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Envisioning a Successful Career as a Professor

April 20, 2009



Dr. Tia Deas with Ansley Abraham

Dr. Tia Deas with Ansley Abraham of the Southern Regional Education Board.

When Tia Deas found out the professor with whom she was working was moving to Singapore, she realized she had one month to finish her doctoral dissertation at the University at Albany. She was able to complete her work on time and earn a doctorate in biomedical sciences from the School of Public Health in August 2008. Looking back, she says the whole process would have been less stressful had she known more about planning ahead.   

"I really feel it's my responsibility and my pleasure, as someone who has been given such a wonderful opportunity, to share my experiences and help others who may be interested in the path I have taken," said Deas, a native of North Charleston, S.C., who plans to teach at the University level.

Deas, who is African American, earned her undergraduate degree from Claflin University in South Carolina.

She’s now a Postdoctoral Fellow in Emerging Infectious Diseases at the Wadsworth Center division of the New York State Department of Health, where she studies how viruses such as influenza affect the body.

Deas will impart what she learned from that experience at the Preparing for the Professoriate Conference at the Campus Center on April 24-25. She will lead a workshop on dissertation writing.

Conference organizer Dr. Betty Shadrick.

Conference organizer and Director of Graduate Student Diversity Dr. Betty Shadrick encourages students of color to join the ranks of future teaching faculty. (Photo Mark Schmidt)  

"We want students of color to know that they can join the ranks of future teaching faculty and be at the vanguard of the production of knowledge and discovery in science, technology, engineering and mathematics," said conference organizer and Director of Graduate Student Diversity Betty P. Shadrick.

Shadrick noted that interest in the conference has risen by more than 30 percent, with minority students from Colorado, Michigan, North Carolina, and across New York State planning to attend. 

The program is sponsored by the Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP). The Alliance seeks to increase the number of students of color earning doctoral degrees in disciplines funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). According to Shadrick, NSF is funding the conference because it is particularly interested in increasing the number of minority students who become professors in science and math fields.    


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