University of Georgia
Dr. J. Marshall Shepherd is the Georgia Athletic Association Distinguished Professor of Geography and Atmospheric Sciences. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He researches hydrometeorological extremes, urban climate, and the intersections of atmospheric sciences with society. Dr. Shepherd’s TED talks have been viewed nearly three million times, and he has been supported with $30 million in grants and awards. He hosts The Weather Channel’s award-winning “Weather Geeks” show/podcast, and he routinely appears on programs and media outlets such as CBS Face the Nation, NOVA, the Today Show, CNN, and Fox News, among others. A Fellow of the American Meteorological Society (AMS), in 2013, Dr. Shepherd served as AMS President, becoming the second African American to hold the position. President George W. Bush honored him with the Presidential Early Career Award for pioneering scientific research in weather and climate science, and he frequently advises Congress, the White House, and broader institutions. Dr. Shepherd’s list of additional achievements includes a Friends of the Planet Award from the National Center for Science Education and the American Geological Institutes Award for Engagement in the Geosciences. In 2022, Georgia Trend magazine named him one of the 100 Most Influential Georgians.
2022 - Dr. Marshall Shepherd+
Texas A&M University
Dr. Karen L. Wooley is a University Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Director of the Laboratory for Synthetic-Biologic Interactions at Texas A&M University. She joined the faculty in 2009, and her research interests are in the synthesis and characterization of degradable polymers derived from natural products. Her findings impact sustainability, resulting in new bioplastics that have reduced reliance on petrochemicals and break down naturally to produce biologically beneficial and environmentally benign degradation products. Dr. Wooley was recently elected to the National Academy of Sciences, and she is also a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Inventors, and the Royal Society of Chemistry, among others. She has consulted for several companies, from Fortune 500 enterprises to start-ups and law firms, and she also has service to the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health and the Dutch Biomedical Materials Program. Dr. Wooley’s honors include the American Chemical Society Award in Polymer Chemistry and the Royal Society of Chemistry Centenary Prize. Further, and as evidence of her excellence in instruction and mentoring, Dr. Wooley has received a Texas A&M University Association of Former Students Distinguished Achievement Award for Teaching. She is co-founder and President of Sugar Plastics, LLC and Chief Technology Officer of Teysha Technologies, LTD.
2021 - Dr. Karen Wooley+
University of Arkansas
Marlon Blackwell is a Distinguished Professor and the E. Fay Jones Chair in Architecture in the Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design at the University of Arkansas. A Fellow of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), he received the 2020 AIA Gold Medal – the Institute’s highest honor – recognizing architects with enduring impacts on theory and practice. In 2018 he was inducted into the National Academy of Design. Prof. Blackwell has been an educator and architect for nearly 30 years, and his distinct voice has produced countless iconic, award-winning designs. He led the development of the Integrated Design Studio, the capstone experience in the professional curriculum and co-founded the University of Arkansas Mexico Summer Urban Studio. Prof. Blackwell has served as visiting professor at several universities, and he was the 2018-2019 William A. Bernoudy Architect in Residence at the American Academy in Rome. In addition, Prof. Blackwell is co-principal of Marlon Blackwell Architects (MBA), which was ranked No. 1 in Design in the 2016 Architect 50 – a national survey of architecture firms – and was recognized as the 2011 Firm of the Year by Residential Architect. MBA has garnered more than 140 national and international awards, including 15 National AIA Awards in eight different categories.
2020 - Marlon Blackwell, FAIA+
Louisiana State University
Gabriela González is a Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Louisiana State University (LSU). She is also a leader in gravitational wave research, including serving as spokesperson for the LIGO Scientific Collaboration (LSC) from 2011 to 2017. LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory) includes more than 1,000 scientists from 20 nations, and her groundbreaking research focuses on LIGO instrument development and data calibration and diagnostics, which are all critical to increasing the astrophysical reach of data analysis methods. As LSC spokesperson, in 2016 Dr. González was one of the scientists on the podium making the worldwide announcement that gravitational waves, or ripples in space and time, had been discovered at the LIGO observatories. Dr. González has since been elected to the National Academy of Sciences and to the Academy of Arts and Sciences. She was named one of the world’s top 10 scientists of 2016 by Nature and Scientist of the Year by Great Minds in STEM. She has mentored doctoral students and post-doctoral fellows as well as spearheading a local school outreach initiative that has received more than $1 million for K-12 students in the Baton Rouge area.
2019 - Dr. Gabriela González+
Texas A&M University
Marcetta Darensbourg is the Distinguished Professor of Chemistry at Texas A&M University and a leader in developing methods to perfect hydrogen-powered fuel cell technology. Her research focuses on biology-inspired chemistry and the simplest of all molecules – hydrogen – in her laboratory’s search for inexpensive, eco-friendly alternative energy options. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and has held faculty appointments at Vassar College, the State University of New York, Buffalo and Tulane University. In 1995, Dr. Darensbourg became the first woman to receive the American Chemical Society (ACS) Distinguished Service in the Advancement of Inorganic Chemistry Award. She received the 2017 ACS Award in Organometallic Chemistry, and that year she was also elected to the National Academy of Sciences. Dr. Darensbourg teaches courses in inorganic and organometallic chemistry, and she has directed the dissertations of more than 50 students. She co-wrote the freshman chemistry textbook Chemical Principles, authored 260 refereed papers, co-edited two specialty chemistry books, and has given lectures at many prestigious international conferences.
