Sunday, October 31, 2010

Why You Shouldn't Forsake the Focus Group - Advertising Age - CMO Strategy

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Why You Shouldn't Forsake the Focus Group

In-Person Conversations Can Be Disruptive and Produce Breakthrough Understanding

by Pete Blackshaw
Published: November 01, 2010

Pete Blackshaw

Pete Blackshaw
The other day, I spent several captivating hours with about 40 high-school students talking about the role of digital and social technology in their lives.

The experience bordered on transformative. Yes, this from the guy who thinks he knows everything because he's "wired to the conversation."

This exercise in "feet on the street" crowdsourcing was part of my due diligence as new board member of the Cincinnati Youth Collaborative, a youth-mentoring organization.

The conversation from the diverse group of students flew in directions that I didn't expect or plan. Insights flowed like the great Niagara. It was deep, meaningful, and at times outright hilarious. Yes, teens text like crazy (the group I talked to average 50 a day), but the core motivations are more complex.

All of which left me with one screaming thought: I miss focus groups. In an age of almost unstoppable "conversation," this was a real conversation. Deep, authentic, unscripted, meaningful, unpredictable and even -- dare I say -- a bit disruptive. It felt good. It felt right.

Focus groups have become the whipping boy of the digital age. We trash-talk them all the time. They are highly inefficient, overly structured, excessively scripted and easily manipulated. And they're no competition for the seemingly unlimited focus group online.

I owe much to focus groups for igniting my passion for consumer understanding and marketing. Within a week of arriving at P&G for my summer internship in 1994, I was shipped off to Miami and then Los Angeles for a series of intense focus groups to glean key nuance between Hispanics "East of Rockies" (more Puerto Rican and Cuban influenced) and "West of Rockies" (Mexican dominant).

We learned tons. I was humbled. The faces, the body movement, the group interplay, the conversational flows all amounted to a treasure trove of insights. In the non-Hispanic groups that followed over the years, it always boggled my mind how much we could actually learn from engaged moms on something as ostensibly mundane as a paper towel.

I'm not jumping off the digital ship, but I do worry that we sometimes grossly misappropriate social media as a proxy for live interaction or offline conversation. It's not.

Looking ahead, we might be well served by reclaiming or rediscovering some of those "offline" encounters -- not as a replacement for our digital conversations but as a vitamin. As we're learning with TV, and certainly with customer service, social media might just make the core foundations even stronger -- but only if used correctly.

Breakthrough consumer understanding is a delicate (and empathetic) balancing act of what we glean and filter online and what we dig up in real conversations. It's far from an all-or-nothing proposition, and the advent of video digital "sight, sound and motion" blurs the line.

Indeed, the "Research Transformation" initiative led by Joel Rubinson and the Advertising Research Foundation hit the mark by challenging everyone to think carefully about the right balance between "listening and asking."

Both sides contribute.

Unprompted listening to social media, for instance, might sharpen the questions in the "asking" phase. Think about all the surveys or focus groups we've placed without properly identifying the right questions.

Conversely, focus groups can only take you so far without sufficient volume. High velocity of conversation can help us pinpoint "profitable demand pools" that may not be obvious in live conversation, a point implied in a new book, "How Companies Win," by Nielsen CEO Dave Calhoun and Cambridge Group CEO Rick Kash. (Full disclosure: I'm a Nielsen employee.)

But back to the texting teens. They are certainly living the bold new digital conversation, but don't always assume you need to connect with them online to figure out what's going on.

Sometimes we just have to "have a real conversation."

Pete Blackshaw is exec VP of NM Incite, a joint venture of Nielsen & McKinsey, and author of "Satisfied Customers Tell Three Friends, Angry Customers Tell 3,000."

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Top 400 Charities See Billions Less In Donations, Biggest Percentage Drop Ever Recorded

WASHINGTON — A new ranking of the nation's 400 biggest charities shows donations dropped by 11 percent overall last year as the Great Recession ended – the worst decline in 20 years since the Chronicle of Philanthropy began keeping a tally.

The Philanthropy 400 report to be released Monday shows such familiar names as the United Way and the Salvation Army, both based near Washington, continue to dominate the ranking, despite the 2009 declines. The survey accounts for $68.6 billion in charitable contributions.

An earlier report by the Giving USA Foundation found overall charitable giving declined 3.6 percent last year. That report included giving to private foundations and to smaller charities, while the Chronicle's survey only includes top charities raising money from the public.

"It shows that charities are really having a tough time, and this is some of the most successful charities in the United States," Chronicle Editor Stacy Palmer said. "Usually bigger charities are more resilient, so that's the part that is still surprising."

The top charities may have taken such a hit as giving shifted to smaller, local groups and because people gave less money to arts and cultural groups, Palmer said. Plus, even though the recession has officially ended, unemployment remains high at nearly 10 percent nationally and the economy continues to sputter.

The Salvation Army, based in Alexandria, Va., maintained its No. 2 ranking after the United Way, with $1.7 billion in contributions, despite a decline of 8.4 percent.

"The only caveat is our Christmas was extraordinary," said Major George Hood, the Salvation Army's head of community relations. The group's red kettle campaign raised a record $130 million in 2008 and surpassed that in 2009 to raise $139 million.

"The American public really dug deep during the holiday season, and in the balance of the year really cut back in what they gave to charity," he said.

The Salvation Army also is grappling with how to lure younger donors and is ramping up its digital video marketing and social networking strategies, as it has previously relied on an older demographic that lived through World War I and World War II.

Story continues below


Last week, the Salvation Army signed its first agreement to receive donations by text message, which it will roll out this Christmas season, Hood said. Text donations have risen in popularity in the past year for groups like the Red Cross, which encouraged such donations after the earthquake that devastated Haiti in January. Officials have also looked at creating avatars or online games to engage younger donors.

"It's so far out for a Victorian-era conservative organization like us ... kinda freaky," Hood said. "But if we can find a way to cost effectively leverage technology, we're game."

Only four charities in the top 10 reported increased contributions over last year, including Alexandria, Va.-based Catholic Charities USA, which reported a 66 percent jump. For many, that growth has been driven by donated goods rather than cash. For instance, the Stamford, Conn.-based AmeriCares Foundation grew the fastest in 20 years to be ranked No. 4, up from 86th in 1991. Its contributions were mostly food, medicine and other goods, not money.

Feed the Children, based in Oklahoma City, and Food for the Poor, based in Coconut Creek, Fla., also grew dramatically in the past two decades. Atlanta-based Habitat for Humanity had some of the largest growth in cash donations over that time.



Chronicle of Philanthropy:

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Control of Illinois House, Senate at stake in Tuesday's election

Control of Illinois House, Senate at stake

Control of Illinois House, Senate at stake

Michael Madigan, Speaker of the Illinois House. (Antonio Perez/Tribune)

By Ray Long, Tribune reporter

4:55 p.m. CDT, October 31, 2010

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Democrat Michael Madigan on Tuesday will try to extend his long run as Illinois House speaker, hoping that the widespread expectation of Republican momentum in this year's election doesn't turn into a sequel to 1994.

That's the year the Southwest Side chieftain tumbled from power, the only blemish since he first seized control 28 years ago, an exile that lasted but two years.

Nobody expected the 1994 GOP surge to overwhelm Madigan, and it's hard to find many who expect him to lose his majority Tuesday. But House Republicans say they have their greatest chance in years to cut into Madigan's ability to block or pass legislation at will. Their hopes are buoyed by voter resentment over how Democrats are running government in Illinois and Washington and a voter rage that intensifies when the economy sputters.

Madigan holds a 70-48 Democratic edge. To take over the House, Minority Leader Tom Cross, of Oswego, needs a net gain of 12 seats. That would get Republicans to the 60 votes required to run the show. Cross said he's "cautiously optimistic."

House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie, D- Chicago, called it "unbelievable" that Republicans are using Madigan's long tenure as a campaign wedge issue.

"My sense is that it's inside baseball," Currie said. "For most people, it's not relevant."

