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Northwestern faculty elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

One of the nation’s most prestigious honorary societies

In 2020 so far, Northwestern has had a total of 15 faculty elected to the National Academies (engineering, sciences and education) as well as the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. This is the most elections for Northwestern in any year over the past decade. National Academy of Medicine members typically are selected in fall.

Eight members of the Northwestern University faculty have been elected members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious honorary societies.

Edith Chen, Yonggang Huang, E. Patrick Johnson, Teri W. Odom, Mary E. Pattillo, Indira M. Raman, James P. Spillane and Teresa K. Woodruff are among this year’s class of more than 270 artists, scholars, scientists, and leaders in the public, non-profit and private sectors. 

The Academy was founded in 1780 by John Adams, James Bowdoin and others who believed the new republic should honor exceptionally accomplished individuals and engage them in advancing the public good. The Academy’s dual mission remains essentially the same 240 years later with honorees from increasingly diverse fields and with the work now focused on the arts and humanities, democracy and justice, education, global affairs and science.

Northwestern’s newest members include representatives from across the University:

Edith Chen

Edith Chen

Chen is the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Professor of Psychology and co-director of the Foundations of Health Research Center. Also a faculty fellow with Northwestern’s Institute for Policy Research, her research seeks to understand why poverty is associated with poor physical health outcomes in children, with a focus on psychological and biological mechanisms, as well as understanding resilience.

Chen’s previous honors include the American Psychological Association’s Distinguished Scientific Award for Early Career Contribution to Health Psychology, the Young Investigator Award from the Society of Behavioral Medicine and the Donald K. Routh Early Career Award from the Society of Pediatric Psychology. 

Yonggang Huang

Yonggang Huang

Huang is a Walter P. Murphy Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Mechanical Engineering in the McCormick School of Engineering. Huang develops models for stretchable and flexible electronics. His work has led to major advancements in bio-integrated electronics for health monitoring.

He has received numerous awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the Prager Medal from the Society of Engineering Sciences, the Drucker Medal and Nadai Medal from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and the Bazant Medal and von Karman Medal from the American Society of Civil Engineers. A member of the National Academy of Engineering, Huang is a highly cited researcher in engineering, materials science and physics.

E. Patrick Johnson 

E. Patrick Johnson

Johnson, the Carlos Montezuma Professor of African American Studies and Performance Studies, has published widely in the areas of race, class, gender, sexuality and performance.

He is the author of several award-winning books, including “Appropriating Blackness: Performance and the Politics of Authenticity” (Duke University Press, 2003) and “Sweet Tea: Black Gay Men of the South — An Oral History” (University of North Carolina Press, 2008). Johnson adapted the latter book into a full-length stage play, for which he won a Black Theatre Alliance Award for best solo performance. Johnson is also the founder and director of Northwestern’s Black Arts Initiative.

Teri W. Odom 

Teri W. Odom

Odom is the Charles E. and Emma H. Morrison Professor of Chemistry, a professor of materials science and engineering, and chair of the department of chemistry. She is an expert in designing structured nanoscale materials that exhibit extraordinary size and shape-dependent optical and physical properties.

She leads an interdisciplinary research team that focuses on plasmonic metamaterials, multi-scale nanofabrication tools, nano-lasers and bio-imaging. In addition, Odom serves as editor-in-chief of the journal “Nano Letters” and has won numerous awards, most recently the 2020 American Chemical Society Award in Surface Chemistry. 

Mary E. Pattillo

Mary E. Pattillo

Pattillo is the Harold Washington Professor of Sociology and African American Studies. She explores racial and class inequalities in housing, education, urban development and the criminal justice system. 

Pattillo’s first book, “Black Picket Fences” (University of Chicago Press, 1999), won the Oliver Cromwell Cox Best Book Award from the American Sociological Association, and her second book, “Black on the Block” (University of Chicago Press 2007), won the association’s Robert Park Book Award. Pattillo is a faculty associate with Northwestern’s Institute for Policy Research and a founding board member and active participant in Urban Prep Charter Academy, the first all-boys public charter high school in Chicago.

Indira M. Raman

Indira M. Raman

Raman holds the Bill and Gayle Cook Chair in Biological Sciences in the department of neurobiology. She studies ion channel biophysics and cerebellar physiology.

She is a recipient of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke’s Javits Neuroscience Investigator Award, bestowed to investigators with a history of exceptional talent, imagination and achievement. In addition, she was recently awarded an NINDS Research Program Award, an eight-year grant that supports investigators based on their record of scientific contributions. She has served on the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke Advisory Council, and has held editorial roles for multiple scientific journals.

James P. Spillane 

James P. Spillane

Spillane is the Spencer T. and Ann W. Olin Professor in Learning and Organizational Change at the School of Education and Social Policy and an expert on school leadership and policy implementation at the state, school and classroom levels. He is internationally known for his work on distributed leadership, a framework for studying school leadership and management.

His latest project looks at the ways school systems build educational infrastructures to implement Next Generation Science Standards. Spillane, frequently cited as one of the most influential education scholars in the nation, is the author of several books, including “Navigating the Principalship: Key Insights for New and Aspiring School Leaders” (ASCD) and “Standards Deviation” (Harvard University Press).

Teresa K. Woodruff

Woodruff is dean of The Graduate School and associate provost for graduate education. She is the Thomas J. Watkins Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology, the vice chair for research, and chief of the Division of Reproductive Science in Medicine in the department of obstetrics & gynecology, Feinberg School of Medicine.

Teresa K. Woodruff

Woodruff is an internationally recognized expert in ovarian biology and reproductive science. In 2006, she coined the term “oncofertility” to describe the merging of two fields: oncology and fertility. In addition, she championed the National Institutes of Health policy mandating the use of females in fundamental research. She is director of the Center for Reproductive Science, founder and co-director of the Women’s Health Research Institute and director of the Oncofertility Consortium. 

“The members of the class of 2020 have excelled in laboratories and lecture halls, they have amazed on concert stages and in surgical suites, and they have led in board rooms and courtrooms,” said David W. Oxtoby, president of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. “With today’s election announcement, these new members are united by a place in history and by an opportunity to shape the future through the Academy’s work to advance the public good.”

The 2020 class includes singer, songwriter and activist Joan C. Baez, lawyer and former Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. and author Ann Patchett.

The new members join the company of Academy members elected before them, including Benjamin Franklin (elected 1781) and Alexander Hamilton (1791) in the 18th century; Ralph Waldo Emerson (1864), Maria Mitchell (1848) and Charles Darwin (1874) in the 19th; Albert Einstein (1924), Robert Frost (1931), Margaret Mead (1948), Milton Friedman (1959) and Martin Luther King Jr. (1966) in the 20th, and more recently Antonin Scalia (2003), Michael Bloomberg (2007) and John Lithgow (2010). 

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