Dr. Frank L. Douglas: What’s missing from the current DEI efforts?
Dr. Frank L. Douglas was raised in the small South American country of Guyana. Suffering under the weight of poverty, Douglas faced severe childhood trauma, often questioning his place in his family and yearning for acceptance. Despite these obstacles, Douglas excelled academically, showing great promise at school and winning multiple awards. In his career, Douglas continued to climb the ranks of academia and made significant discoveries in the pharmacology field. He established the Center for Biomedical Innovation at MIT and received the George Beene Foundation Award, GQ Magazine’s Rock Star of Science Award, Black History Maker Award and the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers Lifetime Achievement Award. He has continued to champion the cause of African American students, having never forgotten his own roots in a poverty-ridden, politically conflicted homeland. The meaning of his name—Frank being Celtic for “free man” and Douglas being Scottish for “from a black stream”—has become his personal banner.
In episode 342 of the Fraternity Foodie Podcast, we find out what it was like for Dr. Douglas to grow up in Guyana, what it was like to be awarded the Fulbright Scholarship and come to America to study Chemistry in the Engineering College at Lehigh University, how his early life in Guyana prepared him to navigate effects of racial discrimination in American universities and corporations, what he is most proud of as the first Black member of the Board of Management of a top 5 Global Pharmaceutical company, what’s missing from current DEI efforts, how we can manage microaggressions and remove privileges to combat systemic discrimination, what are some strategies for fostering more diverse and empathetic student organizations, and what the Supreme Court should decide with the consideration of race in college admission decisions. Enjoy!