The purpose of the Edward A. Bouchet Graduate Honor Society is to recognize outstanding scholarly achievement and promote diversity and excellence in doctoral education and the professoriate. The Edward A. Bouchet Graduate Honor Society seeks 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 the spirit of Edward A. Bouchet and the scholarship, leadership, character, service, and advocacy he exhibited, both inside and outside academic realms, inductees into the honor society bearing his name must also exhibit these same outstanding qualities.
The national charter of the Edward Alexander Bouchet Society was inaugurated on September 15, 2005, in commemoration of Bouchet’s birthday, by Yale University and Howard University. There are currently eighteen chapter institutions. The society is named in honor of Edward A. Bouchet (1852-1918), who became the first African American to earn a doctorate from an American university when he earned a Ph.D. in Physics from Yale University in 1876. "One can only imagine the ‘inner strength’ he must have had given that he lived during a time that was exceedingly difficult for Black people,” observed Dr. Michelle Nearon, Senior Associate Dean for Graduate Student Development and Diversity at Yale University, in 2018, “We don’t know for sure, but it is probably safe to say that Dr. Bouchet knew that the odds of him being able to secure a faculty position were relatively nonexistent. Yet, owing much to his persevering nature, resilience, deep love of knowledge, and sheer brilliance he continued to excel academically." The Edward A. Bouchet Graduate Honor Society recognizes outstanding scholarly achievement and promotes diversity and excellence in doctoral education and the professoriate. In particular, the Bouchet Society seeks to support and cultivate a dynamic network of outstanding and multitalented scholars who are commited to the society's core values, serving as exemplars of scholarship, leadership, character, service, and advocacy for students who have been traditionally underrepresented in the academy. In the spirit of Bouchet’s life, work and commitment to these pursuits in academic and public spaces, inductees into the honor society bearing his name should also embrace and exemplify these principles. Membership into the Bouchet Graduate Honor Society is by nomination only.
Bouchet Graduate Honor Society at Michigan State University
In February 2019, Michigan State University's application to become a Bouchet Graduate Honor Society (BGHS) institutional partner was accepted. On April 5, 2019 during the wonderful “New Chapter Installation Ceremony” at the 16th Annual Yale Bouchet Conference on Diversity and Graduate Education, Michigan State University was formally welcomed as an institutional partner into the society. MSU Associate Provost for Graduate Education and Dean of the Graduate School Thomas Jeitschko was delighted to deliver appreciative remarks at the “New Installation Ceremony” and University Distinguished Professor of History and Associate Dean Pero G. Dagbovie, who will serve as the MSU chapter’s institutional National Steering Committee representative, delivered the “Opening Plenary Presentation” that addressed the theme of the 2019 conference, “Reflections on Racism and U.S. Racial Tensions in the 21st Century.” The MSU Graduate School is thrilled to be an institutional partner in this society that significantly aligns with the mission, values, and goals of our Strategic Plan (2019-2024) and our enduring commitment to diversity and inclusive recruitment and retention practices. Ph.D.-granting institutions that have exhibited a sustained record of recruiting, retaining and graduating scholars, and particularly those who are traditionally underrepresented in the academy, are invited to establish BGHS chapters. Invited institutions, moreover, are expected to demonstrate prior reform efforts designed to promote diversity and excellence in doctoral education and should demonstrate their dedication to diversity in graduate education by exhibiting a track record of training underrepresented students in the academy for employment in academia and beyond. The MSU Graduate School also takes great pride in the fact that long-time Bouchet enthusiast Dr. Curtis L. Patton, Professor Emeritus, Epidemiology and Public Health, Yale University, earned his Ph.D. from MSU in Microbiology in 1966 and in January 2013 established an Endowment Agreement with MSU to create The Edward A. Bouchet Graduate Award.
Further Information Related to the BGHS at MSU
For more information pertaining to the Edward Alexander Bouchet Society’s mission and five core values; Bouchet’s facinating life; and the procedures and instructions for being nominated and applying for membership in the MSU BGHS chapter, see the links below.
Contact Dr. Terah Chambers at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2023 MSU Edward A. Bouchet Graduate Honor Society Inductees
The 2023 inductees are Gloria J. Ashaolu (History), Chelsie Boodoo (Biosystem and Agricultural Engineering), Jada Gannaway (History), Chanteliese Watson (Education Policy and K-12 Educational Administration), and Antonio White (Neuroscience).
All are Ph.D. candidates at MSU who, in the spirit of Bouchet, exemplify the five core values of the society (character, leadership, advocacy for those traditionally underrepresented in the academy, service, and scholarship).
