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When Dr. Kenneth Gibbs talks about diversity and inclusion in the sciences, it’s not just a cause célèbre. It’s personal.
“For those of you who don’t know me, I am a Black man. A descendent from enslaved Africans here in America, so my family has been here for hundreds of years. That’s part of my story.”
And while his grandfathers had 4th and 8th grade educations, his parents were able to go college in the 1970s because of public investment in programs like Upward Bound. He and his sisters were able to go to graduate school.
“I had a PhD from Stanford by the time I was 27,” Dr. Gibbs recalls. “You can see that arc, but you can also see that when I got that PhD, I was the only black man in my building for that five years that wasn’t a mailman, janitor, or technician.”
He finishes, “There’s nothing wrong with any of those jobs, but I said, ‘There’s something kind of “off” here.'”
Now, he’s working to fix the system, and to make science look more like society.