Bouchet Graduate Student Honor Society Conference & Induction Ceremony

The annual Edward Alexander Bouchet Graduate Student Honor Society UW-Madison Chapter Conference and Induction Ceremony is this Friday, Feb. 27, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the University Club, 803 State Street on the Memorial Library Mall.  This year’s Bouchet Graduate Honor Society inductees are include Marla Delgado Guerrero, Michelle Robinson, Shannon Roberts and Utibe Bickman.

The Graduate School also will honor retired Assistant Dean Dorothy Sanchez, who oversaw the incorporation and launch of UW-Madison’s chapter of the Bouchet Society.

Following the induction ceremony and reception at 4:30 p.m., there will be an undergraduate research poster presentation by Bouchet 2012-2013 members Patrick Brown, Gregory Mosby, Chidi Obasi, and Myeshia Price and UW-Madison Ronald McNair Scholars Karma Palzom, Jeanet Ugalde, Jorge Trinidad, Kristian Chavira, Bianca Torres, and Aidee Guzman.

About the Edward Alexander Bouchet Graduate Honor Society 

Professor Edward Alexander Bouchet
Professor Edward Alexander Bouchet

The Edward Alexander Bouchet Graduate Honor Society commemorates the first African American to earn a doctorate degree from an American university (Physics, Yale University, 1876). One national charter with two chapters was inaugurated by Yale University and Howard University on September 15, 2005, in commemoration of Dr. Bouchet’s birthday.  The Bouchet Society “seeks to develop a network of 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” — exemplifying the spirit and example of Dr. Bouchet. The University of Wisconsin-Madison Graduate School formed a chapter in 2010.  Each year, the Graduate School may sponsor a limited number of graduate students to become members of the national Bouchet Society.


2013-2014 Cohort


Utibe BickhamUtibe Bickham

Utibe is a doctoral candidate in Cellular and Molecular Pathology at UW-Madison. She gained her first research experience in the summer of 2005 at UW-Madison through the Exceptional Research Opportunities Program (EXROP). This and other research experiences that followed solidified her decision to enroll in the Cellular and Molecular Pathology graduate program where she is currently a dissertator in the laboratory of Dr. Timothy Yoshino. The laboratory investigates several aspects of schistosomiasis, a neglected tropical disease caused by infection with parasitic worms and is regarded as the second most devastating parasitic disease worldwide, after malaria.  In her early years, Utibe lived in Nigeria. Being surrounded by poverty and many unhealthy individuals, one of whom was her own grandmother, left Utibe in search of answers to unsettled questions about healthcare. After completing her undergraduate degree at Louisiana State University (LSU), the questions she had, along with other experiences served as motivation for her pursuit of a PhD degree.  Upon receiving her degree, Utibe plans to pursue a career as a professor at a research-intensive institution. She hopes to add to the number of female scientists and serve as a role model, promoting science to students from diverse backgrounds.

Marla Delgado-Guerrero

  Marla-Delgado-Guerrero-CROPMarla’s research examines psychological, social, and cultural factors that influence academic persistence for marginalized communities in higher education. Specifically, she has been examining Latina/os in higher education. Her dissertation is exploring psycho-sociocultural processes within mentoring relationships that influence academic persistence decisions for Latina/o undergraduates. She has been a product of mentoring which has influenced her research. As an undergraduate, she helped to establish the first historically Latina-based sorority, Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority, Inc. on UW-Madison’s campus as well as establishing the Multicultural Greek Council that now comprises 10 multicultural-focused Greek-lettered organizations. Additionally, she served as one of the Executive Staff member of the Multicultural Student Coalition (MCSC) that served over 5,000 students in educational, cultural, and political programming during the 2004-2005 academic year. Growing up, Marla recalls how her mother always taught her to be humble. This instilled in her the value of hard-work and integrity. Everything she does, from involvement with student organizing to  research on marginalized communities, she always reminds herself that had it not been for those who came before her, she may not have found herself in the places and spaces she now occupies. Marla hopes to be a student affairs professional who works with marginalized college students to obtain their college degree. Additionally, she wants to continue her work as a researcher/scholar and provide genuine care for those with whom she works.

