Black On Campus
Higher Education and the African American Experience

Black Women PhD Candidates Inducted into Science Honor Society

April 27th, 2009 by Ajuan Mance

Veronia Shead (left) and N’Goundo Magassa (right)

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On Thursday, April 23, The Washington University of St. Louis Record announced the induction of two of its doctoral students into the prestigious Edward A. Bouchet Graduate Honor Society. Established in 2005, with founding chapters at Yale and Howard, the Bouchet Society recognizes “outstanding scholarly achievement and promotes diversity and excellence in doctoral education and the professoriate.” The Bouchet Society is named for pioneering African American physicist Edward Bouchet, the first African American to graduate from Yale University, and the first African American to earn a Ph.D. from a U.S. institution.

This year, two graduate students at Washington University in St. Louis were inducted as Bouchet Fellows. They are N’Goundo Magassa, a doctoral student in the Molecular Microbiology and Microbial Pathogenesis Program, and Veronica Shead, a doctoral student in the Clinical Psychology Program. Bouchet Fellows “exemplify academic and personal excellence, foster environments of support and serveĀ as examples of scholarship, leadership, character, service and advocacy for students who have been traditionally underrepresented in the academy” (Source: Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Office for Diversity and Equal Opportunity).

The Washington University of St. Louis was selected to become a chapter member of the Bouchet Society in 2007.

N’Goundo Magassa graduated from Smith College in 2002, where she majored in biochemistry. She entered Washington University in St. Louis after working as a research assistant in the Boston area. Magassa is a Washington University Chancellor’s Graduate Fellow. The Washington University Record provides this brief description of her research, service, and advocacy:

Magassa’s research interests include understanding the methods used by bacterial pathogens to successfully infect human cells. Her dissertation research is focused on characterizing how the Streptococcus pyogenes pore forming protein streptolysin O translocates the S. pyogenes NAD glycohydrolase into host cells.
Magassa provides training, mentorship and guidance to graduate students who rotate through her lab. She also volunteers with the Junior Scientist Institute and helps recruit graduate students into doctoral programs at WUSTL, offering advice, support and encouragement.

Veronica Shead holds a B.S. in neuroscience from Vanderbilt University (2002), a B.A. in psychology from the University of Missouri-St. Louis (2003), and a master’s in psychology from Washington University (2006). She is a recipient of a Washington University Dean’s Dissertation Fellowship. The Washington University Record describes her research and service as follows:

Shead’s research efforts are focused on the area of hypertension and aging. Her dissertation, “Implementation of Hypertension Treatment Recommendations and Their Effect on Blood Pressure,” examines variables influencing the implementation of lifestyle change for their overall effect on blood pressure control.

Shead has been involved in outreach and service throughout her life. A member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., an organization dedicated to service, she has participated in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure with her family, facilitated a support group for adults with early-stage dementia, and, as a track coach at a St. Louis high school, mentored teenage girls.

Congratulations to these outstanding young scholars. Although each is already a standout in her field, there is no doubt in my mind that these achievements are only the beginning of long and distinguished careers that will have an deep and positive effect on the future of human health and healthcare.

Posted by Ajuan Mance

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Posted in Academia, African Americans, Black History, Black Students, Current Events, Edward Bouchet, Higher Education, Howard University, Uncategorized, Washington University in St. Louis, Yale

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