Della Bell


Connecting from Generation to Generation:
Testimonies of Perseverance

Thank you to Dr. Jacqueline Brannon Giles, who contributed this post.

Those who love to study often find themselves alone, with their subject, paper, pen or computer. In order to reach excellence, you sometimes have to separate yourself from others and focus on the content of your subject matter, especially if the subject is science, technology, engineering and technology. These areas are called STEM professions and the percentage of African American men and women still is a concern at the national level because many students fail to persist and to navigate their way to advanced degrees in the STEM professions.

For years, Dr. Della Bell has been instrumental in encouraging women and minorities in STEM, especially in mathematics. She is a longtime member of NAM, NCTM and MAA. She recently lost her husband Albert and they were married 46 years. Her daughter is a medical doctor and her son is an engineer with an MBA in finance from Duke University.

Dr. Della Bell and I have been having luncheon meetings for several months, and now we have decided to include a few other young scholars to interview us and to engage in honest conversations about our journey as educators and mathematicians. Our first mentee is Seneca Dunmore, a doctoral student in Educational Administration at Texas Southern University. Seneca is a scholar, and she has traveled all over the world serving others and honing her skills in administration, communications and motivational speaking. Seneca’s bachelors degree was earned at Tuskegee where she majored in Biology.   The picture above has Seneca on the left, Dr. Bell in the middle and Dr. Giles on the right.

If you hear Seneca’s testimony you hear a young woman who is determined to achieve excellence and to contribute to society. She has overcome many obstacles, including medical and social challenges. I was so inspired by her testimony that I encouraged her to meet Dr. Della Bell, who, too, is a scholarly, determined and a powerful professional who has been blessed with a balanced life, including a marriage of 46 years.

The goal of our meeting was to connect with the next generation of scholars and to share how connectivity and collaboration enhance and accelerate the achievement of great goals.

During our meeting we discussed our collaboration to implement a Calculus Reform project co-administered by West Point (United States Military Academy). An opportunity to express gratitude and to share intricate details of how we negotiated the powerful project was illuminating to the young scholar.

We left the meeting with a sense of accomplishment. We decided to have sessions like the one we had on December 12, 2015, at IHOP, in order to impart the knowledge and inspiration that may help to accelerate the achievements of the next generation.  The Hebrew phrase “l dor v dor” means from generation to generation. Indeed, connecting from generation to generation can help to encourage perseverance to achieve heights that are farther advanced than the previous generation.

I believe this approach will be foundational, dense and connected to help promote and support the aspiring scholars of the future.

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13 Responses to Della Bell

  1. Pingback: Beyond Banneker: Resources for Learning about Black Mathematicians – Study Score Calc

  2. Simone D Peters says:

    Hello! I am Simone Massingill, formerly Simone Peters. Dr Della Bell was my professor at Texas Southern University back in the 80’s. Dr. Bell impressed me from the start and her influence on my life and career choice has been far reaching. I was pleasantly surprised to run across this article in my search for Dr. Bell. I am searching for her as I am a retired Math teacher as of June 31st of this year and I ‘d like to invite her to my retirement reception. If you could get me in touch with her I would really appreciate it.Thanks.

  3. Da'drion says:

    Lookin for her teacher made me realize that nothing is never to late and she accomplished another one of her goal by find her teacher after all these years

  4. Tatyana says:

    I found the article very inspiring and I loved how Dr.Bell was incouraging women in the STEM program. This shows that hard work and dedication can make the dream work .

  5. Vernasia Lee says:

    Ms.Peters comment was great because she tried to connect with her professor and express how her professor impacted her career. Even I still connect with my old teachers I loved in middle school. I feel like I’d connect with my professors too after I graduate!

  6. Daja Bernard says:

    This comment was very heart-warming. Because you don’t really come across a lot of teachers that leaves a life long affect on you. I hope to one day come back looking for Ms.Giles

  7. Fayjia Whiteide says:

    I feel that Simone’s must’ve really liked and admired Dr.Bell she had a really great connection with her .

  8. Blessing Christmas says:

    This story was truly inspiring! Unbelievable how 39 years after, a professor’s impact still touched the live of a former student. Simone’s comment really showed that no matter the years that go by, people still remember the type of impact you had on their lives . ~Blessing Christmas

  9. Tyanna moore says:

    This article is good because it shows us how the professors left a positive impact on the students

  10. Tania Daniels says:

    I think this article was amazing because it shows us that teachers /professors can have a postive impact on there students .

  11. Simone Peters comment was inspiring, because i believe in my future career i may also reach out to my highschool or college teachers and thank them for my accomplishments.

  12. Elaysia Thornton says:

    It touched me that Simone came across her teacher and how so much time has passed and her teacher still has an big impact on her life. I’m sure it is a great feeling for her teacher.

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