Lloyd N. Ferguson Young Scientist Award for Excellence in Research

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Dr. Lloyd Noel Ferguson (1918-2011)

Chemist and chemistry professor Dr. Lloyd Noel Ferguson was born on February 9, 1918 in Oakland, California.  Ferguson’s interest in chemistry began when he was a child. He built a shed in his backyard so that he could conduct experiments away from his house. Ferguson skipped two grades, and although an illness kept him out of school for a year, he was able to graduate from Oakland Tech High School in 1934, when he was just sixteen years old. In 1936, Ferguson became the first in his family to attend college.  He earned his B.S. degree with honors in chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley in 1940. Ferguson then earned his Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley in 1943, making him the first African American to do so. While at UC-Berkeley, Ferguson worked with Dr. Melvin Calvin on a national defense project, the purpose of which was to find a material that would release oxygen for use in a submarine, if it were ever needed.

In 1955, Dr. Ferguson became a full professor of chemistry at Howard University, and shortly after, became the head of the chemistry department. During his tenure, Ferguson was instrumental in building the first doctoral program in chemistry at any historically black college or university. In 1952 he was elected to the prestigious American Chemical Society. In 1965, Ferguson joined the faculty of California State University, Los Angeles, where he chaired the department of chemistry from 1968 to 1971.

Dr. Ferguson helped to develop programs such as Support of the Educationally and Economically Disadvantaged and the Minority Biomedical Research Program that encourage young minority students wishing to pursue higher education and careers in the science. As a result of this experience, in 1972, Ferguson co-founded the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE).

Dr. Ferguson received an honorary doctorate from Howard University, and was honored with a named scholarship from California State University.
  • Gabrielle S. Morris, Head of the Class: An Oral history of African-American Achievement in Higher Education and Beyond (New York, Twayne Publishers, 1995)
The table below summarizes the winners of the NOBCChE Lloyd N. Ferguson Young Scientist Award for Research Excellence.
Year Awardee Name Affiliation at the time of Award
1998 Dr. Alison Williams Wesleyan University
1999 Dr. Eyerce L. Armstrong-Poston Corning, Incorporated 
2000 Dr. Paula T. Hammond Massachusetts Institute of Technology
2001 Dr. Jocelyn Simpson Harrison NASA Langley Research Center
2003 Dr. Tonya Peeples University of Iowa
2005 Dr. Steven B. Oguwumi Corning, Incorporated
2006 Dr. Miquel D. Antoine The Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory
2008 Dr. Thomas H. Epps The University of Delaware
2009 Dr. Andre Palmer The Ohio State University
2010 Dr. Malika Jeffries-El Iowa State University
2011 Dr. Sherine Obare Western Michigan University
2012 Dr. Omolola Eniola-Adefeso University of Michigan
2013 Dr. Stefan France Georgia Institute of Technology
2014 Dr. Renã A. S. Robinson University of Pittsburgh
2015 Dr. Marsha Cole U.S. Department of Agriculture
2016 Dr. Darryl Boyd US Naval Research Laboratory
2017 Dr. Luisa Whittaker-Brooks University of Utah
2018 Dr. Davita Watkins University of Mississippi
2019 Dr. LaShanda Korle University of Delaware
2020 Dr. Fikile Brushett MIT
2021 Dr. Jean-Luc Ayitou University of Illinois, Chicago