Academics People and Community

New group of University scholars join Bouchet Honor Society

Based at Yale University, the organization honors faculty members and students who identify as part of an underrepresented community, or whose research focuses on underserved communities.
Bouchet Honor Society

University of Miami faculty and students celebrate being inducted into the Bouchet Graduate Honor Society.

Ten members of the University of Miami community were honored for their academic achievements and inducted into the distinguished Edward Alexander Bouchet Graduate Honor Society recently at Yale University.

Named after Edward Alexander Bouchet, a physicist who was also the first self-identified African American to earn a doctoral degree in the United States, the society aims to foster a growing number of scholars who exemplify academic and personal excellence in their field, but who also serve as models of scholarship and leadership for students of diverse backgrounds who are often underrepresented in the academy.

Three University faculty members, one postdoctoral fellow, and six University graduate students were inducted into the society, and many participated in the annual Bouchet Conference, where some presented their research.

“We are honored that so many of our own were selected to join this prestigious organization and had a chance to showcase their work this spring,” said Nicole Leeper Piquero, interim dean of the Graduate School. “It is a testament to the diversity and talent we have at the University of Miami, among our faculty, postdocs and graduate students.”

Since the Bouchet Honor Society was founded in 2005, several University faculty members have been recognized, including President Julio Frenk, who was honored with the Bouchet Leadership Medal in 2016. In addition, 44 graduate students have been inducted into the organization. Each year, the University nominates faculty members, students, and postdoctoral fellows who either identify with underrepresented communities, or whose research focuses on underserved communities.

This year’s faculty honorees include:

Ronald L. Jackson II, a professor of communication studies and journalism at the School of Communication, previously served as a faculty member at Penn State University as well as the University of Illinois, where he became head of African American Studies, and then as an associate dean at the College of Media, before heading to the University of Cincinnati to become dean of the McMicken College of Arts and Sciences. An author of 17 books, Jackson’s interdisciplinary research focuses on intercultural communication, racial trauma, cultural identity, social justice, and/or media.  

Yolanda M. Martínez-San Miguel is the Marta S. Weeks Chair in Latin American Studies and specializes in Latin American and Caribbean literature as a professor within the Michele Bowman Underwood Department of Modern Languages and Literatures at the College of Arts and Sciences. An author of four books, Martínez-San Miguel teaches classes in literature, Spanish, and gender studies and has been an advocate for diverse and first-generation students and faculty for 30 years.

Nikki Traylor-Knowles is an associate professor of marine biology and ecology at the Rosenstiel School of Marine, Atmospheric, and Earth Science, where she investigates the immune function of corals. Traylor-Knowles has expertise in cell and molecular biology and studies how the physiology of corals responds to heat stress. Traylor-Knowles is also the founder and director of Black Women in Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Science , a nonprofit organization whose goal is to help support Black women pursuing science professions.

Graduate student honorees:

Khulud Almutairi is a Ph.D. candidate in the School of Nursing and Health Studies. She earned her nursing degree and went on to serve as a clinical nursing instructor in her native Saudi Arabia, before coming to Coral Gables to pursue her graduate degree. Almutairi’s doctoral research focuses on workplace discrimination of Muslim nurses in the United States. She also formed the Digital Nursing Team to create educational videos for nurses in Arabic. Almutairi aspires to become a nursing educator and researcher, and to develop a holistic form of health care tailored to the well-being of the Muslim community.

Shruti Choudhary is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Chemical, Environmental, and Materials Engineering at the College of Engineering. Her research focuses on the development of new aerosol sensors for health and safety in indoor, outdoor, and space environments. Through her research, Choudhary advocates for the safety of health care professionals, firefighters, and astronauts. She is an active member of the University’s interdisciplinary Center for Aerosol Science and Technology and the Firefighter Cancer Initiative, and is currently developing a sensor to detect citrus greening, which is diminishing America’s citrus crops.

Kapiamba Kashala Fabrice is a graduate student in chemical, environmental and materials engineering at the College of Engineering known for his research and commitment to community. His current work focuses on the toxicity of combustion aerosols, including e-cigarette emissions. He is also an intern at Phoenix Tailings, a company exploring environmentally friendly ways to harvest metals and rare earth elements. Fabrice is committed to mentoring the next generation of engineers in an inclusive academic environment.

Padideh Lovan is a postdoctoral associate at the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center and in the School of Nursing and Health Studies. A registered dietitian, Lovan’s research focuses on multilevel influences on cancer risk behaviors, including poor nutrition, physical inactivity, tobacco use, and alcohol consumption in Hispanic youth.

Rachelle Reid is a doctoral student in clinical psychology at the College of Arts and Sciences, focused on elevating the health of marginalized and underserved communities. Her work has focused on Black women living with HIV and has studied the most effective holistic prevention and intervention methods. Her dissertation focuses on mental health outcomes and religious coping among Black women living with HIV as well as burnout among professionals working in the HIV field. Reid’s mission is to use clinical psychology to help the larger society understand communities that have long faced discrimination.

Guerdiana Thelomar is a graduate student pursuing her doctorate in community psychology at the School of Education and Human Development. Her current research focuses on the experiences and well-being of Black women as they navigate educational experiences. Thelomar hopes her work will contribute to creating healthier and more equitable environments for African American students as they navigate higher education.  

Elliot Weinstein is a graduate student in the clinical psychology track at the College of Arts and Scienceswith a concentration on behavioral medicine and quantitative psychology. He is a health equity scholar whose research centers on HIV prevention and treatment in marginalized communities, the intersection of aging and HIV, and innovating community engaged research practices.