Gilda Barabino, president of Olin College of Engineering, was selected by the membership of the American Association for the Advancement of Science to serve as AAAS president-elect.
Barabino began her term Feb. 24 and will serve as president-elect for one year. She will then serve for one year as AAAS president and one year as chair of the AAAS Board of Directors.
Members also selected two members of the AAAS Board of Directors during the election, held Feb. 8-22. Janine Austin Clayton, the associate director for research on women’s health at the National Institutes of Health and director of the NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health, was newly elected to the board for a four-year term. Kaye Husbands Fealing, the dean of the Ivan College of Liberal Arts at the Georgia Institute of Technology, was elected to a second four-year term.
“To be part of a historic, storied organization at this moment where we can work together for real change is exciting to me,” said Barabino.
In a candidacy statement that was distributed to members during the election, Barabino noted the “the moment of opportunity” the scientific community currently occupies. “Facing future challenges of unprecedented magnitude and complexity, ranging from infectious disease and systemic racism pandemics to climate change and global inequality, science can serve as a global public good and equalizer,” Barabino wrote.
In that statement, Barabino identified several ways she hopes to realize a “stronger and more impactful AAAS.” In service of greater equity in science, Barabino advocated for increasing AAAS membership base, particularly among young people, members of underrepresented and underserved groups and non-scientists. She also called on AAAS to embrace data-driven decision-making and to forge and strengthen partnerships with other organizations sharing its goal to better amplify its efforts.
Barabino aims to leverage partnerships with organizations to which she is already connected. She currently serves the chair of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Committee on Women in Science, Engineering, and Medicine and is a member of the the NASEM Roundtable for Black Men and Women in Science Engineering and Medicine, the Committee on Equal Opportunity in Engineering and Science, the NSF Engineering Advisory Committee and the NIH National Advisory Council for Bioimaging and Bioengineering.
Barabino joined Olin in 2020; in addition to her role as president, she also serves as a professor of biomedical and chemical engineering. Most recently, Barabino was dean of The Grove School of Engineering at the City College of New York. Previously, she was the associate chair for graduate studies and professor of biomedical engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University as well as Georgia Tech’s inaugural Vice Provost for Academic Diversity. Prior to that, she was a professor of chemical engineering at Northeastern University, where she also served as vice provost for undergraduate education.
Barabino holds a B.S. degree in chemistry from Xavier University of Louisiana and a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Rice University. As a biomedical engineer, Barabino has been noted for her research work on sickle cell disease and cellular and tissue engineering.
A member of AAAS since 1987, she was recognized as a AAAS Fellow in 2010. She is also a member of the AAAS Committee on Science, Engineering and Public Policy and has served as a leader of the AAAS section on medical sciences.
Said Barabino, “We want to serve humanity, and what better way to do that and understand the world and serve the world than to do it through science? This is the premier organization to do that.”