By: Sharon Jenkins

The journey to leadership can often be an unexpected path, filled with pivotal moments and experiences that shape an individual’s role and contributions to their community. For many, the title of “leader” is not something sought after but rather something that comes as a byproduct of passion, hard work, and dedication. This has certainly been the case for Michael Thomas, an African American scientist in Houston, whose story illustrates how perseverance, excellence in one’s field, and a commitment to giving back can pave the way for significant community impact.

A Journey Rooted in Science From a young age, the subject of science captivated Michael. It all began with a simple childhood curiosity about the natural world. A small shack behind his house became his first laboratory, where he explored and experimented with whatever he could get his hands on. Th is fascination with discovery and learning about the unknown set the foundation
for a lifelong passion for science. A pivotal moment came when he conducted a groundbreaking project on ants as a high school student. This project won the science fair and garnered significant attention, leading to a job offer at MD Anderson Cancer Center before he even began college. This opportunity allowed him to work in a professional lab environment, nurturing his scientific skills and reinforcing his desire to pursue a career in research.


Overcoming Challenges in a Prejudiced Society
Pursuing a career in science during the 1970s presented unique challenges, especially as an African American. In a time when prejudice was prevalent, he attended Austin College in Sherman,
Texas, where African American students were a small minority. Throughout his academic and professional journey, he often found himself as the only Black individual in the room, whether in classrooms, laboratories, or conferences. Despite these obstacles, he was determined to excel. Support came from unexpected places, primarily from white colleagues and mentors who
recognized his talent and dedication. These relationships were instrumental in his success, demonstrating that solidarity and support can transcend racial barriers. He emphasizes the importance of focusing on one’s work and being excellent at what you do, regardless of the external challenges.


Contributions to Cancer Research

His career at MD Anderson Cancer Center spanned 45 years, during which he significantly contributed to cancer research. Initially focused on finding the causes of cancer, he worked on
projects investigating carcinogenic substances, such as yellow dye #2. His meticulous research and innovative approaches led to critical findings that influenced public health policies and practices. One of his notable achievements involved developing a liquid magnetic colloid to remove cancer cells from the body. Although the method required fresh preparation for each use, making it labor-intensive, it saved hundreds of lives. This groundbreaking work showcased his ability to translate scientific research into practical, life-saving applications.

Community Engagement and Mentorship

In addition to his professional accomplishments, he has been deeply committed to mentoring the next generation of scientists. Understanding the importance of representation and support, he has actively participated in job fairs and career days, inspiring young students to pursue careers in science. His presence and success as an African American scientist provided a powerful role model for students, particularly those from minority backgrounds. To further support young people, he founded the College Science Conservation Association. This organization helps high school students, particularly those from underrepresented backgrounds, gain the knowledge and skills needed to secure scholarships and pursue higher education in science-related fields. Th rough summer camps and year-round training, he exposes students to various outdoor careers and practical scientific applications, broadening their horizons and helping them see the potential beyond traditional corporate jobs.


Promoting Outdoor Education and Conservation

In his retirement, he has found a new passion for outdoor education and conservation.


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October 16, 2023, HOUSTON, TX – Congressional Candidate Amanda Edwards has raised over $1 million in less than 4 months, a substantial sum that helps bolster the frontrunner status of the former At-Large Houston City Council Member in her bid for U.S. Congress. Edwards raised over $433,000 in Q3 of 2023. This strong Q3 report expands on a successful Q2 where Edwards announced just 11 days after declaring her candidacy that she had raised over $600,000. With over $829,000 in cash-on-hand at the end of the September 30th financial reporting period, Edwards proves again that she is the clear frontrunner in the race. “I am beyond grateful for the strong outpouring of support that will help me to win this race and serve the incredible people of the 18th Congressional District,” said Edwards. “We are at a critical juncture in our nation’s trajectory, and we need to send servant leaders to Congress who can deliver the results the community deserves. The strong support from our supporters will help us to cultivate an 18th Congressional District where everyone in it can thrive.” Edwards said. “Amanda understands the challenges that the hard-working folks of the 18th Congressional District face because she has never lost sight of who she is or where she comes from; she was born and raised right here in the 18th Congressional District of Houston,” said Kathryn McNiel, spokesperson for Edwards’ campaign. Edwards has been endorsed by Higher Heights PAC, Collective PAC, Krimson PAC, and the Brady PAC. She has also been supported by Beto O’Rourke, among many others. About Amanda: Amanda is a native Houstonian, attorney and former At-Large Houston City Council Member. Amanda is a graduate of Eisenhower High School in Aldine ISD. Edwards earned a B.A. from Emory University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. Edwards practiced law at Vinson & Elkins LLP and Bracewell LLP before entering public service. Edwards is a life-long member of St. Monica Catholic Church in Acres Homes. For more information, please visit

As September 13th rolls around, we extend our warmest birthday wishes to the creative powerhouse, Tyler Perry, a man whose indomitable spirit and groundbreaking work have left an indelible mark on the world of entertainment. With his multifaceted talents as an actor, playwright, screenwriter, producer, and director, Tyler Perry has not only entertained but also inspired audiences worldwide, particularly within the African-American community, where his influence and role have been nothing short of powerful. Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1969, Tyler Perry’s journey to stardom was a path riddled with adversity. Raised in a turbulent household, he found refuge in writing, using it as a therapeutic outlet. This period of introspection gave rise to one of his most iconic creations, Madea, a vivacious, no-nonsense grandmother who would later become a beloved figure in Perry’s works, offering a unique blend of humor and profound life lessons. Despite facing numerous challenges, including rejection and financial struggles, Perry’s determination and unwavering belief in his abilities propelled him forward. In 1992, he staged his first play, “I Know I’ve Been Changed,” which, although met with limited success, was a pivotal moment in his career. Unfazed by initial setbacks, Perry continued to hone his craft, and by 1998, he had successfully produced a string of stage plays that showcased his storytelling prowess.

Calling all teenage student-athletes! If you have dreams of playing college soccer and wish to represent an HBCU, the HBCU ID Camp is your golden opportunity. From 8 am to 5 pm on November 11-12, Houston Sports Park will transform into a hub for aspiring male and female soccer players. Coaches from HBCUs across the nation will be present to evaluate, scout, and offer valuable feedback. Moreover, they might even spot the next soccer prodigy to join their collegiate soccer programs. This camp is not just about honing your soccer skills but also a chance to connect with the HBCU soccer community. You’ll learn the ins and outs of what it takes to excel on the field and in the classroom, which is crucial for a college athlete. The HBCU ID Camp is an excellent platform to network with coaches, learn from experienced athletes, and take the first steps toward your college soccer journey. To secure your spot at this incredible event, don’t forget to register [here](insert registration link). Space is limited to 120 participants, so make sure to reserve your place before it’s too late. It’s time to turn your dreams of playing college soccer into a reality.

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