Gloria J. Ashaolu
Gloria J. Ashaolu is a candidate for the Ph.D. in history at Michigan State University. Her research interests include, but are not limited to, the history of Black education, Black women’s history, Black intellectual history, the Black historical enterprise, and the Black Diaspora. Her dissertation project seeks to attend to the underappreciated educational activism and evidence-based intellectual philosophies, pedagogies, and praxes of Black female teachers during the Early Black History Movement. It also examines the regional, national, and international organizing efforts of Midwestern Black women toward the advancement of the Black freedom struggle. As a Future Academic Scholars in Teaching (FAST) Fellow, her IRB-approved project seeks to examine how the cognitive flexibility and complementary auditory learning that story-telling podcasts offer, and the narrative forms present promote an increased application-based enriching comprehension of historical themes discussed in a class and their broader relevance in contemporary society. Through her academic studies and community engagements, and commitment to a career of learning, teaching, research, advocacy, and servant-leadership, Ashaolu aspires to create meaningful historical work that helps us better understand the present through our collective history, coupled with effective, innovative, and educational instructional practices.
Biosystem and Agricultural Engineering
Chelsie Boodoo is a candidate for the Ph.D. in biosystem and agricultural engineering at Michigan State University. She created biosensors for Staphylococcus aureus and African Swine Fever Virus in her research in Dr. Alocilja’s lab. She also works to connect researchers worldwide to save lives through the Global Alliance for Rapid Diagnostics. She has collaborated with fellow students in designing a welcoming environment that fosters all aspects of science communication (scicomm) in a modern, dynamic, and youthful way for all. Her passion for scicomm drives her to find unconventional and inspiring ways to mix science with the art of storytelling. This led her to be the founder and President of MSU SciComm. In addition, Chelsie co-hosts the award-winning show, “The Sci-Files”, with Daniel Puentes on Impact 89FM, where they explore various MSU student research topics.
Jada Gannaway is a third year PhD student at Michigan State University. She is expected to complete her PhD program in the spring of 2025. Her research interests include, but are not limited to, twentieth century radical politics in the Caribbean with wide interdisciplinary interests in the African Diaspora and Black women’s history. Gannaway is currently working on a political biography of Trinidadian-born activist, Althea Jones-Lecointe, who was an instrumental figure of the Black Power Movement in the U.K. during the late 1960s early 1970s. Furthermore, her work in progress explores the transatlantic connections between Trinidad and the U.K. through the life and experiences of Jones-Lecointe. She intends to spend the upcoming Fall semester abroad in London to conduct archival research on the political contributions of Jones-Lecointe and other Black West Indians during the Black Power era. Gannaway is the recipient of the 2023 Kathy Chamberlain Research Award and the 2022 North Atlantic Conference on British Studies Diversity and Inclusion Fellowship. She currently serves as a member of the 2022-2023 Graduate Student Advisory Council for the College of Social Science and as a Graduate Assistant to MSU’s Womxn of Color Initiative. Gannaway is a proud alumna of North Carolina Central University.
Education Policy and K-12 Educational Administration
Chanteliese Watson is a dual Ph.D. student in educational policy and K-12 educational administration at Michigan State University. Her research aims to analyze connections between teacher retention, vicarious trauma, and their personal social and emotional learning (SEL). In fitting this gap into the larger conversation of teacher labor markets—specifically teacher retention—Chanteliese is interested in understanding how SEL practices and policies for teachers impact their stress levels, job satisfaction, effectiveness measures, and student outcomes. She is passionate about bridging the gaps between education research, policy, and practice. She recently co-authored a paper published in Equity in Education & Society examining inequities that schools faced during the initial outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Chanteliese is a member of MSU’s Black Graduate Student Association (BGSA) and Collaborating Across Education Policy Students (CAEPS). She earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from Howard University and a Master of Urban Education from Union University through the Memphis Teacher Residency (MTR) program. Prior to beginning her studies at MSU, Chanteliese served as an elementary school teacher in Memphis.
Antonio White is a candidate for the Ph.D. in neuroscience at Michigan State University. His research focuses on brain gut axis signaling. He is examining maternal gut microbiome contributions to maternal behavior and identifying metabolites that gut microbiome uses to impact maternal behaviors in mice. Antonio has presented scientific posters at local and international conferences in his field of study. He was a (2021-2022) Future Academic Scholars in Teaching Fellow and was selected to participate in the College Online Academy at MSU. He has served as a teaching assistant in genetics, neurosciences and biology courses Antonio is active help in the MSU community. He is a social chair within the Neuroscience Program that develops social communal events among undergraduate students, graduate students, and faculty. He serves as a graduate student mentor in the Pathway to research program and assists marginalized students in STEM to seek research opportunities at MSU and other universities. He serves as the current president of the Black Graduate Student Association, advocates on behalf of Black graduate students, and develops community events that support the needs of Black graduate students. Antonio’s long-term goal is to become a research professor at a Historically Black College/ University and bring the field of neuroscience to HBCUs that do not have a neuroscience curriculum.