Ayodele Thomas, PhD

Executive Dir., Greene Scholars






January 25, 2019




The 17th Annual Frank S. Greene Scholars Science Fair
And Awards Ceremony at Stanford University


Stanford, CA (January 25, 2019) - The 17th Frank S. Greene Scholars Science Fair and Gala is the annual gathering of families, dedicated volunteers, and corporate sponsors to support and celebrate African-American youth in grades 3-12 in the Bay Area that takes place at Stanford University on February 2, 2019.  Energized by the legacy of black tech pioneer, Dr. Frank S. Greene, The Greene Scholars Program continues to instill the innovation, higher learning, and the power of community to strengthen the next generation of scholars passionate about science and ready to become the next leaders of Silicon Valley and beyond.


The Frank S. Greene Scholars Science Fair, held this year at Stanford’s Arillaga Alumni Center, is the largest African-American science fair in California.  Scholars will stand before a team of judges representing leading Silicon Valley companies and hundreds of attendees to share their findings on a wide range of scientific categories including physical science, life science, math and engineering as well as emerging technologies. The scholars adhere to scientific methodology and experimental design.  Scholars also conduct independent research in order to demonstrate a clear and in-depth understanding of their chosen area of exploration. Last year, over 140

students showcased their projects at the 16th annual science fair.   








Saturday, February 2, 2019

Science Fair Public Viewing 12:45pm – 1:45pm, FREE

Awards Ceremony Begins at 3:30pm, tickets $50

Science Fair – Stanford University, Arillaga Alumni Center

Awards Ceremony – Stanford University, Arillaga Alumni Center

The science fair culminates in a special Awards Ceremony to honor participants, award medals for exceptional work, and award scholarships to the 2019 graduating seniors. Seniors are poised for college attendance as 100% of our 90+ alumni have matriculated into college with a Greene Scholars Program sponsored scholarship.




The Dr. Frank S. Greene Scholars Program ( helps youth of African ancestry in San Francisco Bay Area communities successfully complete for higher education in science, technology, engineering and/or math(STEM), and serve as positive role models and contributors to their communities.  The Greene Scholars Program has been serving the community since 2001, has engaged more than 400 students and their families, 100% of our scholar’s matriculate to college, half of our scholars are female, and nearly 60% of our scholars pursue STEM fields and careers.  The Greene Scholars program is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.



Dr. Frank S. Greene, Jr., will be remembered as a scientist, an educator, a parent, a mentor, a venture capitalist, an entrepreneur and the role model for the Dr. Frank S. Greene Scholars Program. Dr. Frank S. Greene, Jr., was one of the first African-American pioneering technologists of Silicon Valley. He was among the first black students to attend college at Washington University in St. Louis where he obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering. He continued his education and earned a Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering at Purdue University. After earning his Master’s, he served four years in the U.S. Air Force and became an Air Force captain. In 1970, he completed his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering at Santa Clara University.



Dr. Ayodele Thomas earned her Bachelor of Electrical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology, graduating with Highest Honors. She received her M.S. and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University as a National Science Foundation and Stanford Graduate Fellow, becoming in 2005 the first Black woman at Stanford to receive a Ph.D. in electrical engineering. Since her college days serving on the national board for the National Society of Black Engineers, Ayodele’s passion has been increasing the undergraduate pipelines for minority students in the sciences and engineering and working to increase minority representation in doctoral education and the professoriate.  For 13 years Ayodele worked for as the Assistant Dean for Diversity Programs, Data and & Technology at Stanford University. In that role, Ayodele provided leadership for initiatives which increase the diversity of the graduate student population. She is currently the Associate Dean for Graduate & Career Education and Diversity for Stanford University Biosciences. She served as a parent volunteer for the CAAAE Greene Scholars Program for two years before becoming the Executive Director in 2015. Ayodele has used her faith along with her dedication to excellence and education to help transform organizations through the strategic use of technology and development of administrative infrastructures. For full bio, please visit:




Debra Watkins was born in Los Angeles and raised in Pomona, California. She earned a B.A. in English with minors in French and Psychology from Pitzer College in 1976. She then entered Stanford University's Teacher Education Program and earned a Master's degree in Education as well as Life-time Teaching Credentials in English, French and Psychology in 1977. A second Master's degree in Counselor Education was granted in 1996.  Debra had spent her entire career of 35 years in the East Side Union High School District (ESUHSD) of San Jose before retiring in May 2012. Debra taught high school English for 14 years, then helped start an alternative high school called Pegasus. After eight years at Pegasus, she coordinated Project WORD (Working on Refining our Destiny) - a culturally responsive intervention program for African American students.


As of July 2007, she is the full-time Executive Director of the California Alliance of African American Educators (CAAAE), an organization she founded in 2001, as well as its president. Debra was also one of the founders of the Santa Clara County Alliance of Black Educators approximately 30 years ago and served as its president for seven years (1994-2001). In 2007, the CAAAE partnered with the ESUHSD and garnered a four-year, $400,000 grant from the AT&T Foundation's Aspire program to fully implement Project WORD at Oak Grove High School. This grant was to ensure the on-time graduation of a cohort of African American freshmen. Project WORD was highly-successful and is a model for districts seeking to close the opportunity gap and reduce high school dropout rates. When Debra established the CAAAE in 2001, she also created the Dr. Frank S. Greene Scholars Program (GSP).  For full bio, please visit:






Ayodele Thomas, PhD,

Executive Director, Greene Scholars

Phone: 408.757.0477







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