Barbara Akum, Ph.D.

Dr. Barbara F. Akum is a founding executive member of the Pan-African Higher Education Initiative Foundation (PAHEi). The organization benefits from her unique experience at top tier U.S. higher education institutions.
Dr. Akum began her tenure as a science educator while engaged in graduate studies at Rutgers University. She was involved in understanding how neural connections are formed in the brain. During this time, she volunteered to tutor biology to undergraduate students. She worked closely with underrepresented minorities and young women like herself providing them with a familiar environment to discuss scientific discourse. She worked in many supplemental instruction programs designed to increase the recruitment and academic success of underrepresented students, as well as educationally and economically disadvantaged students. Her passion has always lied in increasing health science scholars in her community.
Upon graduating from Rutgers with a doctorate in Cell and Developmental Biology, Dr. Akum went on to increase her research experience by working in National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and the Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute (AFRRI). She has been involved in some of the cutting-edge research in immunology and infectious diseases.
After almost ten years involved in research, Dr. Akum followed her passion for working with students and took a position as Assistant Professor in Biology. With more than fifteen years of experience teaching biology related courses to students of different backgrounds, Dr. Akum is currently the Director of the Teaching Laboratories in the Biology department at New York University (NYU) and continues to work in empowering women, minority communities, and students to strive for the best of what higher education can offer.
Dr. Akum holds a PHD in Cell and Developmental Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, in the State of New Jersey. She also holds a master’s in Biotechnology/Genetic Engineering from Kean University. Dr. Akum is fluent in English, and French. She currently lives in New Jersey with her family.