When The Field Is Level

In California, minority students are cascading out of top schools and into the second tier. Is this good for them?

The African-American science majors eating lunch in a University of California Irvine dining hall are on the brink of brilliant careers. Aisha Kennedy, a chemistry major, has done ozone research with a Nobel-prizewinning professor. John Williams, a biology major, is off to Kenya this summer for a project on malaria transmission. And Brian McCurtis, a computer-science major with a summer job at Novell, is seeing years of hard work pay off. "I'd say my biggest problem is sifting through the job offers," he says. "There's been no job hunting for me."

It seems things have never been better for minorities on...

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