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Shirley Malcom Endowment Celebration

Event date:
Thursday, April 28, 2022 - 09:00 to 18:00
Walker-Ames Room (Kane 225) & LSB
Event Type: 
Public session

Public agenda

The University of Washington Department of Biology is thrilled to invite you to our celebration of the creation of the Shirley Malcom Endowment. 

On April 28th, we will be celebrating with a day of events, including a morning keynote address in the Walker-Ames Room by Dr. Tracy Johnson, the Maria Rowena Ross Chair of Cell Biology and Biochemistry at UCLA. We also welcome you to join us for an afternoon reception with refreshments in the Life Sciences Building.

Event details and RSVP: 


Shirley Mahaley Malcom was the first Black woman to get a degree from UW Biology (then called Zoology) —back in 1967!   She went on to get a doctoral degree in marine ecology from Penn State and, following that, has had a long a distinguished career at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).  She is best known nationally for pioneering programs that promote and build diversity in the STEM workforce.  

Shirley championed several major programs while at AAAS, including “Vision and Change in Undergraduate Biology Education: A Call to Action” (2009).  This widely circulated publication inspired a major AAAS/NSF (National Science Foundation) Conference and still serves as an important roadmap for the way science is - or should be - taught today.  Shirley led the AAAS Program “Sea Change”, an international non-profit that implements a proven self-assessment process to effect sustainable change with regard to diversity and equity and inclusion in STEM activities in US institutions of higher education.   In my view, Shirley is the world’s most effective and knowledgeable expert on issues concerning access and opportunities in science and engineering for ethnic minorities.

Shirley has 16 Honorary Degrees, was appointed by President Clinton to the National Science Board, and was a seven-year member of the President’s Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST).  She is a trustee at the California Institute of Technology, a regent of Morgan State University, and serves on numerous advisory boards.  The University of Washington proudly recognized her as the Alumna Summa Laude Dignatus in 1998, the University’s highest honor.  In 2003 she received the Public Welfare Medal of the National Academy of Sciences.  She has never rested on her laurels, and her efforts with AAAS continue today. In fact, Shirley was recently interviewed by Chris Bolden, Ph.D. for AAAS (link to interview: on strategies that institutions and members of the AAAS community can implement to support diversity, inclusion, and equity in their fields.

To honor these many contributions, we established the “Shirley Mahaley Malcom Fund.”  One focus of this program is to support diverse students at a critical career stage — the gap year that often occurs between undergraduate degrees and the start of graduate or professional programs.  This is the stage where students from less affluent backgrounds are at risk financially.  Similarly, it is the stage where we loose diversity in the STEM workforce.   Our goal is to support “Malcom Postbac Scholars” to become involved in research projects here.  This is a win-win enterprise:  we support a more diverse and inclusive research environment, strengthen research productivity of both the scholars and the labs they are in, and greatly improve the career trajectory of young scientists, engineers and healthcare workers.   

In addition, each year will host a visiting lecture.  This year it is Dr. Tracy Johnson, a friend of Shirley’s who is dean at UCLA and a world class cell biologist focusing on regulation of gene expression.