Student Darius Devlin Is a Grateful Recipient of The Dr. Cleon C. Arrington Scholarship for the Sciences

Darius Devlin figured he’d have to wait a while to get involved in serious research. Coming out of high school, he wanted to explore the genetic links to disorders such as Down syndrome and diabetes; Darius figured he might have to wait until graduate school to see the inside of a lab. That was before he came to Georgia State University and met Zehava Eichenbaum, an associate professor of biology.

Darius Devlin

Biology major Darius Devlin

“I didn’t really know that undergraduates were allowed to do research,” he remembers, “and when I met her I was still only a sophomore. She said, ‘You don’t have any background in microbiology.’ I said, ‘No, I haven’t taken a class yet, but I’m really interested in getting into a lab.’ So she took a chance on me and let me into her lab. Then when they found out how interested I was, they started putting me on projects, and she’s been a great mentor.”

Darius is one of the first recipients of the Dr. Cleon C. Arrington Memorial Scholarship in the Sciences. Endowed by Arrington’s family in 2010, the scholarship pays tribute to Georgia State’s former vice president for research and sponsored programs. After blazing trails as one of very few African-American research scientists in the 1960s, Arrington returned to academia to help open up those opportunities to more minority students.

Those efforts have presented opportunities for such students as Sheneeka Ward, another recipient of the Arrington Scholarship. Inspired by an interest in video-game design in middle school, Sheneeka is majoring in computer science at Georgia State — and exploring a wide range of post-graduation opportunities.

“This summer I’m attending an undergrad research experience at Iowa State University,” Sheneeka says. “I’ve also been looking at opportunities at NASA — they have this area where you can apply for research internships, and I heard that’s also a good way to get started with NASA. That’s also a goal of mine.”

Sheneeka and Darius were recognized as Arrington Scholars at the College of Arts and Sciences Honors Night in 2013. Being honored by mentors and scientists he’d come to know and respect, Darius says, made the night unforgettable.

“I’d been doing research with them for a while, and I was also a supplemental instruction leader, so they introduced me and asked me to stand,” he remembers. “It was really mind-blowing because the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences was there, all these distinguished professors there, peers who have accomplished so much — to be accepted into that group is an amazing experience.”