Four Tubas, a Guitar, and a Gallery of Cheerleaders is about my growth, maturity, and life journeys that interconnected me with people who encouraged, motivated, and criticized my steps with love, compassion, and care. Readers will get a glimpse of my sojourn as a person and an inside look at the importance of good mentor relationships in the development of a young African-American (Black) man, with a desire to earn a Ph.D. My broader goal is to inspire others to look more closely at their own lives and take time to honor those, who have made a difference. This book is written as a way to say thanks and serves to connect my life through their impact. The backdrop of my journey will be lessons learned and how my successes were encouraged, while my limitations were addressed with constructive criticism, kindness, and unconditional love. I chose Four Tubas a Guitar and a Gallery of Cheerleaders, as part of the principal title, to signify my musical background and its impact on my life. One of the primary bonds for several of my mentors was that we all studied and played the same instrument, the tuba, which in my opinion is the greatest instrument in the world. The second part of the principal title, A Gallery of Cheerleaders, symbolizes the encouragement I received over the years from my biggest fans and support network. My cheerleaders consisted of people from all walks of life and experiences. The subtitle Transition in the Life of a Black Ph.D. is self-explanatory, as is my usual writing style, but describes my experiences as an African-American man in pursuit of higher education and my share of the American Dream.
Dr. Sederick Charles Rice was born and raised in Pine Bluff, Arkansas and graduated from Pine Bluff High School in 1990. He was always interested in science and music so after high school he attended the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. From 1990-1994, he earned a B. S. degree in Biology and performed with the Marching Musical Machine of the Mid-South. Dr. Rice then pursued an M. S. degree in Biology from Delaware State University (DSU), from 1994-1996, and performed with the DSU Approaching Storm band. From 1996-2003, he furthered his studies at the University of Vermont and achieved a Ph. D. in Cellular and Molecular Biology, with special emphasis in Pediatric Oncology and Environmental Toxicology. Dr. Rice was selected as an American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Minority Scholar in 1998/2002 and did foundational research on the genotoxic effects of chemotherapy in children with acute lymphocytic leukemia. In 2003, Dr. Rice was selected as one of Ebony magazine's "Young Leaders of the Future" and featured in the magazine's February 2003 issue. Following his doctoral studies, Dr. Rice accepted a post-doctoral appointment with the National Center for Environmental Assessment (NCEA) in Washington, D. C. as a Research Biologist/Toxicologist in the Effects Identification Characterization Group. In 2006, Dr. Rice became a public school teacher, at Bowie High School, in Prince George's County Public Schools (PGCPS) and now teaches Biology, Microbiology, and Anatomy & Physiology. He has worked extensively with the New England Board of Higher Education (NEBHE) and the Biomedical Sciences Careers Programs (BSCP), to promote opportunities for students interested in biomedical science fields and careers. Dr. Rice is now an Assistant Professor of Biology at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. His keys to success are a strong relationship with God, powerful mentor relationships, and a close network of family and friends.