The price tag of this exercise in democracy is setting records. Fourteen individual Senate and House races are each expected to top $1 million in spending, according to David Morrison, deputy director of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform. Many of the hotly contested races are sprinkled throughout the suburbs.

Madigan and Cross, joined by Democratic Senate President John Cullerton and Senate Republican leader Christine Radogno, are dumping scads of cash into the most competitive races, hoping to tip the scales their way.

It's also expected the record for spending on a single legislative seat will fall, with the tab for one downstate Senate race projected to surpass $2.4 million, said Kent Redfield, a longtime campaign finance expert based at the University of Illinois at Springfield.

Madigan spokesman Steve Brown suggested the dire predictions that this election will result in the political demise of many Democrats are off the mark. Brown said many races will come down to Election Day turnout, something Democrats take pride in doing well.

"I think it's all going to come down to who has the boots on the ground on Tuesday," Brown said.

Cullerton is not expected to be in danger of losing the Senate, given his 37-22 advantage. But he could lose enough seats to dip below a veto-proof majority of 36 senators.

Stakes this year are high because the crew elected Tuesday will attempt to redraw the boundaries of legislative districts, a once-a-decade partisan melee that would be easily avoided if Democrats retained the governorship and control of the General Assembly.

If the House Republicans could pick up as many as eight — viewed by some insiders as the high end of potential GOP gains — they would make it tougher for Democrats to pass whatever they want with votes to spare. It would be harder for Madigan to protect vulnerable lawmakers from taking controversial votes.

Eager to be relevant once again, Illinois Republicans seek a comeback. They watched their candidates weighed down by the corruption scandal that put ex-Republican Gov. George Ryan in prison. They muttered as they got held back by the hope-inspired 2008 campaign rush that pushed Barack Obama, a Democratic favorite son of Illinois, into the White House.

Since then, Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich was arrested, impeached and ousted, the tea party movement picked up steam and the state's finances sank deeper into disrepair. Illinois Republicans are hoping to capitalize in the midterm elections like they did 16 years ago when they swept control of state government.

What's different from 1994 is that Madigan, rarely one to overlook a history lesson, learned in defeat that he must hold ground in key races just in case there is a catastrophic national Democratic wipeout. Madigan also has an advantage this time because he lost power under a 1990s legislative map in which district boundaries were drawn to help Republicans. Today's map is drawn by Democrats to help Democrats.

And straight-party voting doesn't exist like it did back then, meaning voters can't punch their ballot once in anger and be done with it.

Though Democrats beg to differ, Cross maintained he is playing defense in only one House race — the seat vacated by veteran Rep. Beth Coulson, R-Glenview, who lost a congressional primary.

The race to replace Coulson is one of the seven million-dollar House contests. Republican Hamilton Chang, of Wilmette, is running against Evanston Democrat Daniel Biss, who has a 2-1 money-raising edge but previously lost to Coulson.

Two other high-dollar House races are unfolding in the northwest suburbs. One is for the seat being abandoned by Republican-turned-Democrat Paul Froehlich, of Schaumburg. The combatants are Democrat Michelle Mussman, a community volunteer and self-described "Mom on a Mission," and Republican lawyer Ryan Higgins. The other pits freshman Rep. Mark Walker, D- Arlington Heights, against former state Rep. David Harris, an Arlington Heights Republican who has served as adjutant general in the Illinois National Guard.

Five of the million-dollar Senate races are in the Chicago area. Headlining the list is a particularly competitive contest on the Northwest Side: Ald. Brian Doherty, the City Council's lone Republican, is taking on appointed Democratic Sen. John Mulroe, who replaced retired Sen. James DeLeo.

In the south suburbs, Sen. Toi Hutchinson, D-Olympia Fields, is trying to fend off a challenge from Republican Adam Baumgartner, of Monee. And Sen. A.J. Wilhemi, D-Joliet, is battling Cedra Crenshaw, a Bolingbrook Republican who gained national attention as an African-American mother with tea party support. Democrats lead in fundraising in each of these races.

Up north, former Republican Sen. Steve Rauschenberger is trying to retake his old seat, which is occupied by Democratic incumbent Mike Noland in a district centered in Elgin.

And freshman Sen. Mike Bond, D- Grayslake, is taking on Republican Suzi Schmidt, the Lake County Board chairwoman from Lake Villa.

Copyright © 2010, Chicago Tribune

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Klaus_Flauten at 9:02 PM October 31, 2010

How can any impartial person believe that Madigan has done a good job as speaker?  The state cannot pay its bills on time, its borrowing costs are higher than Mexico and the unemployment rate is too high.

This man has been a disaster for the taxpayers of this state, but he provides for his constituents to the detriment of everyone else.

Pete6677 at 8:35 PM October 31, 2010

Madigan has been more destrictive to Illinois than Blago, Ryan and Quinn combined. He will gladly spend the state into bankruptcy to further his own interests. It is critical that Madigan's power is neutered at every turn if this state is to have any hope of recovering.

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Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation: America's Science and Technology Talent at the Crossroads

Saturday, October 30, 2010

$25 - Yours for the Taking!

Kiva Insider News

We (Still) Need Your Help

Earlier this month, we asked you to help Kiva reach more people by inviting your friends to join. In the weeks that followed, you have invited nearly 125,000 people to join Kiva. Thank you for all your help... but we're not quite done!

We're close to reaching $6 million in loans funded in the month of October, typically one of our slower months. We would appreciate it so much if you could, once again, ask your friends to join you on Kiva and lend, lend, lend! Get five people to lend, and you'll discover $25 in your Kiva account. It's not magic, but it's pretty close.

Invite friends you haven't invited before, and nag those who haven't responded. We need your help this Halloween weekend! Invite everyone you know, and help change lives around the world.

Happy Birthday, Kiva

Kiva closed its fifth year out in style with a celebration in San Francisco on October 13. Members from across the Kiva community were there, including a lender who flew all the way in from Munich for the occasion!

The party was a big success. Everyone seemed happy, Premal and Matt talked about our goals for the next five years ($1 Billion!), and attendees got a chance to meet other members of the Kiva community, whether staff, volunteers, fellows, lenders, or donors. Thank you to everyone who came to join us, and to those who had events around the country in honor of the birthday. We wouldn't be anywhere without you.

Kiva © 2010. All rights reserved.

This e-mail was sent by Kiva Microfunds, located at 3180 18th Street, Suite 201, San Francisco, CA 94110 (USA). To receive no further e-mails, please click here or reply to this e-mail with "unlist" in the Subject line.

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Friday, October 29, 2010

Colgate University : Faculty Directory - Landon Reid

Check out this website I found at

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Wisdom of Some Very Smart Black Folks: Organizing to increase minorities and women in science and engineering


Wisdom of Black Folks: Organizing to increase minorities and women in science and engineering

The Obama Administration has identified robust research and development investments as a key to national economic recovery.[1] In the 2008 presidential campaign, then Senator Obama talked about paying for 100,000 additional scientists and engineers by the end of his first term.[2] Mustering a technically trained workforce is central to the nation’s economic prosperity and security in a global economy.[3] While policymakers and stakeholders agree that preparing more American students, especially under-represented minorities (African-Americans, Latinos and Native Americans) and women for careers in science and engineering is critical, a plan has yet to emerge for making this happen.[4] Visionary policymakers, stakeholders and organizations need to develop effective strategies to significantly increase minority and women scientists and engineers, in American corporations, research labs, government agencies, and universities.   The purpose of this paper is to draw attention to the upcoming 40th anniversary of three successful AT&T’s Bell Labs programs --- the Cooperative Research Fellowship Program (CRFP), Summer Research Program for Minorities and Women (SRP) and Graduate Research Program for Women (GRPW) --- that significantly increased the number of women and underrepresented minorities in science and engineering majors and careers over the last 40 years.  The first part looks at how the Association of Black Laboratory  Employees’ (ABLE) “strategic capacity”– motivation, salient knowledge and deliberative processes that facilitated the development of effective strategies – turned short-term opportunities into long-term gains by creating these programs at Bell Labs and led to their continued support through major changes at Bell Labs.[5] The second part looks at how these programs can be expanded to other organizations to increase minorities and women in science and engineering careers.


