Washington, D.C. — Members of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the Science family of journals, elected Willie E. May, Ph.D., to serve as the association’s president-elect. Members elected Kathleen Hall Jamieson, Ph.D., and Vassiliki Betty Smocovitis, Ph.D., to the AAAS Board of Directors as well.
AAAS members also overwhelmingly approved – with 86 percent supporting – an amendment to the AAAS Constitution and Bylaws, which gives the Board the authority to amend the governing documents, a duty that remains shared with the members. This amendment enables the final step in the organization’s governance modernization process. AAAS’ governance had not been updated in more than 70 years.
“We are thrilled to welcome Willie, Kathleen, and Betty to the AAAS Board. Their expertise will be invaluable as we advance scientific excellence, expand who can participate in the STEMM ecosystem, address mis- and disinformation, and provide historical context on the scientific enterprise to inform strategic thinking. We are confident that these strong leaders will help achieve our vision, especially as we celebrate our 175th anniversary and focus on igniting progress for the next 175 years,” said Sudip S. Parikh, Ph.D., chief executive officer of AAAS and executive publisher of the Science family of journals.
“I am also delighted that we have successfully completed our three-year governance modernization process, the culmination of thousands of hours of volunteer and staff work. We look forward to moving into full implementation of our streamlined structure that will allow us to run a modern organization efficiently and provide our volunteer leaders ample opportunities for meaningful and engaging work to further our mission of advancing science in service to society,” added Parikh.
May serves as vice president of research and economic development and professor of chemistry at Morgan State University, Maryland’s largest historically Black university. He is currently a member of the AAAS Council for the Section on Industrial Science and Technology. Previously, he served as the U.S. Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology. May’s one-year term as president-elect begins immediately, followed by one year as AAAS president (and chair of the AAAS Annual Meeting), and one year as immediate past-president.
“I am honored to serve as the new president-elect of AAAS. During my term, I will prioritize partnering with key leaders to enhance the U.S. STEMM workforce by proposing ways the nation can expand access and opportunities to education. I stand ready to support AAAS as it embarks on a mission to transform the way the scientific enterprise realizes benefits to society at large,” said May.
AAAS members elected two new directors to the AAAS Board, each for a four-year term. Jamieson is the Elizabeth Ware Packard Professor of Communication and director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania. Jamieson, who was elected a Fellow of AAAS in 2021, employs rhetorical analysis, surveys, and experiments to understand campaign communication, the science of science communication, and ways to blunt misinformation and conspiracy theories.
“Understanding how communication functions in society is pivotal to the scientific enterprise and the future of the STEMM workforce. As long as science and scientists retain their commitment to the norms of transparency and self-critique, science will remain our most reliable source of knowledge and innovation. And I find that fact inspiring,” said Jamieson.
Smocovitis, elected a Fellow of AAAS in 2001, is a professor of the history of science at the University of Florida. She is a long-time elected leader of the AAAS Section on History and Philosophy of Science and served as an active member of the AAAS Governance Modernization Working Group. Additionally, she serves as co-editor-in-chief of the Journal of the History of Biology and president-elect of the International Society for the History, Philosophy and Social Studies of Biology. Smocovitis will use her expertise in the history and philosophy of science to provide guidance as AAAS continues to reflect on its history, along with science’s limitations and potential to do harm.
“Solving complex problems demands interdisciplinary, multidisciplinary, and pan-disciplinary efforts for “big-thinking” that bring to bear the fullest bodies of knowledge from the natural sciences, the social sciences and even the humanities, and that can integrate academia with industries. I believe AAAS is uniquely positioned to help because of its stunning incorporation of disciplines, its long and storied history, and its gravitas,” noted Smocovitis.
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The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the journal Science, as well as Science Translational Medicine; Science Signaling; a digital, open-access journal, Science Advances; Science Immunology; and Science Robotics. AAAS was founded in 1848 and includes more than 250 affiliated societies and academies of science, serving 10 million individuals. The nonprofit AAAS is open to all and fulfills its mission to “advance science and serve society” through initiatives in science policy, international programs, science education, public engagement, and more. For additional information about AAAS, visit www.aaas.org.