Dr. Charles McGruder
McGruder was the fifth African-American to begin an astrophysics research career, but the first to study galaxies and extragalactic sources. While president of the National Society of Black Physicists in the 1990s he focused on including students in the NSBP, the largest gathering of African and Hispanic physicists and physics students in the world. McGruder then went on to convince NASA to host a conference for connecting minority scientists with NASA science missions in the developing stages. He then turned his sights to developing astronomy in Africa. Through a grant from the Kellogg Foundation he has worked with the University of Cape Town and the South African Astronomical Observatory to train young African astronomers. Prior to the training program, the university’s astrophysics program had only one or two black students. Now the program is 40 percent black.
“Dr. McGruder’s impact on the current and next generation of minority astronomers cannot be overstated,” Oluseyi said in an email. “He has laid the groundwork that will enable many science stars to shine brightly in the coming years.”