Organizing by African-American Bell Labs employees led to the creation of CRFP, in 1972, and SRP and GRPW, in 1974.[6] These programs which provide graduate school tuition and books, summer internships and employment, stipends and travel, mentoring by a Bell Labs technologist and an academic advisor for women and underrepresented minorities, in science and engineering have been hugely successful.[7] More than 550 minority and women students have received awards with 76% completing Ph.Ds. in Physics, Chemistry, Math, Engineering, and Computer Science.[8] Similar funded programs were only 40% successful. Between 1972 and 1992 CRFP produced 22% of all minorities who earned Ph.Ds. in electrical engineering, in the United States.[9] Fellows have published extensively, their articles have appeared in over 140 scholarly publications, and been cited more than 5,700 times.[10] They are a new talent pool which greatly benefited Bell Labs, industry, academia and the broader community becoming corporate officers, entrepreneurs, professors in major universities, inventors, and mentors for other minorities and women, in science and engineering majors and careers. It is estimated that 30-40% began their professional careers at the Labs (AT&T and Lucent).[11] Approximately 30% are professors, deans, and administrators at 70 top universities throughout the United States. AT&T Bell Labs was recognized for these efforts and awarded the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring, the Women in Engineering Programs and Advocates Network (WEPAN) Breakthrough Award in 1998; and the Maria Mitchell Women in Science Award in 1999.

I had the opportunity to meet two of ABLE’s founders and a number of graduates of CRFP/SRP/GRPW at the 16th Conference of African-American Researchers in the Mathematical Sciences (CAARMS), an annual gathering of black science and engineering researchers, professors, students and businesspeople.[12] Many graduates and the founders rank their involvement in CRFP/SRP/GRPW among their top professional experiences. The number of organizations involved in similar efforts needs to be expanded, because the number of underrepresented minorities in science and engineering remains distressingly small, receiving only about a hundred doctorates, in these fields, every year.[13]  According, to Dr. William F. Brinkman, Director of the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science and former AT&T Bell Labs Vice President of Research celebrating the 30th anniversary of CRFP, in 2002, the hope of Bell Lab’s management was that CRFP/GRPW/SPR would lead to other organizations creating additional programs to greatly increase the numbers of blacks and women in the sciences and engineering.[14]


Why were CRFP/SRP/GRPW created at AT&T Bell Labs; why were these programs able to maintain a high level of corporate support, despite major changes, in Bell Labs corporate structure; and why have others failed to follow? CRFP’s Godfathers- Linc Hawkins, James West, James Mitchell, Earl Shaw and Lloyd Shepherd


Founded in 1925 AT&T Bell Labs, headquartered in Murray Hill, New Jersey, became the world’s best industrial research and development facility. According to Business Week, “IBM’s T.J. Watson Research Center, RCA's Sarnoff Research Center, and especially Bell Labs, were once viewed as national treasures blazing a research path for the entire country.”[15] Funded by enormous profits from AT&T’s U.S. telecommunications monopoly, it developed a wide range of revolutionary technologies, including radio astronomy, the transistor, the laser, light emitting diode, the electrets microphone, information theory, the UNIX operating system, the C programming language and the C++ programming language.[16]  The average home has at least 25 products based on Bell technologies including telephones, TVs, computers, CD players, remote controls and VCRs. Bell Labs has received nearly 30,000 patents.[17] Fourteen Bell Labs scientists and engineers have won 7 Nobel prizes for work done there, including current U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu, in 1997, who shared a Nobel Prize in Physics for developing methods to cool and trap atoms with laser light. Bell Labs contributed greatly to the unprecedented growth of the American economy, in the period after World War II, and with American science and engineering became the best in the world and among the most respected institutions, in American society.[18]

Not everybody shared equally in the post-World War II prosperity.  Minorities and women seeking employment and career advancement were discriminated against even in elite science and engineering organizations.[19] On December 10, 1970, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed charges against AT&T and its twenty-four operating companies for discriminating on the basis of sex, race and national origin in their employment practices.[20]Although Bell Labs broke the “color line” five years before baseball, hiring its’ first African-American scientist, Dr. William Lincoln Hawkins, in 1942, it waited 20 years to hire the second. Drs. Hawkins, Earl Shaw, James Mitchell, James West, Lloyd Shepherd and other African-American Bell Lab employees at Murray Hill, in 1970 created the Association of Black Laboratory Employees (ABLE) to address their employment and advancement concerns.

ABLE’s founders were an extraordinary group of scientists and engineers. Two of them, Hawkins and West, are recipients of the National Technology Medal, the nation’s top honor for technical innovation and contributions; and are also members of the national Inventors Hall of Fame. Dr. Hawkins, a chemist held 18 patents from the United States and 129 from foreign countries. In the late 1940's, he co-invented anti-oxidizing agents that gave plastic, previously subject to rapid deterioration, a useful life span of 70 years. The new coatings enabled the expansion of telephone service around the world and generated billions in savings for the telecommunication industry. In 1975, he became the first black engineer to be inducted into the National Academy of Engineering. Bell Labs’ annual W. Lincoln Hawkins Mentoring Excellence Award is named in his honor. Dr. Shaw, a Physicist sometimes called "the Henry Ford of laser research," is best known as the co-inventor of the spin-flip tunable laser, a device that makes it easier for experimenters and technicians to perform intricate and complex procedures with lasers, which can be especially useful in biology and materials science. Dr. West, a Physicist who holds 47 U.S. patents and more than 100 outside the U.S co-invented the electret micro-phone in 1962, which is used in 90% of the two billion microphones produced annually in everyday items such as telephones, hearing aids, camcorders, and multimedia computers. Dr. Mitchell, a chemist and expert in using high-technology techniques for synthesis and analysis of materials became Vice-President, Materials Processing Research, one of the first African-Americans to advance up the research and development management ranks, is now the Dean of Howard University’s School of Engineering. Lloyd Shepherd was part of team that received a patent for a safer communication cable with enhanced flame retardancy and smoke suppression characteristics.

They were equally gifted in their leadership of ABLE. Their motivation, salient knowledge, and the deliberative processes they set up built ABLE’s “strategic capacity” to effectively response to environmental conditions, opportunities, and challenges.[21]  At ABLE’s inception, in 1970, the challenge/opportunity was capitalizing on the pressure management felt because AT&T was sued by the federal government for employment discrimination that year. This pressure increased, in 1972, when “the Equal Rights Amendment was passed by Congress and sent to the states for ratification. It was the year that the F.B.I. admitted the first two women agents. It was also the year that the Equal Employment Opportunity Act of 1972 passed Congress. It was the year that Title 9 of the Education Amendments banned sex discrimination in schools. As a result of Title 9, the enrollment of women in athletic programs in professional schools began increasing dramatically.”[22] 

ABLE’s founders were very motivated and committed to increasing minority and woman scientists and engineers. Born in the south, personally familiar with racial discrimination and the power of collective action for overcoming racial and gender discrimination, each of the founders devoted countless hours to organizing, mentoring, strategizing, meeting and developing relationships with each other, colleagues and other stakeholders, inside and outside the Labs. Dr. Hawkins who was the first black chairman of the American Chemical Society's project to promote chemistry among minority students, and helped to expand the science programs of predominantly black colleges mentored Dr. West, who gratefully said,


I started my career at Bell Labs for one reason. And that reason was because I could look around and find people who looked like me, who were during what I wanted to do when I grew up. And one of the main ones became my mentor and that was W. Lincoln Hawkins. But I also know that there were a number of other chemists who were minorities at Bell Labs at that time, people like Charles Miller, like Bill Schlichtler(not black) William Northover, and Ray Story, just to name a few.”[23]


