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Friday, September 21, 2018
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Panelist Bio


Isiah M. Warner, PhD
Boyd Professor of Chemistry, LSU

Professor Isiah Warner is well known throughout the country for his research and mentoring efforts, even at the level of the White House, where he has received one of the first Presidential Young Investigator Awards from President Reagan in 1984 and a Presidential Mentoring Award in 1997 from President Clinton. The first presidential award is a research award and the second is best characterized as a humanitarian award. In aggregate, these two awards are representative of the wide spectrum of activities in which he is engaged. He is a recipient of other awards including the “1999 AAAS Lifetime Mentor Award,” and a similar national award from the world’s largest scientific society, i.e. the American Chemical Society. Dr. Warner is an internationally known scholar and researcher who has held chaired professorships at two major universities (Emory University and LSU). Professor Warner’s legacy with students is legendary! This is evident from the large number of awards that he has received for mentoring. For example, until Professor Warner came to LSU, the Chemistry department had never had more than three African-American students working toward a Ph.D. degree at any one time. This number now averages more than 30 for the past ten years. LSU is now ranked first in the nation in the production of African-American PhDs in chemistry. For example, LSU produced eight (18%) of the national production of forty-four African-American PhDs in the year 2000. During the last ten years, a little less than 10% of the African American Chemistry PhDs produced in the entire country have come from LSU. Furthermore, between the years of 2000 to 2004, twenty-five of the fifty-seven PhDs in chemistry at LSU were awarded to under-represented minorities, primarily African Americans.

Much of this effort was initiated during Professor Warner’s chairmanship of LSU’s Chemistry department, where he assisted in greatly increasing the influx and success of African-American students. Dr. Warner is also the founder and Vice Chancellor for the LSU Office of Strategic Initiatives (OSI) which was initiated in 2001. Since his initial academic appointment in chemistry at Texas A & M University in 1977, he has directly guided more than 300 high school and undergraduate students, more than 50 graduate students toward PhDs, and more than 40 post-doctoral scholars through the halls of academe. In addition, he has mentored hundreds of other students outside of his research group. Dr. Warner is well known for his effective recruiting and guiding students (particularly minority students) into chemistry, biology, and medicine. He interacts with many students of diverse backgrounds (economic, ethnic, cultural, gender, and religion) as well as diverse career paths. Many of his students/mentees have gone on to careers in chemistry, biology, medicine, and law.

Dr. Warner has been awarded more than 50 grants (more than 30 in Education), funded by the NSF, NIH, Louisiana, Department of Education Board of Regents and industry.

Current Topic


     09/18 - Revisiting Reform

Are the criminal justice reforms working as intended?
In 2017, Louisiana’s legislature passed the Justice Reinvestment Act, which sought to reduce the state’s highest-in-the-nation incarceration rate. The bill was championed by Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards and received bipartisan support including from community and business leaders. Now, just over a year later, the legislation has become a political football. State Attorney General Jeff Landry and Senator John Kennedy, both Republicans considering a run against Edwards in 2019, suggest that the reform package is a failure. They cite murders committed by two inmates released since the Act’s implementation.

Are the criminal justice reforms working as intended? Has the legislation put more residents in harm’s way or are plea deals part of the problem?

Louisiana Public Square looks for answers to these questions and more on “Revisiting Reform” Wednesday, September 26 at 7pm on LPB and in New Orleans on WLAE.

Our panelists are:
• E. Pete Adams, Executive Director, La. District Attorneys Association
• Alanah Hebert, ACLU of Louisiana & Justice Reinvestment Task Force
• Andrew Hundley, Louisiana Parole Project
• Sec. Jimmy LeBlanc, La. Department of Corrections

The program features interviews with Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry; Rep. Terry Landry, D- New Iberia, with the Justice Reinvestment Oversight Council; Deputy Assistant Secretary Natalie Laborde, with the Louisiana Department of Corrections; and Stephanie Riegel, editor of the Baton Rouge Business Report.

LPB CEO, Beth Courtney and professor Robert Mann with the LSU Manship School of Mass Communication host the show.

Louisiana Public Square can also be heard on public radio stations WRKF in Baton Rouge; Red River Radio in Shreveport and Monroe; and WWNO in New Orleans. Check their station websites for schedule.

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Special Presentation


     05/16 - Louisiana Veterans Coming Home

What challenges do our returning veterans face?

Coming Soon!


     10/18 - Louisiana Veterans Back Home

What are the programs and initiatives helping our veterans successfully transition to civilian life?

Recent Topics


     08/18 - The Power of Reading

How can we make inroads to improve adult literacy in Louisiana and champion a joy of reading from pre-school into adulthood?

     07/18 - Preventing Suicide

How is Louisiana addressing its suicide problem?

     06/18 - Louisiana: Sportsman’s Paradise or Problem?  (ENCORE)

Is Louisiana a Sportsman’s Paradise or Problem?

     05/18 - News About the News

How can viewers distinguish between fact and fake news and is social media blurring the difference?
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