2018 - Dr. Marcetta Darensbourg+
University of Missouri
Dr. James A. Birchler is the Curators’ Distinguished Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of Missouri. Dr. Birchler’s research interests include the structure and behavior of chromosomes, centromere epigenetics, heterosis, polyploidy and aneuploidy, using maize as the model organism. His laboratory studies the consequences of dosage sensitive gene regulatory mechanisms in multicellular eukaryotes and their implications for the phenotype and evolutionary processes. Dr. Birchler has served on the editorial boards of Genetics, The Plant Cell, and McGraw-Hill Yearbook of Science and Technology, among others. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, St. Louis Academy of Science and the National Academy of Inventors. Dr. Birchler is also an Einstein Professor of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.
2017 - Dr. James Birchler+
Louisiana State University
Dr. Isiah M. Warner is a Boyd Professor, Phillip W. West Professor of Chemistry and Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor at Louisiana State University. Dr. Warner is considered to be one of the world’s leading experts in analytical applications of fluorescence. In 1984, he received one of the first Presidential Young Investigator Awards from President Ronald Reagan. Dr. Warner’s service to the international chemistry community includes chairing or serving on committees for the National Science Foundation, National Research Council and American Chemical Society, among others. As Chair of LSU’s Department of Chemistry, he has worked to broaden the participation of underrepresented groups. Under Dr. Warner’s leadership, LSU ranks first in the nation in the production of African Americans with doctorate degrees in chemistry and in the percentage of female doctoral graduates in chemistry.
2016 - Dr. Isiah M. Warner+
Dr. Isabel Gauthier is the David K. Wilson Chair of Psychology and Professor of Radiology and Radiological Sciences at Vanderbilt University. Dr. Gauthier’s research interests include the behavioral and neural study of visual object recognition, especially in domains of perceptual expertise such as faces, letters and musical notation, with implications for disorders like autism and congenital face blindness. Her dissertation research was the first to demonstrate that the behavioral and neural underpinnings of perceptual expertise could be studied in the laboratory using short term training protocols. Dr. Gauthier’s research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the James S. McDonnell Foundation. Gauthier has authored more than 110 peer-reviewed scientific articles, with 50 of these cited at least 50 times. Overall, her publications have been cited more than 12,300 times.
2015 - Dr. Isabel Gauthier+
University of Mississippi
Dr. John E. Hall is the Arthur C. Guyton Professor and Chair of Physiology and Biophysics, and Director of the Mississippi Center for Obesity Research at the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC). Hall’s major research interests include cardiovascular and renal physiology, mechanisms of hypertension, obesity and metabolic disorders. His research has been funded continuously from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute since 1975 and he has been Director of an NIH Program Project grant since 1988. He has authored more than 530 publications and has written or edited 18 books, including the Textbook of Medical Physiology, which is the leading medical physiology textbook and is translated in 14 languages. Hall’s awards include the Distinguished Achievement Award of the American Heart Association Council for High Blood Pressure Research, International Society of Hypertension Franz Volhard Award, and the American Heart Association Novartis Award for Hypertension Research.
2014 - Dr. John E. Hall+
University of Tennessee
Dr. Harry (Hap) McSween is the Chancellor’s Professor and Distinguished Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Dr. McSween is a graduate of The Citadel (Chemistry, 1967), University of Georgia (MS, Geology, 1969), and Harvard University (PhD, Geology, 1974). He has spent the entirety of the thirty-five years of his professional career as a member of the University of Tennessee’s geoscience faculty, but his research stretches across the solar system. Since 1978 NASA has funded Dr. McSween’s research. He participated in NASA spacecraft missions in 1997 as a member of the science team for the Mars Pathfinder rover and later for the Mars Global Surveyor. He is namesake for asteroid 5223 McSween, an honor bestowed on him by the International Astronomical Union. He has written six books and was a U.S. Air Force pilot during the Vietnam era.
2013 - Dr. Harry (Hap) McSween+
University of Georgia
Dr. Loch Johnson is the Regents Professor of Public and International Affairs at the University of Georgia, as well as a Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professor. Dr. Johnson is a specialist in foreign and security affairs. He has worked in the Senate, the House, and the Executive Office of the President. He is the author of more than 200 articles and essays; and the author or editor of 28 books on U.S. national security. He is editor of the journal Intelligence and National Security, and his books include A Season of Inquiry; The Making of International Agreements; America as a World Power; America’s Secret Power; Secret Agencies; Bombs, Bugs, Drugs, and Thugs; and Fateful Decisions: Inside the National Security Council.