Alumni Perspectives Panel Discussion

2:45 - 3:45 p.m., Tuesday, March 6
Graduate and Postdoctoral Research Symposium
Community Arts Auditorium

In celebration of the Wayne State 150th and the 85th anniversary of the Graduate School, four Wayne State Ph.D. alumni will meet to reflect on their experiences and share their career paths and advice with current and prospective graduate students.

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Dean Lawson-Borders WSU alumnaGracie Lawson-Borders

Dean and Professor of the Cathy Hughes School of Communications at Howard University

Dean Lawson-Borders received her Ph.D from Wayne State University, masters and bachelor's degrees from Northwestern University and Michigan State University, respectively. She was formerly Associate Dean and Professor in Communication and Journalism at the University of Wyoming; and previously served as Director of African American Studies at the university. She has also served on the faculty of Kent State University and Southern Methodist University. Her research examines media coverage of minority groups and issues in the media, as well as media management, convergence, and new media. Her book Media Organizations and Convergence: Case Studies of Media Convergence Pioneers focuses on convergence of technologies in media organizations. Lawson-Borders is a policy board member for The Howard Journal of Communications, a member of the advisory board of, and on the editorial board of the International Journal on Media Management. She has published in American Behavioral Scientist, International Journal on Media Management, and Journal of Media Economics. She is a former journalist who has worked as a reporter and editor at the Akron Beacon Journal, the Oakland Press, and the Chicago Tribune.

James S. Jackson WSU alumJames S. Jackson

Daniel Katz Distinguished University Professor of Psychology, Professor of Afroamerican and African Studies, and Research Professor at the Institute for Social Research, all at the University of Michigan

Professor Jackson is also the co-director of the Center for Integrative Approaches to Health Disparities (CIAHD) and the Michigan Center for Urban African American Aging Research (MCUAAAR). His research focuses on issues of racial and ethnic influences on life-course development, attitude change, reciprocity, social support, and coping and health among blacks in the Diaspora. He is a recent Visiting Senior Fellow at the Russell Sage Foundation, a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the W.E.B. Dubois Fellow of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences, and a member of the National Academy of Medicine of the National Academies of Science, Engineering & Medicine. He is a former member of the NIH Director's Advisory Committee and a current member of the National Science Board, National Science Foundation. 

Kalyan C. Kondapalli WSU alumKalyan C. Kondapalli

Assistant Professor of Biology at the Department of Natural Sciences, University of Michigan-Dearborn (UMD)

Professor Kondapalli came to the University of Michigan-Dearborn (UMD) in Fall 2014 from the Johns Hopkins University's School of Medicine, where he was a postdoctoral fellow in the field of cellular physiology. He received his Ph.D. in biochemistry and molecular biology from the School of Medicine at Wayne State University. His research focuses on understanding the role of brain iron homeostasis and neurological disease. Throughout his career his research was funded by grants from organizations like the American Heart Association and the National Institute of Health. His work has resulted in multiple peer-reviewed publications in prestigious journals such as the Nature brand of journals. He taught and mentored students from diverse backgrounds both in classrooms and research labs. At UMD, he has been teaching cell biology and cancer biology courses. He has served on multiple committees in peer associations both at the graduate and postdoctoral level. Among other capacities, he served as president of the Johns Hopkins Postdoctoral Association, one of the largest of its kind in the country (~ 1500 postdocs within the School of Medicine). As a member and leader of these associations he organized science conferences and has co-chaired scientific sessions with professors and leaders from different fields. He continued service activities during these three] years at UMD, where he served on various discipline, department and college-wide committees.

Samantha BlackmonSamantha Blackmon

Associate Professor of English at Purdue University

Professor Blackmon is a native of Detroit, Michigan and is a recent transplant to West Lafayette, Indiana where she serves as Assistant Professor of English at Purdue University. She earned her Ph.D. in rhetoric and composition from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan in 2001. Her research and teaching interests are in minority rhetoric and computers and composition. Her more recent research project looks at how minority issues play out in the computerized writing environment. She serves as area editor of The Writing Instructor and as a member of the Purdue Advisory Committee for Modern Fiction Studies.

2018 Graduate and Postdoctoral Symposium Agenda