Nine inducted into graduate honor society

Bouchet fellows
Bouchet fellows Kenneth Hernández-Burgos, Christine Akoh, Tiffany Williams, Melissa Toledo, Holly Lutz, Simone White, Juan Guzman, Amandianeze Nwana.

Nine Cornell doctoral candidates were inducted into the Cornell chapter of the Edward A. Bouchet Graduate Honor Society in April.

The 2015 Bouchet fellows are: Christine Akoh (nutrition), Juan Guzman (biologicial and environmental engineering), Kenneth Hernandez-Burgos (chemistry and chemical biology), Holly Lutz (ecology and evolutionary biology), Amandianeze Nwana (electrical and computer engineering), Erica Pratt (biomedical engineering), Melissa Toledo (molecular and integrative physiology), Tiffany Williams (materials science and engineering) and Simone White (genetics, genomics and development).

Nwana won the Bouchet Graduate Honor Society's research award in the sciences for his research presentation at the Bouchet Conference.

The scholars were inducted at the annual Yale Bouchet Conference on Diversity and Graduate Education at Yale University.

The Bouchet Society recognizes outstanding scholarly achievement and promotes diversity and excellence in doctoral education and the professoriate. Its network of pre-eminent scholars exemplifies academic and personal excellence, character, service and advocacy for students who have been traditionally underrepresented in the academy.

"These nine scholars were chosen because they embody the qualities of Edward A. Bouchet and fulfill the five principles that are the pillars of the Bouchet Graduate Honor Society – scholarship, character, leadership, service and advocacy," said Sara Xayarath Hernández, associate dean for inclusion and student engagement in the Graduate School, who coordinates the Cornell chapter of the Bouchet Society.

Christine Holmes, director of Cornell’s Office of Postdoctoral Studies; Florencia Ardón, previous Bouchet inductee; and Cindy Grey, events and program coordinator, prepared the chosen scholars by hosting a session March 2, "How To Get the Most From the Bouchet Conference," which focused on networking and presentation skills.

Hernández notes that induction into the Bouchet Society is not a one-time honor. The inductees are part of a broader network of scholars at Cornell and across Bouchet member institutions that continue to carry forward the principles of the society throughout their academic and professional lives. At Cornell, Bouchet Society members will soon come together to define what will become the chapter’s hallmark service activities, which will broaden the impact of the society on Cornell and local communities.

Yale and Howard universities established the Bouchet Society in 2005 to recognize the life and academic contributions of Bouchet, the first African-American to earn a doctorate from a U.S. university. He earned a doctorate in physics from Yale in 1876.

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Joe Schwartz