “the demand will far outstrip the supply for these coveted graduates;” reports The Washington Post.
As we prepare for the last round of presidential debates before the election, one issue both candidates will likely remain mums on is the ongoing efforts to limit affirmative action at public colleges.
Ending oral arguments last week, the Supreme Court is now weighing the case of Abigail Fisher, a 22-year-old white woman who feels that she was rejected by the University of Texas because of the school’s race-based selection process. The lawyers arguing for Fisher, who has recently graduated from Louisiana State University and has been working as a financial analyst since, says that her race was held against her. And for Fisher, whose academic record placed her in the top 12 percent of her classmates, she is “devastated” to learn that she had been passed over for students who didn’t land in the very top tier academically. In a video interview released to CNN, Fisher says, “I dreamt of going to UT ever since the second grade,” she said in a video interview released by her lawyers to bolster her case in September. “My dad went there, my sister went there and tons of friends and family, and it was a tradition I wanted to continue.”
According to the New York Times, three-quarters of applicants to the University of Texas are admitted under the school’s Top Ten program, which guarantees a spot to the top students in every high school in the state. The remaining applicants are then chosen from a number of considerations including race and ethnicity. However, the university asserts that race had nothing to do with why Fisher, who barely missed qualifying for the Top Ten program, wasn’t admitted, however the school’s affirmative action program is necessary to ensure a diverse student body, which includes students from multi-racial and economic backgrounds and for the campus. This is the second time in less than a decade that affirmative action practices within admissions systems have been challenged in the highest court in the land. In 2003, the Supreme Court voted 5-4 in favor of a race-conscious admissions system at the University of Michigan Law School, however, made the caveat that although race could be a factor, “outright racial balancing,” was prohibited.
There is no question in my mind that how affirmative action is currently being implemented is not without its problems. David Leonhart of the New York Times pointed out these problems recently:
Nobody on the other side — not the university’s lawyer, not the Obama administration’s, not the liberal justices — responded by talking about the obstacles that black and Latino students must overcome. The defenders of affirmative action spoke instead about the value of diversity. Without diverse college classes, they argued, students will learn less and society will lack for future leaders. The decision to emphasize diversity over fairness is one that affirmative-action proponents made long before Wednesday, and it is a big reason they find themselves in such a vulnerable position today.
In other words, while institutions may champion race-based admissions to fulfill goals of being “diverse,” diversity alone has never been the adequate cure to long standing racist practices. Even through diversity you can have a multi-colored people upholding policies and practices, which seek to hold other people at a disadvantage. There is no greater example of this than Supreme Court Judge Clarence Thomas, who while a strong opponent of Affirmative Action, probably ascended the ranks faster because he was black man with conservative leanings. I mean, if Thomas had been a regular old white republican male, championing the conservative platform, he probably wouldn’t be as prominent a figure in the Republican Party as he is now. So in essence, the use of affirmative action can have more to do with insulating institutions from charges of racial and gender discrimination than actually offering a remedy to past wrongs.
With that said, I always found discussions around affirmative action versus merit-based standards annoying. For one, neutral standards like admission tests (like SAT, GRE, LSAT, etc…) only measure the opportunities a person once had and are not a good indicator of what they are capable of in the future. So if you happened to be a student hailing from a more affluent educational background, which afforded you more access to educational opportunities, than you definitely have an edge on those who were limited to subpar schooling. Even within neutrality standards, it is likely that more poor students, regardless of race, from failing rural and failing urban schools will be at a much greater disadvantage than under an affirmative action program. And as our government continues to prioritize the funding of prisons over classrooms, economic segregation will continue to be just as prominent and in some respects a more pervasive barrier than just a discussion about race alone.
Likewise, there are other non-academic considerations that play into college acceptance including legacy clauses and athletic abilities, which too tend to give people an “unfair” advantage. Even the gist of Fisher’s dispute centers on the fact that she was denied entry to a school that, she felt entitled to go to because her father and sister were graduates. Never mind that she was actually able to still attend a pretty decent college, which provided her with the training and credentials needed to get a job as a financial analyst directly out of college.
