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Moya Bailey and Mark Hersam awarded Ver Steeg Fellowship

Award recognizes tenured faculty who have made major research contributions

Northwestern University professors Moya Bailey and Mark Hersam have received the 18th annual Dorothy Ann and Clarence L. Ver Steeg Distinguished Research Fellowship Award. 

The Ver Steeg Fellowship supports scholarship and research by tenured Northwestern faculty whose work enhances the national and international reputation of the University. The honor includes a $45,000 award for each recipient. 

Bailey, of the School of Communication, is a feminist scholar, writer and activist. Hersam, of the McCormick School of Engineering, is an expert in nanoelectronic materials and their applications.

“Through their work in vastly different fields, Professor Bailey and Professor Hersam demonstrate the strength and breadth of Northwestern’s research impact,” said Provost Kathleen Hagerty, whose office bestows the Ver Steeg Fellowship annually. “I am proud to honor these faculty members for their contributions to Northwestern’s excellence.”

Moya Bailey

Bailey is an associate professor in the department of communication studies. 

Moya Bailey
Moya Bailey

Her work focuses on marginalized groups’ use of digital media to promote social justice, and she is interested in how race, gender and sexuality are represented in media and medicine.

“It is truly a gift to have the resources you need to do the work in which you believe,” Bailey said. “Applying for grants is rewarding but time-consuming. Having this pot of money makes it that much easier to build the community relationships that are essential to my scholarly production. I feel incredibly lucky to have a dean who is such a champion of my work and to have that support reflected in this fellowship is an honor.”

Bailey is the digital alchemist for the Octavia E. Butler Legacy Network and board president of Allied Media Projects, a Detroit-based movement media organization that supports an ever-growing network of activists and organizers. She is the author of “Misogynoir Transformed: Black Women’s Digital Resistance” (New York University Press, 2021). Bailey coined the term misogynoir which describes the unique anti-Black racist misogyny that Black women experience; it is the newest word entered into Merriam-Webster’s dictionary.  

She also is the co-author of “#HashtagActivism: Networks of Race and Gender Justice” (MIT Press, 2020) and the author of numerous articles in scholarly journals in feminist media studies. Bailey was an MLK Visiting Scholar at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for the 2020-2021 academic year.

Mark Hersam

Hersam is the Walter P. Murphy Professor of Materials Science and Engineering and director of Northwestern’s Materials Research Center. He also holds faculty appointments in the departments of chemistry, applied physics, medicine and electrical engineering.

Mark Hersam
Mark Hersam

“I am deeply grateful to the Ver Steeg family for this tremendous honor,” Hersam said. “I look forward to using the Ver Steeg Fellowship to accelerate our research into new nanoelectronic materials that are serving as the basis of next-generation computing and renewable energy technologies.”

Hersam’s research interests include nanomaterials, nanomanufacturing, scanning probe microscopy, nanoelectronic devices, biosensors and renewable energy. He is highly engaged in education and outreach at all levels including regularly giving public lectures, participating in Northwestern’s All-Scout Nano Day, serving as director of the Nanoscale Science and Engineering Research Experience for Undergraduates Program for 12 years and developing the Materials Science Exhibit in partnership with the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago.

Hersam has received numerous honors including the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, TMS Robert Lansing Hardy Award, AVS Peter Mark Award, MRS Outstanding Young Investigator, U.S. Science Envoy, the MacArthur Fellowship and eight Teacher of the Year Awards. An elected member of the National Academy of Inventors, he has founded two companies, NanoIntegris and Volexion, which are commercial suppliers of nanoelectronic and battery materials, respectively.

The Ver Steeg Fellowship was established and endowed by the late Clarence L. Ver Steeg and his wife, Dorothy. Clarence Ver Steeg was a Northwestern faculty member for many years in the department of history and served as dean of The Graduate School from 1975 to 1986.

The complete list of award recipients can be found on the Office of the Provost website.