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19th Annual Bouchet Conference Recognizes Diversity and Graduate Education

March 21, 2023

The 19th Annual Bouchet Conference on Diversity and Graduate Education, hosted by the Office for Graduate Student Development and Diversity in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, will take place on campus on March 31-April 1, 2023. This year’s theme — “The Role of the Academy in Preserving a Democracy”— will delve into the ways in which the academy, and graduate education in particular, prepares future leaders for service to society.

Named for Edward Alexander Bouchet 1874 B.A., 1876 Ph.D., the first African American doctoral recipient in the United States, the Edward Alexander Bouchet Graduate Honor Society recognizes outstanding scholarly achievement and promotes diversity and excellence in doctoral education and the professoriate. The Bouchet Society was inaugurated on Thursday, September 15, 2005, with a simulcast ceremony held at Yale University and Howard University. There will be 122 scholars inducted during this year's conference from 19 Bouchet Graduate Honor Society chapter institutions.

Yale’s Graduate School hosts an annual induction ceremony and simultaneous conference featuring panel presentations and poster sessions from members of the honor society on topics ranging from artificial intelligence to Black feminist literature. The conference will feature a keynote address by this year’s Bouchet Leadership Award Medal recipient David A. Thomas, President of Morehouse College. Yale will induct six new members to its chapter during the ceremony: William D. Shipman II, MD, PhD, dermatology resident and postdoctoral fellow in the Yale Department of Dermatology; Eric Glover, MMUF PhD, assistant professor adjunct at Yale David Geffen School of Drama; Ngozi Akingbesote, PhD candidate in cellular and molecular physiology; Sandy Chang, MD, PhD, professor of laboratory medicine, pathology, and molecular biophysics and biochemistry; Mariam O. Fofana, MD, PhD, postdoctoral associate in the Department of Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases at the Yale School of Public Health and clinical instructor in emergency medicine at the Yale School of Medicine; and Paola Figueroa-Delgado, PhD candidate in the Department of Cell Biology.

The conference will also feature an award ceremony honoring this year’s Bouchet Graduate Honor Society Distinguished Service Award recipient Karen P. DePauw, Vice President and Dean for Graduate Education at Virginia Tech.

Brief bios of this year’s Yale Bouchet Graduate Honor Society inductees can be found below:

William D. Shipman

William D. Shipman III MD, PhD is a Dermatology resident and postdoctoral fellow in the Yale Department of Dermatology. His research and clinical interests focus on skin of color, wound healing, and hidradenitis suppurativa. He is originally from North Carolina and is a proud graduate of Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA, obtaining a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. From there, he completed an MD-PhD program at the Weill Cornell/Rockefeller/ Sloan-Kettering Tri-Institutional program in NYC, receiving a PhD in Immunology- studying autoimmune skin diseases and specially discovering that immune cells are dysfunctional in lupus skin, working with Dr. Theresa Lu- a Yale Medicine MD/PhD alumna. During graduate school he also worked on projects in skin fibrosis and lymph node fibroblast function in immunity. At Weill Cornell he was involved in creating the Black and Latino Men in Medicine organization, which has since resulted in consultation from other academic centers. He completed a preliminary year in Internal Medicine at Yale-New Haven Hospital and is currently completing his residency in Dermatology with a combined postdoctoral fellowship component. His postdoctoral work will be done with Dr. Henry Hsia- Professor of Plastic Surgery and Founder of Yale Regenerative Wound Healing Center, studying the role of extracellular vesicles in wound healing and hidradenitis suppurativa. In addition to his clinical and research efforts, Dr. Shipman serves as an advocate to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion within his department and within Dermatology nationally.

Eric M. Glover
Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism

Eric M. Glover, MMUF PhD, is an assistant professor adjunct at Yale David Geffen School of Drama, where he practices dramaturgy and dramatic criticism. Glover is the author of African-American Perspectives in Musical Theatre (London: Bloomsbury Publishing Plc, 2023), where he reads representative musicals by and about Black people–from Pauline Elizabeth Hopkins to Stew–closely. Glover is also editing Manifestos for BlackTheatre, Then and Now, a special section of TheatreHistory Studies, with Isaiah Matthew Wooden at Swarthmore. A member of the advisory board for the Web site Extended Play: TheaterBeyond the Theater and also a member of the editorial board for the scholarly journal Studies in Musical Theatre. Glover is also serving as a production dramaturg at Yale Repertory Theatre for Christina Anderson's play the ripple, the wave thatcarried me home. Black Theater History in the Making at Yale School of Drama, Black Women Playwrights, Race and the American Musical from Jerome Kern to Jay Kuo, and Topics in Casting comprise courses taught. Glover is also proud to be the first-ever self-identified African-American dramaturgy and dramatic criticism faculty member at the School of Drama in its history.