Dr. Mitchell, who chaired the Lab’s Affirmative Action Committee, in addition to doing his own research, running his own lab, and helping to organize ABLE---in the keynote address at CAARMS and in his bio, talked about the “three-way commitment” scientists and engineers need --- “a dedication to one's work, a dedication to the community of science colleagues, and a dedication to one's family because that's the source of emotional support.”[24] ABLE’s founders travelled extensively to recruit minority and female scientists and engineers and students. Dr. Mirian M. Graddick-Weir, former AT&T Human Resources Executive Vice-President and a CRFP Fellow, tells a story about accidently sitting in on a meeting where Dr. West was making a presentation about CRFP, “One of the reasons I did apply was because of a gentleman some of you in the room know, Jim West, who is a physicist at Bell Labs. He did an absolutely outstanding job of describing what it would be like spending a summer doing research at Bell Labs. He painted such a compelling picture of how fun it would be and what the opportunities would be like to learn.”  Dr. Carl Spight, a former Bell Labs physicist who served as an academic advisor, champion, and mentor support for the program, for many, many years recalling the early days of CRFP remembered,

 “Sidney Millman, Executive Director of Research, Bell Laboratories and Joel Burton, Executive Director, Bell Laboratories were some of the early Bell Labs directors who were key in creating the program that we are now celebrating here after 25 years. There is another name that Mirian Gradick invoked earlier and that is Jim West. He is a member of the Technical staff at Bell Labs and a key person in helping to guide and define leadership for the program. He was a mentor-at-large of a kind and certainly is one of the spiritual giants of this program. So I invoke the name Jim West here.”

Highly motivated by a fusing of their personal moral values and a passion for their constituency, ABLE's founders commitment to each other created an organizational structure within which they enacted ways to interact with each other and with their environment.[25] One of ABLE’s first activities was to set up a meeting with top Laboratory management for the purpose of establishing open and frank communications. This meeting became the model for many dialogue committees that were formed latter, throughout various AT&T entities for similar purposes. During the dialogues management challenged ABLE to find more minority and women scientists Bell Labs could hire.  The leaders of ABLE developed support within the upper reaches of the corporate hierarchy by helping top management understand the reasons for ABLE and reducing problems with white co-workers who inevitably misunderstand the need of black employees to band together. As, Art Hawkins, who organized the Chicago-area ABLE chapter found later, “Some managers are afraid of ABLE...they don't understand it and think its black people getting ready to riot. But some do understand the need for a support group. The higher you go in management, the more they can appreciate ABLE."[26] One of ABLE’s most effective strategies and key aspects of CRFP/SRP/GRPW was engaging key Bell Lab figures like Nobel Prize winner Arno Penzias to work directly with the students ABLE recruited said Dr. Howard G. Adams, National Institute for Mentoring,

“Let me tell you a couple of things that I think are so very, very unique about [the CRFP] experience. Number one, when I come to the lab on the day those students come in Arno Penzias always comes in when he was there. He was always there. He wasn’t one of those highbrow folks; they didn’t even know who he was. He would come in with his little note pad and he would go around and talk to a student and say, “can I get you to do something for me” which was real fascinating. The student would look at him like I don’t want to do anything; I’m not going to volunteer for nothing. So he would say OK and he would go on to the next one. And then when finally they would go “oh my god I wish I had volunteered, you know I didn’t know that’s who he was”. And the folks he got to volunteer, that was a very different relationship. But it was just very fascinating watching him come in and welcoming people to the Labs and telling them what they could expect while they were here. The mentors and everybody else knew what was happening, that was just crucial to the whole thing. I think the last thing that it does was the rich environment that exposes students to things they might not have gotten before.


ABLE’s leaders also gained support from key managers like Drs. Millman, Burton, and Penzias by developing leverage. The productivity of scientists and engineers at Bell Labs was regularly evaluated and appraised.[27] ABLE persuaded top management to become champions for diversity and mentoring, as a way to get the most productive scientists and engineers, regardless of race, ethnicity and gender, working at the Labs. Support for diversity and mentoring was ratcheted-up further and became everybody’s interest when Dr. Penzias linked promotions, compensation, and management reviews (“How Great I Am” statements) to individual’s personal mentoring efforts. According to Dr. West:

“We get the impression today; this program is sort of like the “big bang” theory. It just happened and I’m sure that there were some pre-cursors to the “big bang theory,” but I do know there were some precursors to the CRFP, GRPW program. A few years before these programs were inaugurated, most of the minority employees at Bell Labs got together and this was across the board, I mean we had the scientists, but we also had the people who cleaned the bathrooms and so forth, who became a part of that organization. And the purpose of that organization, by the way its name was ABLE, the Association of Black Laboratory Employees, was to improve the state of being for everyone within the company. Among other things, we petitioned the Council at Bell Labs for a meeting and some of the people who were at that meeting or at least one other at that meeting is Dr. Jim Mitchell, who is here with us. And one other name I need to mention is Dr. Earl Shaw. When we petitioned the Council and said, “Look, we need some more diversity here,” and “What is really missing are minorities and women,” and we got a very shocking response. They said go out and find some, we’ll certainly hire them, we hired you so find them and we will do that. We were all naïve at that point and said okay so we packed our suitcases got on the road and went to look for people that looked like us. And you know the result of that. We couldn’t find any. And so the only other thing left to do was to begin to grow our own and, hence, the creation of the Corporate Research Fellowship Program, the Graduate Research Program for Women and the Summer Research Program for undergraduate students. I, just to give you a little of that background so that you will realize what the precursors were to the big bang of these programs and we still may be searching for the precursors to the real “big bang,” although Arno (Penzias), I think, understands how all that happened and by the way, he was one of the best directors of the program and I don’t mean to single people out, but when I was there, he was among the best, he instituted in the Affirmative Action part of our “How Great I Am” statement that you had to show something that dealt with Affirmative Action and I think that for the President of an organization to take such a bold move is certainly worth recognizing.”[28]

To build ABLE’s membership the challenge was getting people busy pursuing their own careers, to join yet another effort, in which the outcomes and benefits were uncertain. The founders faced a “collective action problem” in that many employees logically could be “free-riders” because they would enjoy the benefits of the founder’s efforts even if they did not join, contribute or cooperate in this effort.[29]  ABLE’s goals were public goods in which the benefits are available for all to consume regardless of who pays and who does not pay.  Public goods like “clean air” or “better workplace conditions for minorities and women at Bell Labs” are equally available to “free riders” and those who do the work of providing.  Collective action problems make the beginning of any organizing effort tough especially when the benefits of participation are unclear, the effort has not produced any results, membership is small, outcomes are uncertain and joining could even be detrimental. At International Business Machines (IBM) where I started my career, black employees were discouraged from organizing a group like ABLE, by management which made it known such activities would negatively impact career advancement. ABLE to grow beyond a tiny fraction of Bell Labs African-American employees needed to be creative.

 ABLE’s leaders overcame their “collective action” problem and quickly grew their constituency to 14 chapters, 5 in New Jersey, by providing selective incentives that were available for those joining the effort, such as career advice, help with job complaints and social functions.  They implemented an open, collaborative decision-making process that attracted blue-collar as well as white-collar employees.  They overcame differences, in the perspectives and priorities of white-collar and blue-collar African-American Bell Lab employees by considering and encouraging everybody’s input and participation in decisions. The blue-collar employees wanted to focus on their grievances because the labor unions they were members of were not doing a good job representing them. The white-collar employees wanted to focus on increasing the minorities and women studying science and math, to increase minority and women scientists and engineers, employed on the technical staff.  ABLE’s victories included getting Bell to provide career development throughout all job classifications, to begin recruiting more minority employees and to start the Bell Labs' Collective Effort Management Development Program to help minority technical employees move to supervisory positions.

Kent Amos, who set up an employee association, similar to ABLE at Xerox, notes, “Everybody's looking at the Japanese and quality circles and the like. But there is no better classic American example of how employee involvement can work in industry today than the black caucuses and employee groups in major companies."[30]


The almost 40 years of support and resources Bell Labs has provided for CRFP/SRP/GRPW, was due to effective organizing by ABLE. This support continued through reorganizations of AT&T in 1984 (divestiture), 1996 (trivestiture), 2005 (acquired by SBC) and 2007 (acquisition of BellSouth and Cingular).[31] ABLE, based on its’ founders motivation, access to salient information, and deliberative processes developed creative strategies to interact with these and other environmental changes.  The results of these strategies were a significant improvement in the quality of work life for minorities and women at Bell Laboratories; increased corporate/community involvement, and a significant increase in the number of minority and women Ph.D. scientists and engineers.[32] Similar organizing and leadership, across more organizations is needed to replicate CRFP/SRP/GRPW’s successes and significantly increase minority and female scientists and engineers, as Bell Labs management had hoped. 


