Johns Hopkins University was inducted as an institutional member of the Edward Alexander Bouchet Graduate Honor Society in April 2018. Named for the first African American in the United States to receive a PhD, the Edward A. Bouchet Graduate Honor Society seeks to develop a network of pre-eminent scholars who exemplify academic and personal excellence, foster environments of support, and serve as examples of scholarship, leadership, character, service, and advocacy for students who traditionally have been underrepresented in higher education. It was co-founded in 2005 by Yale University—where Bouchet, a physicist and educator earned his doctorate in 1876—and Howard University to recognize and continue Bouchet’s pioneering contributions to doctoral education.
Johns Hopkins has selected its first class of PhD student inductees to the Bouchet Honor Society. These students exemplify the Bouchet qualities of outstanding scholarly achievement and the promotion of diversity and excellence in doctoral education and the professoriate.
Biochemistry, Cellular and Molecular Biology
Jawara Allen is a candidate for the combined MD and PhD in biochemistry, cellular and molecular biology at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. His research focuses on elucidating how Bacteroides fragilis, a gut microbe found in up to 60% of healthy individuals, contributes to the development of colorectal cancer. Jawara received a bachelor of science in biology from Duke University with a focus on genome sciences and policy. As a Reginaldo Howard Memorial Scholar he organized lectures and events centered around issues of racial disparities and inequality. Afterwards, he worked at the National Institutes of Health as an NIAD INRO fellow and learned more about health disparities as a part of the NIH academy. Jawara has been recognized as an HHMI EXROP scholar and an HHMI Gilliam Fellow. Throughout his time at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Jawara has worked with various organizations to mentor and advocate for individuals underrepresented in science and medicine including MERIT, Thread, the Gertrude Stein Society, the Student National Medical Association and the Post-baccalaureate Research Education Program. Jawara plans to pursue a career as a physician scientist, working on issues related to infectious diseases in both the clinic and the laboratory.
Blaine M. Connor
Cell, Molecular, Developmental Biology, and Biophysics
Blaine M. Connor is a Ph.D. candidate in biology with a focus on neurobiology of the sympathetic nervous system. His research addresses fundamental questions of how essential signaling proteins are transported to their sites of action in polarized sympathetic neurons during nervous system development. Blaine is a recipient of the Nathan Boggs Memorial Fellowship for underrepresented graduate students with academic merit, as well as the Victor Corces Teaching Award for outstanding teaching as a teaching assistant at Johns Hopkins University. Blaine received a Bachelor of Science in biochemistry from Kutztown University of Pennsylvania, where he graduated Magna cum Laude. Blaine has an insatiable curiosity for science and is humble about learning. Blaine is a committed mentor who genuinely enjoys applying his time and effort toward teaching junior students; he is specifically committed to advocating for diversity in STEM fields and identifying avenues to increase opportunities for young, underrepresented students in these disciplines. Blaine volunteers his time toward student recruitment at undergraduate focused conferences such as the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students, and professional development conferences at local universities in Baltimore. Ultimately, Blaine aspires to run his own research group one day, working to better understand how neuro-metabolism influences animal physiology.
Sabianca Delva is a PhD candidate at the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing. She is also a recipient of the Ruth Kirschtein F31 fellowship grant from the National Institutes of Health to fund her doctoral work. Her research focuses on using mobile health technologies such as Fitbits and smartphone apps for management of cardiovascular diseases in Latinos using a community participatory approach. This process is firmly rooted in the belief that engaging the community will be the key to developing viable solutions to the ever-evolving challenges in health care. Sabianca has years of clinical experience and has witnessed firsthand the hardships immigrants undergo navigating the US healthcare system. The non-English speaking patients often experience structural, cultural and linguistic barriers when accessing the health care system, especially for self-care management of cardiovascular diseases. Because of her commitment to helping the Latino community, Sabianca has received several accolades including poster awards at the annual Hopkins Diversity Symposia and the Center for Disease Control Latino Health forum. Sabianca has also been an active leader on campus and served as the Newsletter Chair for the Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Honor Society. She was also Vice President and President of the PhD Student Association, where she helped to organize professional development programs and promote collegiality among her peers. Sabianca pays it forward by mentoring high school students from underrepresented backgrounds in Baltimore City. Her excellent academic record, dynamic leadership and contribution to the community make her the ideal candidate for the Bouchet Society.
