Devon Lee, who earned his doctoral degree in the Department of Sociology, was recently named one of the newest members of the Virginia Tech chapter of the Edward A. Bouchet Graduate Honor Society.

Lee joined Jeanette D. Barber, Devon Lee, Anurag Mantha, and Elizabeth Spingola in being named the sixth group of inductees into Virginia Tech’s chapter.

Shernita Lee, director of the Office of Recruitment, Diversity, and Inclusion and an assistant dean in the Graduate School, said the inductees were chosen for outstanding scholarship and for promoting diversity and excellence through the five pillars of the society: scholarship, leadership, character, service, and advocacy. Virginia Tech is one of 18 university partners with Bouchet Society chapters.

Lee studies the nuances of Pan-Africanism through the lens of critical race theory. Through his research, he has worked with independent political parties and Rastafarian organizations and has built transnational relationships with scholars and activists who attempt to advance the standard of human rights. 

He currently is a director for diversity and inclusion at Touro University in Vallejo, California. Lee plans to continue to promote social justice alongside institutions, activists, and communities. His teaching and leadership recognizes activism as professional development. He earned bachelor’s degrees at the University of California, Davis, and a master’s degree from the University of Kansas.

Among his fellow inductees, Barber is a doctoral candidate in agricultural, leadership, and community education in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences; Mantha is a doctoral candidate in civil engineering with a concentration in environmental engineering in the College of Engineering; and Spingola is a doctoral candidate in engineering education in the College of Engineering.

The Edward A. Bouchet Graduate Honor Society was established in 2005 by Yale and Howard universities and named for the first African American to earn a doctoral degree in the United States. Edward Bouchet graduated from Yale College in 1874 and earned his Ph.D. in physics from Yale University in 1876. 

“The legacy of Dr. Edward Bouchet is exemplified in this group of inductees,” said Shernita Lee. “They contributed greatly to the Virginia Tech graduate community and beyond. These inductees will continue to be engaged leaders in their respective disciplines and through community-centered efforts wherever they are.”