   Shannon RobertsShannon-Roberts

  Shannon is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering. She believes in supporting and advocating to ensure diversity exists in STEM fields. Shannon serves the academic community through activities associated with Graduate Engineering Research Scholars (GRS) program and through the WARF Ambassador Program to promote and encourage underrepresented students to enter the STEM fields.  Shannon believes that character is “what you do when no one is around”. Upon receiving her Bachelor’s degree from MIT she decided to further her education by attending graduate school to obtain a Masters degree. Once she was exposed to academia in a more intimate manner, she began to re-evaluate her career goals. Shannon  was reminded of all the teachers who made a substantial impact in her life by igniting her passion to learn.  Shannon also recruits graduate students from her undergraduate institution of MIT. Each fall, she travels to Boston and speaks with members of various students groups, such as the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), about the benefits of attending graduate school. Upon receiving her Ph.D., Shannon intends to continue in academia as a professor at a research university. As a professor, she hopes to have a broad impact in the community by continuing her dedication to mentoring, teaching, and academic excellence.

Michelle Robinson

  Michelle RobinsonMichelle is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Sociology.  Her research explores the construction and reproduction of educational inequality. She has had the opportunity to approach this issue from a variety of angles through research using data collected from large-scale randomized field studies and secondary national data on children and schools. With this research she has explored the impact of data-driven school reform on student achievement, the importance of teacher and parents perceptions of one another for understanding parent engagement and the role of family and school characteristics for unpacking the causal effect of social capital and childrearing. Faculty, staff and student members of the Minority Recruitment and Retention Center (MRRC) and the solidarity group lovingly refer to Michelle as the “mother” of solidarity because of the sheer amount of time, energy and commitment she has consistently put into developing and maintaining these organizations over six-years time. As an interdisciplinary researcher, Michelle desires to cultivate relationships with scholars from a variety of fields which could develop into fruitful academic and professional collaborations. She welcomes the opportunity to be a part of a community of scholars who, because of shared experience, can support her and whom she can be supported by.

Edward Alexander Bouchet’s legacy lives on in the Ronald E. McNair Post-baccalaureate Achievement Program

Ronald McNair
Ronald McNair

One hundred years after Edward Alexander Bouchet, Ronald E. McNair  received a Ph.D. degree in Physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Born in Lake City, South Carolina, Ronald E. McNair graduated as valedictorian of Carver High School in 1967.  In 1959, when McNair was just 9 years old, he famously made a scene at the Lake City Public Library. Residents stared the African American boy down and watched as he walked to the main counter and attempted to check out books on advanced science and calculus. The librarian refused to release them and told him, “We don’t circulate books to Negroes.” The passionate young man wouldn’t budge, and instead hoisted himself onto the counter and said he wasn’t leaving without the books. Library patrons laughed as McNair’s feet dangled off the counter while he waited and the librarian called police. Two police officers arrived at the scene along with McNair’s mother, Pearl. They determined the boy was not causing any public disturbance and Ron’s mother convinced the librarian she’d pay for the books if they were not returned. The librarian gave in and he was allowed to borrow books from then on. In 1971 he received a bachelor’s degree in engineering physics, magna cum laude, from North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro, North Carolina. McNair was a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. When he received his Ph.D. from MIT under guidance of Prof. Michael Feld, he became nationally recognized for his work in the field of laser physics.  He received three honorary doctorates, a score of fellowships and commendations and achieved a black belt in karate. After graduation from MIT, he became a staff physicist at the Hughes Research Lab in Malibu, California.    In 1978, Dr. McNair was selected as one of thirty-five applicants from a pool of ten thousand for the NASA astronaut program. He flew on STS-41-B aboard Challenger from 3–11 February 1984, as a mission specialist becoming the second African American to fly in space. Following this mission, Dr. McNair was selected for STS-51-L, which launched on 28 January 1986, and was subsequently killed when Challenger disintegrated nine miles above the Atlantic Ocean just 73 seconds after liftoff.[4