Future: ABLE’s Prodigies or Protégés- CRFP/SRP/GRPW Fellows


With Bell Labs downsizing can ABLE’s prodigies be as successful as their mentors, in preserving and enhancing the Bell Labs Fellowship programs?[33] The Fellows are highly motivated and are in key positions to access salient knowledge about possible constituencies, opponents and allies for preserving and enhancing these programs. The immediate question is whether they are interested in making commitments to creating an organizational structure that facilitates interactions with each other and developing the “strategic capacity” to response to new opportunities/challenges in the environment which include:

  • U.S. financial commitment to research may have plateaued in recent years, with the federal government shifting more of its funding towards basic and applied research, while industry concentrates on development. The worst economic recession, since the Great Depression, is impacting spending on research and development; jobs for scientists and engineers; and R&D outsourcing.[34]The America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010 provides $85.6 billion over the next five years to research and education.[35] This is on top of federal spending on non-military research jumping from $36 billion to nearly $64 billion a year, over the last decade.[36] Over the past 5 years, expanded business spending has accounted for much of the nation's R&D growth.[37]


  • The U.S. has a very strong system of university research, but K-to-12 school students are lagging behind students from many countries. “U.S. K-12 education in mathematics and science ranks 48th worldwide; 49% of U.S. adults don't know how long it takes for the Earth to circle the sun; China has replaced the United States as the world's top high-technology exporter. Although U.S. school achievement scores have stagnated, harming the economy as employers look elsewhere for competent workers, the report says that other nations have made gains. If the USA's students matched Finland's, for example, analysis suggests the U.S. economy would grow 9%-16%.”[38]
  • Congress and the National Research Council (NRC) convened a blue ribbon committee to suggest the “top 10 actions that Congress, state governments, research universities, and others could take” so that U.S. research universities could continue to help the country “compete, prosper, and achieve national goals in health, energy, the environment, and global security.”[39] Their follow-up report: “Rising Above the Gathering Storm Revisited: Rapidly Approaching Category 5”, concludes that “in spite of the efforts of both those in government and the private sector, the outlook for America to compete for quality jobs has further deteriorated over the past five years.”[40] While the America’s global economic competitors are making substantial investments in higher education, especially in science, engineering and technical areas, universities in Europe and state universities in the U.S. are crumbling from the impact of massive budget cuts.  China for example, since 1998, has undertaken a massive expansion of education, nearly tripling the share of GDP devoted to it.  "China has built the largest higher-education sector in the world in merely a decade's time… a high school-educated worker is 1.8 times as productive, and a college graduate three times as productive, as someone with a ninth-grade education. China is massively expanding its supply of high school and college graduates... China’s increase in high-skilled workers will substantially boost the country's annual growth rate for a generation; taking its GDP to an eye-popping $123 trillion by 2040… the largest economy in the world by far.”[41]
  • According to 2006 National Science Foundation data, foreign students earned 36.2% of U.S. doctorates in the sciences and 63.6% of the doctorates in engineering. Foreign students on temporary resident visas earned 32.0% of the doctorates in the sciences, and 58.6% of the doctorates in engineering.[42]
  • Political, social and demographic changes such as election of an African-American, Barack Obama, as president of the United States; elevation of a number of minorities and women, including the Bell Lab Fellows themselves to key university, industry and government positions; and the U.S. becoming majority minorities, are occurring in this period of diminished resources. “Will the Baby Boomers recognize that they have a responsibility and a personal stake in ensuring that this next generation of largely Latino and African-American kids are prepared to succeed?…This ethnic transformation could be the greatest asset this county will have, with a young multilingual, well-educated workforce. Or it could tear us apart and become a major liability."[43]

Although ABLE’s founders Drs. West and Mitchell have left the Labs for academia, Shaw and Shepherd retired, and Hawkins is deceased, they along with many of the Bell Lab Fellows are still interested in working to increase minority and women scientists and engineers. Dr. West would like to work with the Fellows to export the Bell Lab’s mentoring model to other organizations.  Dr. Mitchell, during his keynote address at the 16th annual Conference of African-Americans in the Mathematical Sciences (CAARMS) suggested more minority scientists and engineers become entrepreneurs. Dr. Alice White, GRPW ‘76, VP Research Alcatel-Lucent’s Bell Labs has proposed a partnership between universities, government and industry to expand CRFP/SRP/GRPW to more students and organizations.

The mentoring the Bell Labs fellowships provided is integral to the success of these programs and is what differentiated them from other fellowship programs. Other fellowships like the National Science Foundation’s don’t provide mentoring or the same length of support; NSF fellowships are for 3 years versus CRFP/SRP/GRPW which were for the duration of one’s graduate school career. Outside program evaluations have found mentoring is the lifeline of the Fellowships, the mentor’s belief in the capability of the applicant is critical to properly supporting women and minority candidates in Ph.D. studies. Mentors helped students deal with faculty, personal problems or technical difficulties that they had while in grad school. “The value of the Ph.D. endeavor can only be sustained when a suitable mentor for the student is chosen.”[44]

Bell Lab Fellows, like the ABLE founders, are accomplished scientists and engineers; and committed to the exporting the mentoring model.  Two, Dr. Charles Thompson, University of Massachusetts-Lowell, in 1997; and Dr. Armando Rodriguez, Arizona State University, in 1998, received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring. Professor Mary Fernandez, GRPW, who holds 4 patents, won the Princeton University, Outstanding Teaching Award, in 1990.  Dr. William Massey, the Edwin S. Wilsey Professor of Operations Research and Financial Engineering, Princeton University, is a fellow of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences, in recognition of his work in the field of operations research--- inspired by Dr. Mitchell  cofounded CAARMS, won the Blackwell-Tapia Prize, for significant contributions to research in applied mathematics; and the W. Lincoln Hawkins Mentoring Excellence Award, Bell Labs’ highest award for mentorship. He was the first CRFP fellow to mentor another CRFP fellow,  Professors Arlie Petters, a full professor in both the math and physics departments, of Duke University; Otis Jennings, Duke University and Robert Hampshire of Carnegie Mellon. According to Massey:

“Mentorship doesn't simply benefit minority students and researchers; it improves the overall quality of the field. Research scientists are valued for making new discoveries. How do you come up with a new discovery? By looking at things differently from other scientists. What's the easiest way to look at things differently from other scientists? By coming from a different cultural background.” 


The CRFP/SRP/GRPW Fellows hold a number of key leadership positions, including executive, inventor, entrepreneur, VP research, and university administrator, in nearly 100 of the nation’s top science and engineering organizations, universities and corporations. Dr. Alice White, GRPW ‘76, who as VP Research oversees the research community and programs for the largest R&D region of Alcatel-Lucent’s Bell Labs, is President of the New Jersey Nanotechnology Consortium, won the American Physical Society’s Maria Goeppert-Mayer Award for outstanding achievement, in physics. Dr. Mirian M. Graddick-Weir, CRFP, is an Executive Committee member and Executive Vice President Merck & Company, and former AT&T Executive Vice President.  Dr. Anthony M. Johnson, SRP ’74 and CRFP ’77, is Director of the Center for Advanced Studies in Photonics Research (CASPR), Professor of Physics Professor of Computer Science & Electrical Engineering University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC); 2002 President of the Optical Society of America (OSA), Editor-in-Chief, Optics Letters (95-01) who has extensively promoted increasing diversity in science and engineering.[45] Dr. Michelle Povinelli, GRPW, University of Southern California just won a Technology Review Young Innovators Under 35 award (TR35) which honors young innovators whose inventions and research are changing our world. Chris Daley, SRP, is a patent examiner at the US Patent and Trademark office.[46] Dr. Willetta Greene-Johnson, CRFP ’79, is a Loyola University Chicago Physics Professor and a Grammy–award winning songwriter. Dr. Marc Hannah, CRFP ‘77, cofounded Silicon Graphics whose workstations are used to provide Hollywood special effects for movies such as Terminator 2 and Jurassic Park. Dr. Randall Pinkett, CRFP ‘98, is a Rhodes Scholar, entrepreneur, and winner of NBC's The Apprentice reality television show. Prof. Andrea Bertozzi, GRPW, UCLA Director of Applied Mathematics, was the first female full professor in both math and physics at Duke University. Dr. Lance Collins, CRFP, is Dean of Engineering at Cornell University.  Dr. Evelynn M. Hammonds, SRP, the first women and first black Dean of Harvard College has set up summer research initiatives, based on own her transformative experience, as a physics student, at Bell Laboratories summer research program.[47]

