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Heart Touch Program, Chemistry Grad Student Collaboration Designed to Eliminate Career Stereotypes and Spread Cultural Diversity

By Peter Mullins
CCBP Student Assistant

Two university graduate students have begun a collaboration designed to change the stereotype of science and engineering as a career for white males only. While doing so, they also seek to educate the community about different cultures.

Fan Yang, a native of China, is a graduate student working in UA’s Crossroads Community Center. She is also a doctoral student in Social Work, who, along with Pandora White, an African-American graduate student in biochemistry, seeks to promote career opportunities in science regardless of race, sex and country of origin. Their efforts are part of Heart Touch, a program begun and directed by Yang for the past two years to enhance cultural competency and create greater understanding and knowledge between and among different ethnic groups.

Their most recent effort, on Oct. 12 in Shelby Hall on the UA campus, was entitled “#welooklikeresearchers.” Attendees were treated to dinner and a talk by White on career opportunities in science open to both men and women and to all racial and ethnic groups. White’s principal interest is in diabetes research.

“If people are rarely exposed to female or minority scientists,” she said, “they tend to think all scientists are male, white Americans. There are far too few female professors involved in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) research at the university. Our collaboration is designed to address that image.”

White got the idea for the collaboration at a conference she recently attended where conferees were using the “#Ilooklikeanengineer” Twitter hashtag to raise awareness of white male domination in the sciences and engineering.

To emphasize the diversity of looks and interest within the science field, White reported on her trip abroad in Taiwan, where she was conductng research, and her subsequent trip couch surfing in Japan.

Following White’s talk, the audience was treated to a Tai Chi performance led by local instructor Ping Shi and her students.

Yang said future programs that address stereotypes and enhance cultural competency across race, gender and nationality are being planned.

Photos by Jianlong Yang

Fan Yang, originator of the Heart Touch Program, prepares the next event designed to overcome stereotypes in career opportunities.
Pandora White tells of her personal experiences during a symposium overcoming stereotypes in career opportunities.


Local instructor Ping Shi demostrates the art of Tai Chi to the students attending Heart Touch program.
Local instructor Ping Shi demostrates the art of Tai Chi to the students attending Heart Touch program.

Crossroads Community Center’s Lane McLelland honored with National Dialogue Award


Crossroad Community Center’s Lane McLelland was honored at the Second Annual National Dialogue Awards on October 9th, 2015  at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. Presented by the Sustained Dialogue Institute, the National Dialogue Awards honors those whose lives have been powerfully marked by the principles and values of the organization. The mission of the Sustained Dialogue Institute is to help people to transform conflictual relationships and design change processes around the world.

A new document, “UAct: Working together to create an ethical community defined by respect and civility,” has been placed on the UA website at

The document provides UA students, employees and visitors with a list of reporting channels they can use to report incidences of illegal discrimination, harassment, sexual assault, sexual violence, retaliation, threat assessment or fraud. Using information from the site, any UA student, employee, job applicant or visitor who has concerns can seek the assistance of the appropriate University official designated in the UAct document.

UAct was created as part of UA’s commitment to provide a safe environment for students, employees and campus visitors.

Dr. Jonathan Holloway of Yale University Is the 2014 Realizing the Dream Distinguished Lecturer

By Kirsten Barnes
Center for Community-Based Partnerships

TUSCALOOSA — Stillman College will host Yale University professor of history and African American studies Dr. Jonathan Holloway as the 2014 Martin Luther King Jr. Realizing the Dream Distinguished Lecturer, a project jointly sponsored by the Tuscaloosa Chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Shelton State Community College, Stillman College, and The University of Alabama.


The lecture is the climax of a series of activities held on each campus throughout the day. The title of his lecture is The Right Kind of Family: Addressing the Silences in a Civil Rights Memory and will be held Tuesday, March 18, 7-8:30 p.m. in the College of Education Building on the Stillman College campus.

Holloway is professor of history, American studies and African-American studies, chair of African American studies, and master, Calhoun College at Yale University.

Holloway is author of Jim Crow Wisdom: Memory and Identity in Black America since 1940. He will address the audience about national racial issues and his own family’s experience. Holloway, who is in his 15th year at Yale, said his discussion will be based on part of his book, that evolved from a personal historical search of his own family and their Southern roots in North Carolina and Virginia.

“It’s part of a personal family story,” said Holloway, who was raised in Maryland, but lived in Montgomery, Ala., while his father studied at Maxwell Air Force Base when he was 5 and 6 years old. “That’s really where my memory begins. I don’t remember much at all before that time.”

In his book, Holloway discusses how African Americans struggle with remembering the past; therefore, many worthwhile stories, which are critical parts of their history, have been lost.

“The book deals with how African-Americans have told stories about their past; and in writing these stories I discovered my own family’s personal stories and I will weave some of those in the talk,” said Holloway, who published his first book, Confronting the Veil: Abram Harris, Jr., E. Franklin Frazier, and Ralph Bunche 1919-1941 in 2002.

Holloway’s lecture will be followed by questions from the audience and is open to the public.
The Realizing the Dream program began in 1990 at a time when many communities were just beginning to celebrate King’s legacy. Today, the program includes a concert, a legacy banquet and the lecture series.

“The Distinguished Lecture Series represents a critical component of our efforts to raise consciousness about injustice and to promote human equality, peace and social justice by creating educational and cultural opportunities for growth, empowerment and social change to enable every person to experience the bounty of life’s abundant possibilities,” said Dr. Linda R. Beito of Stillman College, chair of the Distinguished Lecture series.

In addition to Holloway’s presentation, there will be additional events on both campuses for students and faculty. For more information, contact UA’s Office of Community Affairs at 205-348-8376 or visit