Ngozi Akingbesote
Cellular and Molecular Physiology

Ngozi is a candidate for the Ph.D. in Cellular and Molecular Physiology with a concentration in Cancer Metabolism at Yale University. Her research focuses on uncovering the mechanisms by which exercise improves therapeutic responses to immunotherapy in triple-negative breast cancer preclinical models. Her first author paper revealing, “A precision medicine approach to metabolic therapy for breast cancer in mice,” is published in Communications Biology. Ngozi was awarded the Yale President’s Public Service Fellowship in 2021, where she got the opportunity to work with the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America (Michelle’s House), a Connecticut-based organization that seeks to use prevention strategies to enhance the quality of life and well-being of the community affected by sickle cell disease (SCD). Additionally, Ngozi was awarded one of the Yale Dean’s Emerging Scholars Research Awards in 2022. Currently, Ngozi serves as the Outreach chair for the Yale BBS Diversity and Inclusion Collective (YBDIC) where she works to leverage resources within Yale’s network to create STEM education opportunities for minority undergraduate, community school, and post-baccalaureate students. Ngozi also serves as a Public Service Fellow with Yale McDougal Graduate Student Center, where she helps create opportunities for graduate students to interact with the New Haven community through community service.

Sandy Chang
Telomere Biology and Molecular Diagnostics

Dr. Sandy Chang is a physician-scientist with a research focus on telomere biology and a clinical interest on molecular diagnostics. He has been an important contributor for over two decades in advancing our understanding of how telomeres, repetitive sequences that cap the ends of eukaryotic chromosomes, protect chromosomal ends from being recognized as damaged DNA. The Chang lab has generated many unique mouse models of telomere dysfunction to address innovative questions in both the aging and cancer fields. For example, his lab was the first to generate a mouse model of human Werner Syndrome that recapitulated many of its clinical aging phenotypes. His lab has published their findings in prestigious scientific journals including Nature, Science and Cell. Dr. Chang has been a direct mentor to many PhD students who have gone on to have productive academic research careers. At Yale College, he teaches two First Year Seminars, Topics in Cancer Biology and Perspectives in Biological Research. In both classes, students learn to read and present primary scientific literature and write research proposals that they use to secure summer research funding. As the Associate Dean of STEM Education at Yale College, Dr. Chang is also the director of the Science, Technology and Research (STARS) Programs. STARS supports successful integration of women and underrepresented minorities into Yale STEM classes and laboratories through peer mentorship, professional development workshops and experiential research opportunities. In this capacity, Dr. Chang has increased by over 300% the number of URM and FGLI undergraduates participating in STARS Programs.

Mariam Fofana
Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases

Mariam O. Fofana is a Postdoctoral Associate in the Department of Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases at the Yale School of Public Health and a Clinical Instructor in Emergency Medicine at the Yale School of Medicine. Her research focuses on the application of quantitative epidemiologic methods such as mathematical modeling to guide the control of infectious disease threats in under-resourced settings and marginalized populations. Her previous work includes estimating the cost-effectiveness of interventions to prevent and treat HIV in South Africa and quantifying the impact of changes in tuberculosis treatment delivery on transmission. Her current work focuses primarily on immune responses, transmission dynamics and socioeconomic impact of SARS-CoV-2 in an urban informal settlement in Brazil. She is determined to make global health more equitable and sustainable through her research as well as education and advocacy efforts.

Paola Figueroa-Delgado
Cell Biology

Paola Figueroa-Delgado is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Cell Biology at the Yale School of Medicine. Her research focuses on studying the underlying mechanisms mediating neuronal remodeling in Caenorhabditis elegans. Her thesis work will increase our understanding of fundamental processes that shape the nervous system and will provide insights into how neurodevelopmental disorders may arise. Paola is a recipient of the National Institutes of Health National Research Service Award Predoctoral Fellowship which supports her thesis work and training. In addition, she is the recipient of Yale’s Annie Le Fellowship for her contributions to science and to the Yale community. Beyond her thesis work, Paola serves as the Director for the Yale Biological and Biomedical Sciences Diversity and Inclusion Collective (YBDIC), an initiative that aims to engage, empower, and advance underrepresented minorities in the biological and biomedical sciences. Through YBDIC, Paola developed and launched programs that provide science education and communication opportunities to community college, undergraduate, and post-baccalaureate students. Among them: mentoring programs (matching over 70 local and national students with current Yale students); a science communication series; and, most notably, a research symposium which hosted 60 local and national students at Yale. In addition, Paola is Student Coordinator for the Yale BioMed Amgen Scholars Program, where she has mentored and supported over 40 undergraduates pursuing a summer research experience at Yale. Her work in service to Yale and her community have awarded her the Yale-Jefferson Award for Public Service and the Vanderbilt Basic Sciences’ Hispanic and Latin Heritage Graduate Leader Award.