Dr. Mitchell during his keynote address at the 16th CAARMS suggested more minority and women scientists and engineers become entrepreneurs. More entrepreneurial activity is needed for a sustained economy recovery.[48] In addition to generating more jobs, I think this could increase K-12 students’ interest in science and engineering. Leading research universities and foundations are promoting concepts like “University as Entrepreneur” to maintain their roles as “the primary sources of the knowledge and innovation that have driven the global economy” by linking students and faculty, with entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and creative thinkers to become the nucleus for an entire open-ended community of entrepreneurs dedicated to innovation and learning.[49] Thomas L Magnanti, Dean of Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) “to create a new breed of graduates who, having a strong foundation of technical expertise, also possess the additional leadership qualities of inventiveness, risk-taking, and a sense of adventure” is organizing MIT graduate students into Innovation Teams (I-Teams).[50] They take courses jointly taught by Engineering and the MIT Sloan School of Management faculty; and develop market strategies for their research, which in the past has included medical devices, microfluidics, fuel cells, colloidal crystals, and wireless communication.

Minority and women scientists and engineers as entrepreneurs can connect in new ways with business, government, universities, and their own communities.  Entrepreneurs historically have generated the net new job growth in the U.S. economy. They are suppliers, developers, consultants, and partners as well as being taxpayers, citizens, consumers, and residents. Their enterprises can create jobs; facilitate technology transfers between universities and local businesses; and provide research and development to government and industry.[51] More technical expertise and entrepreneurs is needed, in inner city and rural areas, where many minority scientists and engineers come from.  These areas which have few jobs are underserved by business and are untapped market opportunities.[52] Unemployment rates for African-Americans and Latinos, which are twice that of the nation as a whole, are shockingly and totally unacceptably high, according to economist Austan Goolsbee, President Obama’s Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers. "You've seen a lot of what the president's talking about, be it infrastructure, be it clean energy manufacturing, and be it small business, those are three areas which would disproportionately help groups where the unemployment rates been really high." he said.[53] “Politically, economically, and morally, there is no issue of more importance in this country right now than jobs.” 

Many young people are aspiring to be entrepreneurs who they see portrayed in the popular media in films and music, on TV and of course the internet. The movie box office leader, at the time this paper is being written, is “The Social Network” the fictional account of how Mark Zuckerberg founded Facebook. Bill Gates, cofounder of Microsoft and the richest man in America; Steve Jobs, cofounder of Apple Computers are regularly featured in the media.  Cartoonists/animators Aaron McGruder, The Boondocks; Seth MacFarlane, Family Guy; and Matt Groening, The Simpsons are as well-known as their creations. Top hip hop artists JayZ, Sean Puffy Combs, and Master P are admired, by youth, as much for their entrepreneurial skills as their music.  Connecting low-income youth to  doing well in their school work and being an entrepreneur in the future is a great motivator because most have the “curiosity about the world around them, natural creativity, willingness to take risks, and unbridled enthusiasm [that] add up to the characteristics of our greatest entrepreneurs.”[54] Motivation and mentoring are critical for doing well in math and science.  Young people need to understand 95.1 percent of successful entrepreneurs earn bachelor’s degrees, and 47 percent had more advanced degrees.[55] Showing them, their parents and teachers appropriate career paths and the amount of education they need to pursue particular careers; and identifying more mentors, is needed.[56]  Early and continual access to mentoring and role models is something successful entrepreneurs, CRFP/SRP/GRPW Fellows, and our best scientists and engineers all share.[57]

Connecting entrepreneurism to youth education and advanced graduate training will increase opportunities for minority and women scientists and engineers. Theoretically, the decline in U.S. K-12 science and math education and the need for more technical skills and knowledge to produce globally competitive goods and services are increasing opportunities for minority and women scientists and engineers.[58] However, some analysts find worries about U.S. scientists and engineers shortages and science education are overblown. Their research has found there are three times more science and engineering college graduates than job openings each year. Top American-born science and engineering students have been migrating to better-paying jobs in finance, law and medicine since the 1990s.[59] American businesses are addressing their technical skills needs by recruiting talented foreigners even though the number of H-1B visas (65,000) currently reserved for "specialty occupations" such as scientists, engineers, and technological experts is drastically below the 195,000 visas figure allowed between 1999 and 2004.[60] Some say the issue in American science and engineering is not insufficient schooling or a shortage of scientists:

“It’s a lack of job opportunities. Americans need the reasonable hope that spending their youth preparing to do science will provide a satisfactory career… But unless the nation stops, as one Johns Hopkins professor put it, “burning its intellectual capital” by heedlessly using talented young people as cheap labor, the possibility of drawing the best of them back into careers as scientists will become increasingly remote. A nation that depends on innovation for its prosperity, that has unsurpassed universities and research centers, and that has long prided itself on the ingenuity and inventiveness of its technical elite, must devise ways of making solid careers in science once again both captivating and attainable. There’s no shortage of American talent. What’s in critically short supply are the ideas and determination to use that talent wisely.”[61]

The American Association of Engineering Societies (AAES) argues, “An increased focus on homeland security requires a strong domestic technical labor force.  Diverse talent is critical for industrial competitiveness and business success.”[62] The U.S. Government requires citizenship in many of its’ technical jobs. Many foreign-born scientists and engineers do not qualify. One government agency told Dr. West that it could hire ½ of all qualified Ph.D. engineers each year for the next 10 years just to replace retirees. More diversity would increase new discoveries and the advancement of science and engineering. Lack of diversity, says Dr. William A. Wulf, former president of the National Academy of Engineering, limits the set of designs that get considered and that get postulated in the first place.

“There is a wonderful ad that showed a woman trying to get out of a sport utility vehicle. She was wearing high heels and a fairly tight skirt and she couldn’t get down from this tall vehicle. A woman would not have designed that vehicle. Indeed, I have come to be acquainted with a woman who is now in charge of chassis design for Ford Motor Company. She gave me example, after example, of how the American automobile has been designed for the 50-th percentile of males.”[63]

In an age of diminished resources, those interested in producing more minority and women scientists and engineers need to be as creative and have as much commitment, as ABLE’s founders. A significantly smaller Bell Labs will not alone be able to fund a significant increase, as it has for almost 40 years.  Dr. Alice White, GRPW ‘76,  VP Research Alcatel-Lucent’s Bell Labs  suggests a partnership between universities, government and industry; with universities providing education, government providing funding and industry providing mentoring and jobs that would provide better transfers of knowledge between these institutions and includes the critical mentoring component that distinguished CRFP/SRP/GRPW. Fareed Zakaria, Time Magazine says such a partnership, would be an education Marshall Plan that would shift the American economy from a consumption economy to an investment economy focusing on technology, infrastructure and people. He supports immigration for knowledge workers, saying “After training the world's best and brightest — often at public expense — we don't find ways to make sure they stay here by giving them a green card but rather insist that they leave and take their knowledge to another country, where they will invent, inspire, build and pay taxes.”[64] Rather than seeing immigrants as threats, we should welcome this invaluable resource and be investing in more training and retraining for American workers.

