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Ernest E. Just-Percy L. Julian Graduate Research Assistantship

Ernest E. Just-Percy L. Julian Graduate Research Assistantship












Ernest E. Just-Percy L. Julian Graduate Research Assistantship


This application is for the Ernest E. Just-Percy L. Julian Graduate Research Assistantships. The awardee of a Just-Julian Assistantship works with a faculty member, research scientist, administrator or team of such in support of research projects. Just-Julian Assistantships are highly competitive. All applicants must ensure they satisfy any additional departmental application requirements associated with a Just-Julian Assistantship.




The Just-Julian Assistantship is designed to give students an opportunity to gain experience in their respective academic field by working as a research assistant on a faculty member's or an administrator’s research project or on their own project under the close guidance of a faculty member.  This award is intended to assist in preparing graduate students to undertake their own future research endeavor(s) and also to provide an opportunity to secure supplemental financial assistance through grant funding and/or other external funding sources. 


Graduate Students are appointed to the title Just-Julian Scholars and are selected on the basis of academic achievement, research interest/potential, and serve as a trainee under the direction and supervision of a faculty member who has an ongoing research enterprise. The Just-Julian Assistantship does not involve teaching.



Applicants must be a graduate student in good academic standing with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.4 or higher, and who are:

< >enrolled full-timemaking good progress toward the degree (if a continuing student)must be endorsed by the dean of the respective school or collegemust be sponsored by a faculty, research scientist, or administrator actively involved in researchSubmit an essay of at least 300 words that describes: (1) what you hope to accomplish academically/personally through this Just-Julian Assistantship; and, (2) what are your academic, research and personal goals that will be accomplished if awarded the graduate research assistantship. Students proposing their own project must also provide a research project description. Provide (student) a Curriculum Vitae or Resume, including your research experience and other relevant experienceCurrent Transcripts (an unofficial transcription with be accepted)the overall scope of the research and the students’ role, the academic and research experience the student will receive; and, the amount and type of research supervision the student will receive.Just-Julian Graduate Research Assistant Position




To be considered for a Just-Julian Award at Howard University, please provide the following information:


Student ID:



Phone Number:

Current year in Graduate Program:

Field Concentration:

Subspecialty (if applies):


On a separate sheet, please respond to the following questions:

< >Briefly describe your research interests: Why do you want to be a graduate research assistant? What sort(s) of prior research experience do you have? Why should you be selected for a Just-Julian Assistantship? Is there a faculty member at Howard University who could speak favorably about you and your academic or research prowess? If so, please provide the faculty member’s name, e-mail address and phone number. (Note: you should secure permission from this faculty member to be used as a reference before submitting this application).  Is this the faculty member that you would like to do research with?



Ernest Everett Just (1883-1941) was a pioneering African-American biologist, academic and science writer.  Just graduated magna cum laude in biology in 1907 from Dartmouth College and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He accepted a position at Howard University, eventually being appointed Professor in the biology department in 1912. While at Howard, Just help to found Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. After Howard, he worked for many years at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. In 1916, he earned a doctorate in zoology from the University of Chicago. Unable to find work at any major American University, Just moved to Europe. From 1920 to 1931, he was a Julius Rosenwald Fellow in Biology of the National Research Council. Just’s primary legacy is his recognition of the fundamental role of the cell surface in the development of organisms. In his work within marine biology, cytology and parthenogenesis, he advocated the study of whole cells under normal conditions, rather than simply breaking them apart in a laboratory setting. Just pioneered many areas in physiology of development, including fertilization, experimental parthenogenesis, hydration, cell division, dehydration in living cells and ultraviolet carcinogenic radiation effects on cells. Getting little recognition in America, Just was one of the first African Americans to receive international recognition as a scientist.

Percy Lavon Julian (1899-1975) was a pioneer in the chemical synthesis of medicinal drugs such as cortisone, steroids and birth control pills. In 1923, he became the first African American to earn a master’s degree from Harvard University, but he was refused admission to its doctoral program. From 1927-31, Julian was appointed to associate professor and served as chair of the chemistry department. In 1931, he earned a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Vienna and was appointed to full professorship at Howard. Depauw University, Julian’s alma mater for his bachelor’s degree, awarded him a research fellowship during which he became an expert in synthesis. Despite his impressive accomplishments, Julian continued to face discrimination in academia, so he moved to the world of business. His discoveries included new uses of chemicals found in soybeans and processes for making artificial hormones and synthetic cortisone. In 1953, he established Julian Laboratories to produce synthetic steroids which pharmaceutical companies used to make drugs. He has more than 100 patents to his name and is widely recognized as an innovator who helped to make a range of medicines more affordable. For his contributions to humanity, Julian received 18 honorary degrees and more than a dozen civic and scientific awards; he was the second African American selected to the National Academy of Sciences and the first chemist.

Sources:  An Online Reference Guide to African American History Percy Julian

NOVA: Who was Percy Julian