This year's group of "emerging scholars" is a force to be reckoned with. The audacity of their excellence inspires everyone around them, and we at Diverse cannot help but marvel at this extraordinary ensemble of academicians. This diverse group of young (under-40) crusaders is pushing the boundaries of research, technology and public policy in ways never imagined and reaching new heights of accomplishments.

The Class of 2009 includes a physiologist who devised an artificial pancreas to produce the insulin that diabetics' bodies cannot reject; a saxophoneplaying physicist who examines the existence of invisible matter; and an electrical engineer and former NASA researcher who works in the area of humanized intelligence and robotics.

Although our scholars are accomplished, accolades and achievement are a small fraction of what makes them so exceptional. Looking beyond the awards, Diverse reporters discovered stories of challenge and perseverance as well as hobbies and family traditions that tell us more about how these scholars round out their days.

This year's crop of award-winning scholars was chosen by Diverse staff and in some cases nominated by colleagues. Some of our scholars benefited from a mentor; others sought inspiration elsewhere. Some attended minority-serving institutions, and a few are graduates of Ivy League schools. All are trailblazers. All are exceptional. Read all about them on the following pages.