Four Black Scholars Elected to the National Academy of Sciences

The National Academy of Sciences recently announced the election of 100 new members and 25 foreign associates in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.

Those elected this year bring the total number of active members of the National Academy of Sciences to 2,347 and the total number of foreign associates to 487. Foreign associates are nonvoting members of the Academy, with citizenship outside the United States.

The National Academy of Sciences does not publish data on the race or ethnicity of its members. But according to a JBHE analysis of the group of 100 new members from the United States, it appears that four are African Americans. Thus, Blacks make up 4 percent of the new membership.

Despite this low percentage, this year’s results are an improvement from recent years. In 2018, there were no African Americans among the 84 new members. In both 2016 and 2017, there was only one African American scholar among the new members.

Here are brief biographies of the new African American members:

Squire J. Booker is the Evan Pugh University Professor of Chemistry and professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at Pennsylvania State University. Professor Booker is a graduate of Austin College in Texas, where he majored in chemistry. He holds a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Paula T. Hammond is the David H. Koch (1962) Professor of Engineering and head of the department of chemical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She holds a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering and a Ph.D. from MIT. Dr. Hammond earned a master’s degree at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Paul E. Turner is the Elihu Professor in the department of ecology and evolutionary biology at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. Dr. Turner is a graduate of the University of Rochester in New York, where he majored in biology. He holds a Ph.D. in microbial ecology and evolution from Michigan State University.

David R. Williams is the Florence and Laura Norman Professor of Public Health, and professor of African and African American studies and sociology at Harvard University. Dr. Williams holds a master of public health degree from Loma Linda University in California and a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Michigan.


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