National Institute on Aging

Five African American Faculty Members Honored With Prestigious Awards

Paul C. Clement, a professor of economics and chair of the department of social sciences at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, has been selected as the Higher Education Member of the Year by the New York State United Teachers, an organization of more than 600,000 members who are in, or retired from, New York’s schools, colleges, and health care facilities.

Dr. Clement is a graduate of Brooklyn College of the City University of New York. He holds a master’s degree in economics from Brooklyn College, and a master’s degree and a Ph.D. both in politics from New School University in New York.

Tressie McMillan Cottom, an assistant professor in the department of sociology in the College of Humanities and Sciences at Virginia Commonwealth University, is the recipient of the Doris Entwisle Early Career Award from the American Sociological Association. The biennial award honors an early career scholar in the field of sociology of education who has demonstrated exceptional achievement that has advanced knowledge in the field. Dr. Cottom is a leading expert in the study of inequality, work, higher education, and technology. She is the author of Lower Ed: The Troubling Rise of For-Profit Colleges in the New Economy (The New Press, 2017), and Thick: And Other Essays (The New Press, 2019).

Dr. Cottom holds a Ph.D. from Emory University in Atlanta.

Mary Atwater, a professor in the mathematics and science education department in the College of Education at the University of Georgia, has received the 2019 Distinguished Contributions to Science Education Through Research Award from the National Association for Research in Science Teaching. The award recognizes an individual whose research has made outstanding and continuing contributions and whose leadership has made a substantial impact in the area of science education.

Dr. Atwater is a graduate of Methodist University in Fayetteville, North Carolina, where she majored in chemistry. She holds a master’s degree in physical organic chemistry from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Ph.D. in science education with a minor in chemistry from North Carolina State University.

Ronke Olabisi, an assistant professor of biomedical engineering at Rutgers University in New Jersey, received a WiSTEM2D (Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, Manufacturing, and Design) award from Johnson & Johnson. Her research focuses on tissue engineering and regenerative medicine to repair or build de novo tissues for treating defects due to injury, disease, aging, or spaceflight. Her currently project aims to develop a new hydrogel that can be placed over an injury and constantly deliver insulin and stem cell growth factors for faster skin and tissue growth.

Dr. Olabisi is a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she majored in mechanical engineering. She holds a master’s degree in mechanical engineering and a master’s degree in aeronautical engineering both from the University of Michigan, and a Ph.D. biomedical engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Connie Dacus, an instructor of pedagogy in the department of health, physical education, and recreation at Alabama State University, has been named the Physical Educator of the Year Award from the Alabama State Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance. She is honored for a lifetime of work as a physical educator. Throughout her career, she has served as an advocate for schools and universities to model and monitor the delivery of quality physical education instruction to every student.

Dacus holds a bachelor’s degree in health and physical education and a master’s degree in physical education both from Alabama State University.


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