This is not always the case for most women, who suffer from greater unemployment than men and on average continue to earn 77 cents (less if you are a minority woman) for every male dollar. Or black people, including black college graduates, who continue to suffer through twice the unemployment rate of white people. Or more specifically, unrestricted black men, who, according to one study, are less likely to be considered for a job than a white man with a prison record. Point is that Fisher, among other white people, do have entitlements, which provide them with opportunities for advancement based solely on the color of their skin. And while the fairness or even usefulness of affirmative action is loaded with ambiguities and exceptions, for right now, it is the best option we have. Most people of color do truly wish to be a living testament of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream and be judged solely by the content of their character and not by the color of their skin. But the reality is that we are just not there yet.
What are your thoughts on affirmative action?
Falling asleep right after sex is usually a sign that you just had a great session that literally put you to bed, but researchers say this tendency also increases your partner’s need for post-coital cuddling and conversation.
“The more one’s partner was likely to fall asleep after sex, the stronger the desire for bonding,” says Daniel Kruger, a research fellow at the University of Michigan and lead author of the study published in the Journal of Social, Evolutionary, and Cultural Psychology.
In an anonymous online study, researchers questioned 456 participants about their sex-sleep lives, asking them who falls asleep after sex and who falls asleep first when going to bed not after sex? Participants whose partners nodded off immediately after sex were typically left wanting more.
“Falling asleep before one’s partner may be a non-conscious way to foreclose on any commitment conversation after sex,” says co-author Susan Hughes, associate professor of psychology at Albright College in Reading, PA.
That statement may make you think men are more likely to catch some Zs right after sex but there was actually no difference between men and women’s behavior. But, women were more likely to fall asleep first when they didn’t have sex. Dr. Hughes says this could be an “artifact of mate guarding — making sure the woman doesn’t leave them for another partner,” or men may just stay up longer trying to convince the women to have sex. I’m betting on number two.
Fighting off the urge to go to sleep after sex is no easy task, although most people enjoy a little post-sex cuddling. I say you should take immediate post-sex sleep as a sign of satisfaction. The partners who are staying up wondering why their partner fell asleep probably have other concerns about the relationship that they need to address, and they’re taking their partner’s sleep as a sign of something being wrong and a lack of affection.
Do you prefer to cuddle after sex or are you usually the first to be knocked out? Do you take it personal if your partner falls asleep right away?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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The funny lady is talking about something not so funny on an episode of the “Ellen Degeneres Show” set to air this Monday. On the show, Sykes reveals that she was diagnosed with breast cancer earlier this year and made the conscious decision to undergo a double mastectomy to help ensure that the cancer wouldn’t have a good chance of growing back in the future. According to Sykes (and with help from our friends at CBS News), 47, it all started when she went to the doctor in the hopes of actually having breast reduction surgery in February:
“I had real big boobs and I just got tired of knocking over stuff. Every time I eat – Oh Lord,” she explained. “I’d carry a Tide stick everywhere I go. My back was sore so it was time to have a reduction. “It wasn’t until after the reduction that in the lab work, the pathology, that they found that I had DCIS [ductal carcinoma in situ] in my left breast. I was very, very lucky because DCIS is basically stage-zero cancer. So I was very lucky.”
So if it’s stage zero, I’m sure you’re wondering why she would bother to make the huge step of getting both breast removed. On top of the fact that her family has a history of breast cancer on her mother’s side, she says:
“Cancer is still cancer. I had the choice of, ‘You can go back every three months and get it checked. Have a mammogram, MRI every three months just to see what it’s doing.’ But, I’m not good at keeping on top of stuff. I’m sure I’m overdue for an oil change and a teeth cleaning already.” She adds, “I was like I don’t know, should I talk about it or what. How many things could I have? I’m black, then lesbian. I can’t be the poster child for everything.”
It’s good to see Skyes not only stepping out and speaking on her experience, but still having a great sense of humor about it. However, we all know breast cancer is NO joke whatsoever, stage zero or not. Be sure you’re getting yourself tested and doing check ups on your breast on your own. Sykes says she is doing good now, which is a great thing to report. But we’re also happy to report that the University of Michigan has just received a $3.5 million grant to to study cancer stem cells in an aggressive subtype of breast cancer that disproportionately affects African-Americans. As Dr. Max S. Wicha of University of Michigan’s Comprehensive Cancer Center say: “We urgently need to develop novel approaches to treat triple-negative breast cancer in order to reduce racial disparities. Through this Komen grant, we propose to develop novel therapies capable of attacking and destroying the lethal seeds driving these cancers, the cancer stem cells.”
Let’s hope so. If Sykes situation doesn’t tell us we need to take breast cancer more seriously, I don’t know what does…Kudos to her for making such a brave decision.