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DAA: Tuajuanda C. Jordan

Tuajuanda Jordan

Tuajuanda C. Jordan

Chevy Chase, MD | Distinguished Ag Alumni: 2008

Marking Tuajuanda Jordan’s journey — from studying chemistry as an undergraduate at Fisk University to collaborating with world-class scientists and educators as Senior Program Officer for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute — lie a trio of clearly marked pointers: Patience, passion, and perseverance. Patience was honed at Purdue, where adapting from a small, liberal arts college to a Big Ten university with 30,000 students took months. But a passion for biochemistry blossomed, an energy that defines her extraordinary career. Throughout 11 years at Xavier University in New Orleans, Jordan advanced from an assistant professor of chemistry to the university’s Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs. Her tenure was characterized by a focus on undergraduate research and a commitment to fostering an increase of under-represented ethnic groups in scientific careers. Following Hurricane Katrina’s wrath in August 2005, she and her teenage twins made the difficult decision to relocate near her parent’s home in D.C. — a move that reconnected her to colleagues at Howard Hughes Medical Institute. From temporary offices at the institute, she worked electronically to facilitate Xavier’s reopening in January 2006, and to establish a program that provided sabbaticals for over 50 Xavier faculty. As Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Senior Program Officer, Jordan’s most compelling mission is the launch of a multi-million dollar, four-year Science Education Alliance Program, which will create and introduce a national research course for freshman at 12 colleges and universities nationwide. “There’s nothing like seeing students’ faces when they discover something that’s truly theirs, and realize they’re thinking like scientists,” says Jordan. Jordan was the first in her family to pursue higher education, and the first African American woman to earn a Ph.D. from Purdue’s Biochemistry Department. “In addition to the process of science, Purdue University offered valuable exposure to the culture of science. These life tools gave me confidence in my skills, and enabled me to accept challenges without hesitation.”