Office: Department of Biological Sciences University of South Carolina
Dr. Ely is a professor at the University of South Carolina (USC) and a molecular geneticist with 32 years of experience in DNA technology. He has published more than 100 scientific papers and technical reports and has trained approximately 150 students in his research laboratory. Many of these students are African-Americans who have gone on to productive careers in teaching or research.
In addition to his work at the University of South Carolina, Dr. Ely has organized and run after school tutorial programs for African-American students since 1993. In 1998, Dr. Ely and his wife Tracey founded One-on-One Tutoring to provide extra academic help to the children in a low income neighborhood of Columbia, SC. Currently, they recruit and train more than 50 volunteer tutors per semester. These tutors help during the day in five schools and in a handful of after school programs. As a result of these efforts, the Elys have become liaisons between the community and the schools and are frequently asked to serve on local and school district planning committees. In addition, they run a neighborhood homework center and lending library for K-8 children in their home during the school year. During the summer, they run summer camps at several neighborhood locations where K-5 students improve their reading and math skills through a variety of hands on activities including cooking and carpentry projects. The Ely's efforts have been remarkably successful at motivating children to do better in school and helping under-performing students to catch up in reading and math. They personally work with more than 20 children on a regular basis and have sparked a desire to do well in school among the entire group. Grades have increased significantly for almost everyone in the group and reading levels are progressing steadily upward.
Dr. Ely is the treasurer of Capital City Church, a multicultural church in the heart of a low-income neighborhood in Columbia, SC. He also coordinates the activities of the church's food pantry. Capital City Church provides food to families who need assistance and once a month, delivers food to senior citizens in a low-income retirement community that is adjacent to the church.