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NOBCChE's Second Annual Winifred Burks-Houck Professional Leadership Symposium was held Friday afternoon during the 38th Annual National Conference. The program began with 2011 WBHPLS session chair, Dr. Gloria Thomas, Department of Chemistry Xavier University of Louisiana, welcoming the capacity audience. NOBCChE president, Dr. Victor McCrary greeted the large crowd and reminded them of the increasing role women play in the organization. Ms. Ella Davis, NOBCChE Board member – at – large, provided a recounting of Winifred Burks-Houck’s career and NOBCChE accomplishments.
She recalled that in 1994, Winifred became the first female elected President of NOBCChE; she was re-elected three times and was succeeded by Ella Davis in 2002. She noted that during Winifred’s tenure, several positive changes occurred within the organization including increasing the number of students and professional chapters by more than 100%, and establishing the Science Bowl and the Science Fair at the National level.
The Winifred Burks-Houck Professional Leadership Awards are the first NOBCChE awards inspired by and created to honor the contributions of African American Women in science and technology. These awards highlight the scientific achievements, creativity, leadership, and community service of a NOBCChE-affiliated professional woman, and NOBCChE undergraduate and graduate students working towards a degree in chemistry, chemical engineering, or a related field. The 2011 recipients were first announced at the Winifred Burks-Houck Professional Leadership Symposium on Friday during the symposium and again during the Gala Awards Ceremony. Dr. Christine Grant, associate dean for faculty development and special initiatives and professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at North Carolina State University was the Professional Award recipient. Dr. Grant was recognized for her mentoring efforts at UNC State and for her research in surface and interfacial phenomena related to the areas of biomaterials, electronic materials and polymer thin films. Grant has been honored with several NOBCChE awards. She received the Graduate Student Fellowship, sponsored by Eastman Kodak, in 1987-1988; the Lloyd M. Fergusson Young Scientist Award in 1997; and the Professional Award in Chemical Engineering in 2008. Grant has also had three mentees receive NOBCChE Graduate Student Fellowships. She is also the founder and director of the Promoting Underrepresented Presence On Science and Engineering Faculties (PURPOSE) Institute, an organization dedicated to increasing the number and success of engineering faculty members from underrepresented groups. Dr. Grant received her BS in chemical engineering from Brown University and her MS and PhD in chemical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology.