Five graduate students of color to be inducted into Bouchet Society

Dec. 10, 2012

Five University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate students of color — Patrick Brown, Sharee Light, Gregory Mosby, Chidi Obasi and Myeshia Price — will be inducted into the UW-Madison chapter of the Edward A. Bouchet Graduate Honor Society in a ceremony during its annual conference March 1, 2013. They will also be inducted into the national Bouchet Society at its conference, hosted by Yale University, April 19-20, 2013.

The Bouchet Society is named for the nation's first African-American doctoral degree recipient, who earned a doctorate in physics from Yale in 1876. It was established in 2005 by Yale and Howard universities to recognize this historic event and to promote diversity and excellence in doctoral education and among professors.

Local chapters are formed by invitation only, and must be at doctoral institutions with a sustained record of training scholars who are traditionally underrepresented in the academy.

The UW-Madison Graduate School formed a chapter in 2010. Each year, the school may sponsor a limited number of graduate students to become members of the national Bouchet Society.

This year's UW-Madison inductees are:

Patrick Brown, a doctoral candidate in cellular and molecular biology and a medical student. He plans to complete his joint degree by 2015. Brown recognizes the need to bridge the research/practice gap. As an undergraduate student at the University of Illinois, he participated in the Undergraduate Scholarship Program, a highly selective program enabling students to conduct National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded research. Brown says he was also fortunate to work with Wan-Ju Li on a stem cell and cartilage regeneration project. As an MD/Ph.D. student, Brown has continued to be a part of the Student National Medical Association (SNMA). As the chapter president, he helped organized a voter registration drive and grant writing efforts, helping nine SNMA students at UW-Madison attend the national conference. In addition to his scholarly pursuits, Brown also volunteers as a pianist for the Madison Allied Community Gospel Choir.

Sharee Light, a doctoral candidate studying the neural correlates of mental health states such as creativity and empathy. She is also interested in investigating how these systems operate in individuals who have a mental disorder, such as Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). In addition to her research, Light leads courses for disadvantaged high school youth and has served as a teaching assistant for personality psychology. She wishes to use her professional career to serve ethnic minorities. Alongside her clinical neuropsychology supervisor, Carey Gleason, she provided free dementia screenings at community centers such as the Warner Park Community Recreation Center in Madison. Light also works as an intern at the William S. Middleton VA Hospital and has created a wellness program for the patients there.

Gregory Mosby, a doctoral candidate studying astronomy. He is studying galaxies in which some of the most massive black holes reside. A summer school experience at Penn State enabled him to write and receive a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant. He is an award-winning presenter at the American Astronomical Society and National Society of Black Physicists conferences and has a zeal for learning and knowledge dissemination. Mosby serves as a graduate student faculty liaison, often bringing together diverse opinions in his department. He has also served as a summer mentor for undergraduates through the Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program. Beyond campus, Mosby also is involved in hosting solar system viewing sessions at state parks around Wisconsin.

Chidi Obasi, a doctoral candidate in the graduate program of clinical investigation studying the severity of acute respiratory illness. He was born in Madison, and then completed his medical education in Nigeria. During his time in Nigeria, he evaluated prescription patterns of antimalarial drugs among doctors in a teaching hospital. Obasi served as a reviewer for articles in the Wisconsin Medical Journal and worked as a TRICARE representative, ensuring that military personnel and their families understood and obtained appropriate healthcare. Long-term, Obasi hopes to improve health and educational achievement among minority groups through community.

Myeshia Price, a doctoral candidate studying sexuality. As a former McNair Program scholar, Price was first introduced to research eight years ago, and published two peer-reviewed articles with her academic advisor, Janet Hyde. Through her work as a sexual health scholar at the Center of Excellence for Sexual Health's community leadership program, Price gained community leadership skills that carried her forward in her research and educational goals. Among her peers and colleagues, she is known as "Switzerland" for her neutrality and objectivity. She has made a point not to let emotions supersede her rationality. Price currently works for the Schools of Hope program as a tutor for Madison's East High School students and is the student ambassador for the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality.

—Kathi Matthews-Risley