Biochemistry, Cellular and Molecular Biology
Sara Haile grew up in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and moved to San Jose, California when she was 15. The cross world move was a culture shock in many ways, including realizing the importance and power of seeing people who look like her being successful. While working on her degrees in Bioengineering and Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology at the University of California, Santa Cruz (go banana slugs!), Sara developed her two passions: structural biology research and encouraging those underrepresented in science to enter and be successful in STEM. Her interests were fostered by the STEM Diversity Programs, where she received basic scientific training but more importantly, was provided with an environment of driven people with similar backgrounds. When Sara was looking for graduate programs, she sought out a similar atmosphere. Upon arriving at Hopkins, she joined the Biomedical Scholars Association (BSA), the largest student group that supports underrepresented minority graduate students. BSA provided her with a space and community where she feels comfortable expressing herself, and discussing things like imposter syndrome and stereotype threat. Now Sara is president for the BSA and works hard to ensure that underrepresented minority graduate students feel comfortable and supported to succeed.
History of Medicine
Ayah Nuriddin is a PhD candidate in History of Medicine at Johns Hopkins University. She is currently a Dissertation Fellow at the Consortium for the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine (CHSTM). She was a Graduate Fellow in the Center for Medical Humanities and Social Medicine at Johns Hopkins University in 2017-18. She holds a Masters in History and Masters of Library Science (MLS) from the University of Maryland, College Park. Her dissertation, entitled “Liberation Eugenics: African Americans and the Science of Black Freedom Struggles, 1890-1970,” analyzes African American engagement with eugenics, hereditarian thought, and racial science as part of a broader strategy of racial improvement and black liberation. Ayah aspires to use her scholarship and activism to create space for diverse voices and experiences in the academy.
Maria del Carmen Vitery (Posthumous Inductee)
Cellular and Molecular Physiology
Maria del Carmen Vitery was born in Peru and migrated to the U.S. as a teen. She obtained her B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology with honors from the University of Maryland Baltimore County and her M.S. in Biotechnology from Johns Hopkins. Maria matriculated in the Cellular and Molecular Physiology program at Hopkins in 2016, where she was a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service awardee and made seminal contributions to the understanding of novel chloride channels. Maria’s citizenship and service was exemplary. She was a volunteer on medical missions with the Peruvian American Medical society, Vice President of Policy for the Hopkins Graduate Student Association, Public Relations Chair of the Biomedical Scholars Association, and Secretary of the Hopkins chapter of the Society for Advancing Chicanos and Native Americans in Science. Maria selflessly devoted multiple hours each week to children and teens in the Baltimore community, as a mentor for high school students facing significant struggle, teaching science and art to 3rd through 5th grade students, as a child life hospital volunteer, and teaching dance, an activity for which she herself was tremendously skilled. Maria brought joy and compassion to others not only through service, but also in all her daily interactions. Maria’s peers and colleagues remember her as an exceptional scholar, an outstanding leader, a dedicated citizen, and an even greater human being. Her goodness was contagious and she was a light on the mountain top, shining brighter and brighter, who will keep shining in everyone’s hearts.
Applicants for 2019 have been selected. Please check back in Fall 2019 for details regarding the 2020 nomination process.
All PhD students who are All But Dissertation (ABD) by January 1, 2019 are eligible to nominate themselves for consideration as 2019 inductees. These self-nominations must include the following:
Submit nomination, including items above and application, at https://jhufac.fluidreview.com. Please sign in under Applicants & Reviewers, select Faculty Applicant as the category, and click the View Awards button.
Inductees are expected to attend the JHU Induction Ceremony and present at the Annual Bouchet Conference in April in New Haven. Travel to the conference will be covered by JHU.
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