UF joins society for diversity in academia

November 15, 2016
Gabrielle Calise

The University of Florida has become the 13th college to join a national honor society that amplifies diversity in graduate education.

The Edward A. Bouchet Graduate Honor Society creates a community for students and postdocs who have traditionally been underrepresented in academia. Founded in 2005 by Yale University and Howard University, the organization has over 500 student members.

“Graduate students are going to have the greatest impact on our world,” said Tyisha J. Hathorn, director of UF’s Office of Graduate Minority Programs. “They are our thinkers, our creators.”

The society is named after Edward A. Bouchet, the first African American doctoral student in the U.S. Bouchet was a member of Phi Beta Kappa at Yale before earning his doctorate in physics in 1876.

“He was only the 6th U.S. citizen to get a Ph. D in the Western hemisphere,” said Henry Frierson, dean of the UF graduate school. “For the University of Florida to be involved also points out the commitment that we have for diversity and the type and caliber of Ph. D students that we have.”

UF was inducted into the Bouchet Society during an annual conference held around Bouchet’s birthday in September. Faculty and staff traveled to Howard University in Washington D.C. for the induction.

The UF chapter will accept applications from doctoral candidates in the spring.  Members will work as ambassadors to promote diversity across campus. They will also be able to present their research during the Bouchet Society’s spring conference at Yale University.

“It helps our students to be linked to other graduate societies in the country,” Hathorn said.

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