2018 UW-Madison Edward Bouchet Society
Honoring the Legacy of Bouchet
groups that are most marginalized, and to challenge assumptions within the field.
Lorraine Rodriguez-Bonilla is a candidate in the Plant Breeding and Plant Genetics program. She obtained her bachelor’s in industrial microbiology and a master’s in
biology from the University of Puerto Rico, where she is from. She currently works in the Cranberry and Genomics laboratory assessing the genetic diversity of wild
populations of cranberry. Dedicated to increasing diversity in sciences, she served as the chair of CULTIVAR, a USDA and Texas A&M initiative aimed to increase
By Hedi Rudd
In 1876, Edward Alexander Bouchet, earned a Ph.D. in physics from Yale University
in 1876. He was not only the first African-American to earn a Ph.D., but also only one
of six people in the Western Hemisphere to do so in Physics. Unfortunately, he would
not be allowed to use this distinction to teach at the college level, but he did teach at
the School for Colored Youth in Philadelphia for 25 years and held other academic
positions before his death in 1918.
In September of 2005, the Bouchet Honor Society was co-created by Yale and
Howard Universities in honor of Bouchet’s birthday. The Bouchet Society hopes to
develop a network of preeminent 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 have been
traditionally underrepresented in the academy. In total sixteen universities, including
UW-Madison, have local Bouchet Honor Societies.
On March 20, UW-Madison welcomed a new cohort of doctoral candidates into this prestigious society. The event was
held at the University Club and included a reception. “The graduate students we are honoring here today represent the
excellent researchers, scholars, and educators we have on our campus,” Graduate School Dean William Karpus said at
the ceremony. “These individuals are making key contributions in their disciplines, as well as to the research, education,
and outreach mission of our campus. They truly embody the Wisconsin Idea.”
The inductees include:
Karla B. Hall is a Graduate Engineering Research Scholars (GERS) fellow and Ph.D. candidate in Materials Science and
Engineering. She conducts interdisciplinary research in the Nuclear Engineering department. A graduate of Tennessee
State University (TSU), Hall earned her bachelors’ degrees in physics and chemistry. Before coming to Madison, she
worked as a research scientist at TSU in collaboration with the United States Geological Survey mapping radon gas
levels and educated the public about air quality.
Here in Madison, Hall helped establish the Black Graduate and Professional Student Association on the UW-Madison
campus. She has won several grants from the university and community partners to support her science outreach,
student mentorship, and to recognize women in STEM.
Diamond Howell, is pursuing her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction with a focus on multicultural education. She earned
her bachelor’s degree from Connecticut College in human development. Her research interests include social justice
education, school/institutional climate, educational access for marginalized
students, and identity development within schools.
While in Madison, Diamond has volunteered for Freedom Inc. of Dane County and
worked as an assistant teacher at Eagle’s Wing Childcare Program.
Alyssa Ramirez is a Ph.D. candidate in the Counseling Psychology program. She
grew up in Mexico where she also did her undergraduate studies. Their healing
practices often reflected her folk beliefs and limited access to resources and
Western theories were applied to a population that was very different culturally. Her
research focuses on the cultural factors that influence psychological training and
While in the U.S. she has continued to reflect on the meaning of being a healer within
and across cultural contexts. She hopes to increase access to psychological care for
the number of Latinos in ag-related graduate programs.
She hopes to pursue a career in conservation of agricultural resources
where she can work with both researchers and farmers and continue to
empower underrepresented students.
Sarah Stefanos is a joint Ph.D. candidate in Sociology and the Nelson
Institute for Environmental Studies. Her dissertation explores land deals in
Ethiopia and biofuels in Uganda. Her research interests include political
economy, natural resource management, the global South, waste, and
state/business interactions in the development of inclusive and sustainable
cities and towns.
She has mentored eight undergraduates, half at UW-Madison and half at
Makerere University in Uganda. She has also served as the graduate
student representative for the Diversity and Equity Committee for the Nelson
LaRuth McAfee, assistant dean for diversity, inclusion, and funding in the
Graduate School, said the Bouchet Society is a great opportunity for UW–
Madison to recognize scholars who are working to address
issues related to equity and diversity. Scholars must be
dissertators or postdoctoral scholars to be considered for
The new members of the UW–Madison chapter will also be
inducted into the society at the Bouchet National Induction
Ceremony and Annual Conference April 27-29. Inductees
receive a professional development stipend from the
DDEEA for conference travel.
We wish that they would all stay here in Madison, but we
see bright futures around the world for these new Bouchet