Restoring and maintaining America’s lead in science and engineering innovation requires organizing that will generate support for immigration, diversity, and new investments like increased funding for higher education institutions that historically serve under-represented minorities (African-American, Latinos, American Indians) from 3% of the total federal funds awarded to all institutions of higher education to the 10% proposed by the 2007 White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities;[65]  hiring of more minority and women scientists and engineers, by the national laboratories;[66] and rebuilding of America’s legendary research centers. Business Week, in the article, “Where Have You Gone, Bell Labs? How Basic Research Can Repair The Broken U.S. Business Model”, argues the U.S. scientific innovation infrastructure--- which historically consisted of a loose public-private partnership that included Bell Labs, RCA Labs, Xerox PARC, the research operations of IBM, DARPA, NASA, and others--- generated millions of high-paying jobs, in new industries, needs to be rebuilt.

“Collaboration is necessary, but the real key is achieving critical mass, in essence replacing Bell Labs' force of 30,000, and then some. Science has lost its allure as the domain for our best and brightest. Much of the best technical talent has been drawn to the promise of riches from Wall Street and financial engineering. We need to reestablish a culture that rewards and celebrates the scientist who is willing to work on tough problems even if the commercial return is less certain. Given that the U.S. economy is so much bigger than it was 40 years ago, and so much less competitive internationally, 10 or more equivalent corporate research labs are needed for critical mass. The most likely candidates are the top research corporations today—IBM, Hewlett Packard, Cisco, Google, Exxon Mobil XOM, DuPont, Microsoft, Apple, 3M MMM, General Electric, Boeing BA, and others. Many of these companies already have hundreds of PhD researchers and scientists on staff, and while their labs mostly focus on shorter-term development goals, they still retain the spirit of scientific pursuit.”[67]

Bell Labs sustained its’ high level of innovation by supporting diversity and mentoring. Over a long period of time, despite significant changes in the organization, AT&T and Lucent management supported training for more minority and women scientists and engineers. The result of this commitment are CRFP/SRP/GRPW Fellows, like Alice E. White who are key executives, in the corporation; and who are  scattered across the country as key leaders, in the nation’s science and engineering community and organizations. They could be the foundation of any organizing effort to continue or significantly expand the Bell Labs fellowships which increased minorities and women in science and engineering. The upcoming 40th anniversary of these programs, in 2012, might be an appropriate time for a reunion of the Fellows and the visionary ABLE and Bell Labs management to launch a multi-organization expansion of these fellowships. One CRFP graduate, Dr. Massey has created CAARMS, an organization that might be capable of and interested in providing national leadership, direction, and space for this effort. CAARMS for the past 16 years has hosted an annual technical conference, published proceedings and has a website that brings together scientists, engineers and students to discuss their work and support each other.  It has developed partnerships with multiple research, government, and business organizations; across multiple geographic areas; and multiple science and engineering disciplines. With some funding it would have the capacity to establish and maintain contacts between the almost 600 CRFP/SRP/GRPW Fellows.

If we are serious about creating high paying jobs for Americans, we need to remember that minority and women PH.D.s create exactly those kinds of jobs for the country through their inventions. Increasing support to mentor and train more minority and women scientists and engineers; and developing job markets that will use this talent wisely through entrepreneurship efforts in universities or a critical mass of research centers--- requires leadership and organizing, like that which ABLE provided at Bell, to provide the “strategic capacity” to attract resources, build support, identify and take advantage of current opportunities.  ABLE’s leaders helped Bell Labs, during the last three decades of the 20th century to  develop a critical mass of minority and women scientists and engineers, working there that had a sense of purpose and professional accomplishment similar to what the Harlem Renaissance was for African-American artists and poets. Work needs to done to determine if the Bell Labs Fellows want to take this farther.




AT&T Labs and Lucent Bell Laboratories Ph.D. Fellowship Programs


Elaine P. Laws--AT&T Labs[68]


Impact of the Programs: There has never been a requirement that fellowship students work for AT&T and Lucent upon completion of their Ph.D.s. However over the years many have begun their careers at the Labs. It is estimated that 30-40% of graduating student cohorts have begun their professional careers at the Labs (AT&T and Lucent). Many over time have gone on to other companies and research institutes. Some of the organizations graduates of the fellowship programs have been employed by are provided in Table 5 below. The industries represented include far more than just the telecommunications industry and reflect a broad cross-section of industries.


Agilent Labs

Allied Signal




Bell South

Booz-Allen Hamilton


Chronicle of Higher Education





GE Research

Goddard Institute

Hewlett Packard


Interval Research

Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Lawrence Berkeley Lab

Lehman Brothers

Los Alamos National Laboratory


Lucent Technologies




National Institute of Standards


Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Rockwell Semiconductor Systems

Sandia National Laboratory

Seagate Technologies


Silicon Graphics

Texas Instruments



Table 5: Companies and Research Institutes Fellowship Alumni Are or Have been Employed by



Approximately 30% of the graduates of the programs have as well gone on to become professors, deans, and administrators at almost 70 U.S. universities, continuing to share their knowledge and commitment to developing and mentoring students for future jobs in the profession. The schools at which alumni teach or are part of the administration number among the most competitive schools in the United States. Students from many of these schools apply annually for consideration for the AT&T and Lucent fellowship and grant programs, many of whom are encouraged to do so by faculty who have themselves been alumni of these programs. While the total number of fellowship graduates either teaching or working at universities as deans, professors, or administrators in science and engineering is small when compared to the total numbers of women and under-represented minorities who comprise the ranks of doctoral scientists and engineers working at 4-year college and universities, the impact of their presence as role models and successful graduates is greater than the raw numbers would alone suggest. Students see that others like themselves have been successful in completing Ph.D.s and begin to believe that they, too, can persevere and succeed as well either in academia or industry. As academics, graduates of the programs bring their experiences from working in an industrial research laboratory to the classroom and students. Table 6 below lists the universities at which program alumni teach or are administrators.


Auburn University

Arizona State University

Boston University

California Institute of Technology

Carleton College

Carnegie Mellon University

Clark Atlanta University

City College of New York

Cornell University

Dartmouth College

Duke University

Florida A&M University

Georgetown University

Georgia Institute of Technology

Harvard University

Hiriam College

Hofstra University

Howard University

James Madison University

Loyola University

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Morehouse College

Morgan State University

North Carolina A&T University

Northeastern University

New Jersey Institute of Technology

New Mexico State University

Oberlin College

Oregon State University

Pennsylvania State University

Polytechnic University

Pomona College

Princeton University

Rutgers University

Smith College

Spelman College


Texas A&M

University of California--Berkeley, Davis,

Irvine, San Diego

University of Chicago

University of Dayton

University of Maryland--Baltimore County,

College Park

University of Massachusetts--Lowell

University of Michigan

University of Nebraska

University of Pittsburgh

University of Puerto Rico

University of Texas--Austin

University of Washington

University of Wisconsin--Madison



Williams College

Yale University

Table 6: Universities at which Fellowship Alumni Teach or are Administrators


Graduates of these programs hold top positions in industry and academia. Some are founders or co-founders of companies while others hold vice presidential and other executive positions in industry. A number are deans, department heads and professors at universities across the U.S. The breadth and scope of the positions held by graduates reflects the leadership roles they play across their professions

[1]               American Association for the Advancement of Science with participation by the Association of American Universities, “Navigating a Complex Landscape to Foster Greater Faculty and Student Diversity in Higher Education” Pg.1,

[2]               John Tierney, “What Shortage of Scientists and Engineers?” New York Times, October 17, 2008,

[3]               Shirley Ann Jackson, “Envisioning a 21st century science and engineering workforce for the United States: tasks for university, industry, and government”, Government-University-Industry Research Roundtable, National Academies Press, 2003

[4]               Jeffrey Mervis, “NSF Misfires on Plan to Revamp Minority Programs”, Science 23 July 2010:

Vol. 329. no. 5990, p. 376,

[5]               Marshall Ganz, “Why David Sometimes Wins: Strategic Capacity in Social Movements”, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, November, 2002, Pg. 4

