Mission Statement

The Minorities Affairs Committee (MAC), one of the standing committees of the American Society for Cell Biology, has as its goal to significantly increase the involvement of underrepresented minority scientists in all aspects of the Society. To achieve this goal we recognize the need to promote the professional development of and to recruit minority scientists. The relatively small size of the pool of scientists with an interest in cell biology requires that we also develop programs for undergraduate and predoctoral students to assist them in achieving careers in biomedical research. A long range goal of the committee is to contribute to the Nation’s effort to increase the number of underrepresented minority scientists.

Brief History

At the 1980 ASCB Annual Meeting, then-ASCB President William Brinkley met with Winston Anderson to discuss how to increase the number of minority ASCB members. Starting with discretionary grants made on behalf of ASCB Presidents (Marilyn G. Farquhar (1981-82), James D. Jamieson (1982-83), and Morris Karnovisky (1983-84), the soon-to-be Minorities Affairs Committee (MAC) was launched. Encouraged by the interest and contributions of the ASCB to this effort, Anderson provided additional funds from his Howard University/Rockefeller (HUROC) grant to support minority activities at the Annual Meeting.

During the formative years of 1985-90, the group received official committee status and became known as the Minorities Affairs Committee (MAC) of the ASCB. The MAC elected George M. Langford as its first chair, who served in that capacity from 1985-90. James Wyche succeeded Langford as chair and it was during Wyche’s tenure that the E.E. Just Lecture was established in 1994 with Langford as the first Lecturer. Wyche vacated the chair in 1994 and was succeeded by J.K. Haynes and Donella Wilson in 1995, who served variously as chair and vice chair until succeeded by Lydia Villa-Komaroff in 2005. Anthony DePass became Chair in 2007 and was succeeded by Renato Aguilera in 2010.

According to the ASCB Constitution, the major objectives of the Minorities Affairs Committee are to provide opportunities for underrepresented minorities in the field of cell biology, and to develop careers of minorities in cell biology.

  1. To increase diversity among the members of the ASCB.
  2. To bring issues related to minorities in science to the attention of ASCB members.
  3. To assist in the professional development of minority scientists and in the education of minority science students.
    1. To mentor young minority scientists (postdoctoral, young faculty members and industrial scientists), and pre-doctoral and undergraduate students.
    2.  To establish a network involving minority scientists and minority science students.
    3. To provide minority science students and young scientists with the opportunity to acquire state-of-the-art knowledge and research skills in cell biology.
  4. To provide opportunities for faculty members at minority-serving institutions to advance their research and teaching effectiveness, and establish long-term professional relationships with ASCB members.

  1. Summer course support for minority students at the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) at Woods Hole, MA; and Friday Harbor Laboratories at the University of Washington, Seattle
  2. Annual summer lunch for MAC-sponsored MBL students, faculty hosts, and other invited guests
  3. Summer Visiting Professors Program for faculty from minority or teaching institutions to spend six-to-eight weeks with ASCB faculty from research institutions on collaborative research
  4. Linkage Fellows Program for junior faculty from minority serving institutions to attend the ASCB Annual Meeting, bring students to the Annual Meeting, and participate in professional development activities
  5. MAC Exhibit booth at the Society for Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) annual meeting; cash awards provided for cell biology winners
  6. MAC Exhibit booth at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS); cash awards provided for cell biology winners
  7. ASCB Annual Meeting activities on Saturday and Sunday, including the MAC Mentoring Symposium, the MAC Poster Competition, MAC Awards Lunch, E.E. Just Lecture

Committee Information

At the 1980 ASCB Annual Meeting, then-ASCB President William Brinkley met with Winston Anderson to discuss how to increase the number of minority ASCB members. Starting with discretionary grants made on behalf of ASCB Presidents (Marilyn G. Farquhar (1981-82), James D. Jamieson (1982-83), and Morris Karnovisky (1983-84), the soon-to-be Minorities Affairs Committee (MAC) was launched. Encouraged by the interest and contributions of the ASCB to this effort, Anderson provided additional funds from his Howard University/Rockefeller (HUROC) grant to support minority activities at the Annual Meeting.

During the formative years of 1985-90, the group received official committee status and became known as the Minorities Affairs Committee (MAC) of the ASCB. The MAC elected George M. Langford as its first chair, who served in that capacity from 1985-90. James Wyche succeeded Langford as chair and it was during Wyche’s tenure that the E.E. Just Lecture was established in 1994 with Langford as the first Lecturer. Wyche vacated the chair in 1994 and was succeeded by J.K. Haynes and Donella Wilson in 1995, who served variously as chair and vice chair until succeeded by Lydia Villa-Komaroff in 2005. Anthony DePass became Chair in 2007 and was succeeded by Renato Aguilera in 2010.

According to the ASCB Constitution, the major objectives of the Minorities Affairs Committee are to provide opportunities for underrepresented minorities in the field of cell biology, and to develop careers of minorities in cell biology.

The Faculty Research and Education Development (FRED) Program is a year-long program offered by the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB) to promote grant funding success of junior faculty at institutions with a strong commitment to recruiting students from backgrounds underrepresented in STEM to the field of cell biology.

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The ASCB MAC 11th Annual Junior Faculty and Postdoctoral Fellows Career Development Workshop will be held July 16-18, 2016, at the University of North Carolina Rizzo Conference Center in Chapel Hill, NC. Applications are due May 6, 2016. The workshop is open to junior faculty and postdoctoral fellows who are interested in academic careers at research-intensive or teaching institutions. A limited number of travel awards are available for members of underrepresented groups in the sciences, members of disadvantaged populations, and faculty (regardless of ethnicity) at minority-serving institutions. The workshop will cover areas including: Professional Conduct, Tenure, Grantsmanship, Mentorship, Leadership, Collaborations, Time Management, Writing, and Lab Setup/Management.

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Annual Meeting Activities

The MAC provides travel awards for underrepresented minority scientists to attend the annual meeting. Underrepresented minority undergraduate students, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and junior faculty members who are ASCB members and who are first author on a submitted abstract are eligible to apply. Travel awardees will present a poster at the MAC poster competition and faculty travel awardees will serve as poster judges. Travel award applications are due each year in early September.

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Minorities Affairs Committee Travel Awardees and other minority scientists present their research data at the Minorities Poster Session as well as at their regularly scheduled poster session.

Committee members rate the abstract for originality, clearly stated hypothesis and rationale, appropriateness of methodology, and whether the conclusions fit well with the data obtained; posters are rated on clarity of presentation, whether the charts and figures enhance the presentation, and aesthetic attractiveness of the poster. Presenters are asked by Poster Review Committee members to then present and support their data.

The MAC Poster Session has been established to provide networking opportunities for students and their faculty advisors. MAC travel awardees are expected to present posters at the MAC Poster Session; their posters are automatically entered in the poster competition.

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