Correction: This story was corrected to reflect that Christian Matheis earned his bachelor's degree and his master's degree from Oregon State University.

BLACKSBURG, Va., March 24, 2015 – Virginia Tech recently named the seven inaugural members of the university’s chapter of the Edward A. Bouchet Graduate Honor Society

"I'm delighted that Virginia Tech Graduate School has become a member of the Bouchet Society and I am very pleased with our initial inductees," said Vice President and Dean for Graduate Education Karen P. DePauw. "They exemplify the characteristics the Bouchet Society represents.".

The society was established in 2005 by Yale and Howard universities and named for the first African-American to earn a doctoral degree in the United States. Bouchet graduated from Yale College in 1874 and earned his doctoral degree in physics from Yale University in 1876. 

The society’s goal is to create a network of strong scholars and professionals who “serve as examples of scholarship, leadership, character, service, and advocacy for students who have been traditionally underrepresented in the Academy,” according to its webpage.

Virginia Tech is among 11 university partners with Bouchet Society chapters.

“It is an honor that Virginia Tech was invited to join this Society,” said Dannette Gomez Beane, the Graduate School director of recruitment and diversity initiatives. “Membership into this society will give these students a national network of colleagues to use as a resource and support in doing similar advocacy work in academia.”

Christian Matheis, from San Antonio, Texas, recently earned his doctoral degree from Virginia Tech in the Alliance for Social, Political, Ethical, and Cultural Thought program, He earned a master’s degree and a bachelor's degree from Oregon State University. He teaches in the university’s philosophy and political science departments, and at Radford University. He will participate in the Graduate School’s Global Perspectives Program and has worked in anti-poverty and transgender rights advocacy, as a trainer with the university’s Safe Zone program, and with the VTAction community and grassroots organizing project. Matheis was the the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences’ 2013 Outstanding Doctoral Student.

Ashley Robinson, from Chesapeake, Virginia, a doctoral candidate in candidate in Computer Science and Applications, is investigating the attitudes of African-American middle school girls toward computer science and the factors that influence these attitudes. She is the Instructional Technology team leader in the College of Engineering, where she assists faculty and students with instructional tablet PC software integration in the higher education classroom. She earned a master’s degree at Virginia Tech and a bachelor’s degree at Norfolk State University. She has received several merit-based awards, including the Dozoretz National Institute for Mathematics and Applied Sciences Scholarship at Norfolk State University, the National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship, and the Google United Negro College Fund Scholarship. 

Elizabeth “Eli” Jamison, from Roanoke, Virginia, is a doctoral candidate in the Alliance for Social, Political, Ethical, and Cultural Thought program with concentrations in social and political thought. Her research focuses on challenging “business as usual” paradigms by interrogating the intersection of power networks, state politics, and corporate governance. She is studying expanding corporate social responsibility into areas affecting social justice for immigrant labor. She has been a Virginia Tech South Atlantic Humanities Fellow, received the university’s Citizen-Scholar Award with the Community Voices Team, was a selected participant in the Future Faculty Development Program, and received the 2014 Virginia Tech Outstanding Interdisciplinary Graduate Student Award. She holds a master of business administration degree from Vanderbilt University and a bachelor’s degree from James Madison University.

Kelly Cross, from Blacksburg, Virginia, is is a doctoral candidate in engineering education. Her dissertation focuses on the experiences of African-American males on multiracial student engineering teams. She has served on the College of Engineering Diversity Committee and been involved in several efforts through The Graduate School to enhance diversity and inclusion on the university campus. She earned her master’s degree from the University of Cincinnati and a bachelor’s degree from Purdue University. Her professional goals include broadening participation and inclusion in the engineering field and supporting diverse students’ transition into the engineering profession.

Nikhil Jain, from New Delhi, India, is a doctoral candidate with the Bradley Department of Electrical Engineering. His current research interests include the design, epitaxial growth, and fabrication of group IV/III-V based materials and devices for energy efficient electronic and optoelectronic applications. His current research focuses on the heterogeneous integration of III-V multi-junction solar cells on Si substrate targeted towards low-cost and high-efficiency photovoltaics. He has interned with the LED Design group at Philips Lighting and with the III-V Solar Cell research group at Semprius. He received the Paul E. Torgersen Research Excellence Award in 2013, the John Bardeen Award in 2010 and the ISSS Undergraduate Scholarship in 2009. Jain earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign.

Nicole J. Johnson, from Searcy, Arkansas, is a is a doctoral candidate in Higher Education with certificates in Education Research and Evaluation and Preparing Future Faculty. Her research focuses on the social identity construction of black doctoral students. She was named the 2013-14 Outstanding Student in the Higher Education program and a 2014 Diversity Scholar, and will participate in the Graduate School’s Future Faculty Development and Global Perspective programs. She earned a master’s degree from Arkansas Tech University and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Iowa. After earning her doctorate, she will resume her career in higher education.

Monica Motley, from Danville, Virginia, is a candidate for a master's degree in public health and a is a doctoral candidate in biological and veterinary sciences. She serves the university and community in various ways through her roles as a Diversity Scholar; advisor of the student group, Queer People of Color; trainer in the campus Diversity Development Institute; and national trainer at the Racial Justice Institute. She is the university’s first Point Scholar, with funding from the Point Foundation, the nation's largest scholarship-granting organization for LGBTQ students of merit. She recently was named the program director for Partners in Health and Wholeness, part of the North Carolina Council of Churches’ Partners in Health and Wholeness Initiative.

The seven inaugural members will be inducted into the Bouchet Society at a ceremony at Yale University in April.

The Graduate School at Virginia Tech promotes graduate education as a critical component in the transmission of new knowledge, research, ideas, and scholarship. It is responsible for the development, administration, and evaluation of graduate education throughout the university, providing support to faculty, staff, and more than 6,000 graduate students. The Graduate School is committed to building a diverse graduate community and vibrant intellectual environment to help prepare graduates to lead. Virginia Tech, the most comprehensive university in Virginia, is dedicated to quality, innovation, and results to the commonwealth, the nation, and the world.

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