[6]               Remarks of Susan Staffin-Metz, Executive Director, Lore-El Center for Women in Engineering and Science Stevens Institute of Technology, “Overview of AT&T / Lucent graduate fellowship programs” at Building a Network of Leaders in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Conference, October 28, 2002, Washington D.C,

[7]               Dr. Anthony M. Johnson, CRFP Fellow ’77 “Successful Minority PhD Producing Programs – Bell Laboratories and the Meyerhoff Scholarship Program at UMBC”, March Meeting of the American Physical Society, Pittsburgh, PA, March 16, 2009

[8]               Elaine P. Laws, Elizabeth Loia, and Michael Merritt, “The AT&T Labs Fellowship Program— 35 Years of Mentoring Women and Underrepresented Minorities—An Update”, (2007); Elaine P. Laws, “AT&T Labs and Lucent Bell Laboratories Ph.D. Fellowship Programs 1972-2002”, (2002)

[9]               Science, vol. 258 (13), pg. 1196, November 1992

[11] Laws

[12]             Conference for African-American Researchers in the Mathematical Sciences(CAARMS)

[13]             Robert Mallet, Deputy Secretary of Commerce, in the Clinton Administration,  presentation at “Mentoring For Success: Nurturing Minorities and Women for Engineering/Scientific Leadership” conference;  April 23, 1998

[14]             Brinkmann, William F., “Thirty Years of Progress in Affirmative Action and Diversity”, Presentation at the April, 2002 American Physical Society Meeting,

[15]             John Carey, “An Ivory Tower That Spins Pure Gold: As the R&D arm of Lucent Technologies, Bell Labs has a big hand in profits”, BUSINESSWEEK: APRIL 19, 1999,;

[16]             Geoff Brumfiel, “Bell Labs bottoms out: Institute pulls plug on basic research”, Published online 20 August 2008; Nature 454, 927 (2008),; and

[17]             Narain Gehani, “Bell Labs: Life in the Crown Jewel”, Silicon Press, 2003, Pg. 19

[18]             Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, “Public Praises Science; Scientists Fault Public, Media

                Scientific Achievements Less Prominent Than a Decade Ago”, July 9, 2009,

[19]             Manning, K. R.; “Black Apollo of Science: The Life of Ernest Everett Just”, Oxford University Press, (1983)

[20]             CWA Local 9408- History of CWA, Communications Workers of American

[21]             Ganz, Pg. 7

[22]             Jose Meija, President Supply Chain Networks Lucent Technologies,   

[24]             Spangenburg, Ray, and Kit Moser. "Mitchell, James Winfield." Science Online. Facts on File, Inc. Web. 14 Sept. 2010.

[25] Ganz, pg.17

[26]             Robert J. McNatt, “Pride and Prejudice: The Story of Black Employee Associations”, Black Enterprise, April 1984, Pg. 63-65

[27]             Peter F. Drucker, “The Frontiers of Management: Where Tomorrow's Decisions Are Being Shaped Today”, Harvard Business Press, 2010, pg. 115

[29]             Mancur Olson, Jr, “The Logic of Collective Action: Public Goods and the Theory of Groups”(1965)

[30]            Black Enterprise

[31]             Laws

[32]             2007 Leaders of African Descent,

[33]             Priya Ganapati, “Bell Labs Kills Fundamental Physics Research”, Wired, August 27, 2008,

[34]             Vivek Wadhwa, “Outsourcing Research and Development Poses Major Risk for U.S.”, March 27, 2007,,

[35]             Sara Jerome, “Third time's a charm for COMPETES Act”, The Hill, 05/28/10,        

[36]             National Science Foundation, “Science and Engineering Indicators: 2010”

[37]            Hather GJ, Haynes W, Higdon R, Kolker N, Stewart EA, et al. 2010 The United States of America and Scientific Research. PLoS ONE 5(8):e12203. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0012203  ; Cosner, Raymond R; “Industrial Research Institute's R&D Trends Forecast For 2009” Research Technology Management; January 1 2009

[38]Dan Vergano, “Report: Poor science education impairs U.S. economy.” USA TODAY,  9/23/2010,

[39] Jeffery Mervis, “Panel Explores What It'll Take To Keep Universities Strong” Science 9 July 2010:

Vol. 329. no. 5988, pp. 126 – 127,

[40] Thomas L. Friedman, “Can’t Keep a Bad Idea Down”, New York Times, October 26, 2010,

[41] Fareed Zakaria, “The Real Challenge from China: Its People, Not Its Currency”, TIME Magazine, Thursday, Oct. 07, 2010,,8599,2024090,00.html?artId=2024090?contType=article?chn=world

[42] Christine M. Matthews, “Foreign Science and Engineering Presence in U.S. Institutions and the Labor Force”, Congressional Research Service, March 23, 2010, 7-5700,, 97-746

[43] Ronald Brownstein, “The Gray And The Brown: The Generational Mismatch A Contrast In Priorities Is Arising Between Nonwhite Young Voters And White, Older Voters”, National Journal Magazine, Saturday, July 24, 2010,

[44] Laws

[45] Anthony M. Johnson, “An African-American Physicist – Nearly 30 Years of Experiences, Strategies, and Personal Accounts”

[47] “Gender Gains”, Harvard Magazine, May-June 2006,

[48] Doug Schoen, “Promoting Job Creation and Economic Growth”, October 08, 2010,,

[49] Michael M. Crow, “Building an Entrepreneurial University”, in The Future of the Research University: Meeting the Global Challenges of the 21st Century, 2008 Kauffman-Planck Summit on Entrepreneurship Research and Policy held June 8-11, 2008, in Bavaria, Germany,

[50] Lay Leng TAN, “Of Engineers and Entrepreneurs: Can a university turn an engineer into an entrepreneur?” Innovation Magazine, Vol. 9 Issue 1, World Scientific Publishing and National University of Singapore,

[51] See Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grants

[52] The Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC) is a national not-for-profit organization founded in 1994 by Harvard Business School Professor Michael E. Porter

[53] Eric Zimmermann,” White House aide: Minority unemployment 'shockingly' and 'unacceptably' high” The Hill's Blog Briefing Room, 04/02/10,

[54] Youth Entrepreneurship, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

[55] Vivek Wadhwa, Raj Aggarwal, Krisztina Holly, and Alex Salkever, “Anatomy of an Entrepreneur: Family Background and Motivation”, Kauffman Foundation, July, 2009

[56] Schneider, Barbara, “Inspiring Youth to Careers in Science and Medicine: Lessons From the Sloan Study of Youth and Social Development”, Journal of Public Health Management & Practice: November 2009 - Volume 15 - Issue 6 - p S102-S106,

[57] Jim Gates, “Who Inspired You?”; WA Massey, D Raphael, EN Walker “ A Survey of CAARMS12 Participants”, in Proceedings of Council for African American Researchers in the Mathematical Sciences, Volume V, Volume 2007 Pg. 141

[58] The Commission on the Advancement of Women and Minorities in Science, Engineering and Technology Development,

[59] Vergano

[60] Tierney

[61] Beryl Lieff Benderly, “The Real Science Gap”, Miller-Mccune Magazine, June 14, 2010 

[62] “Engineering Societies Diversity Summit Progress Report”, The American Association of Engineering Societies (AAES), April 2-3, 2003,

[64]             Fareed Zakaria, “Restoring the American Dream”, Time Magazine, Thursday, Oct. 21, 2010,,8816,2026776,00.html

[65]             Quinton L. Williams, “Undergraduate physics programs at HBCUs: Can we stop the losses?”, Physics Today, June 2010, 2010 American Institute of Physics, S-0031-9228-1006-230-7"

[66]             Keith H. Jackson and Lawrence Norris, “Utilization of African-American Physicists in the Science & Engineering Workforce” Pg149-155 in Pan-Organizational Summit on the U.S. Science and Engineering Workforce: Meeting Summary (2003) Government-University-Industry Research Roundtable,

[67] Adrian Slywotzky, “Where Have You Gone, Bell Labs? How basic research can repair the broken U.S. business model”, Businessweek, August 27, 2009,

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