Five doctoral students have been selected as the newest members of Virginia Tech's chapter of the national Edward A. Bouchet Graduate Honor Society. The Graduate School will recognize Isil Anakok, Gabriela L. Carrillo, Anaid D. Shaver, Michelle White, and Johnny C. Woods Jr. at a tea reception on Wednesday, March 23, from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. in the multipurpose room of the Graduate Life Center at 155 Otey St. on the Blacksburg campus.

The reception is open to the Virginia Tech community. It offers an opportunity to learn about the honor society and network with current scholars while enjoying refreshments provided by the Graduate School. President Tim Sands and Graduate School Dean Aimée Surprenant will offer remarks. Sands received the Bouchet Society’s legacy award in 2016.

Those interested in attending are asked to register via this link.

Founded in 2005 by Yale and Howard universities, the society is named for the first African American to earn a doctoral degree in the United States. Bouchet earned his Ph.D. in physics from Yale University in 1876. This year, the Annual Yale Bouchet Conference on Diversity and Graduate Education will be held virtually, with the new member induction ceremony scheduled for April 8.

“We’re so proud of these remarkable scholars who have earned this honor for their outstanding accomplishments both inside and outside of the university,” said Surprenant. “Their commitment to leadership and their advocacy make them inspirational role models to people of all ages, and we are grateful that they are members of our community.”

Virginia Tech is one of 19 university partners with Bouchet Society chapters across the nation. Each year, the Graduate School receives nominations for membership in the society, and a selection committee chooses five for induction. The society’s goal is to create a network of scholars and professionals who “serve as examples of scholarship, leadership, character, service, and advocacy for students who have been traditionally underrepresented in the academy,” according to its Yale University webpage.

Learn more about the 2022 Bouchet Honor Society scholars:

Isil Anakok is pursuing a Ph.D. in the Department of Engineering Education. She holds a master’s degree from Virginia Tech and a bachelor’s degree from Kocaeli University, Turkey. Her main research interest is engineering ethics education in design courses. She earned the Graduate School’s Preparing Future Professoriate certificate and is a graduate assistant for the Graduate School Office of Recruitment, Diversity, and Inclusion. She also is a Graduate Ambassador, partnering with the Support Hub of Inclusive Practices to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion on campus. She has been recognized as a 2022 Diversity Scholar with a project focused on enhancing international graduate students' sense of belonging in higher education in the United States.

Gabriela L. Carrillo is a Ph.D. candidate in the Translational Biology, Medicine and Health program with concentrations in the neuroscience and immunology and infectious disease tracks. She is investigating the neuroimmune mechanisms underlying the loss of neuronal connections in long-term parasitic brain infection. She has been recognized by numerous professional organizations and is the recipient of several awards for her work. She is passionate about making science and higher education accessible to students from underrepresented backgrounds and has served as a mentor to numerous students through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Virginia, the Women in STEM Mentorship Program at Virginia Western Community College, and the neuroSURF translational Neurobiology Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship. She has been recognized with a F99/K00 D-SPAN fellowship by the National Institute of Health, as well.

Anaid D. Shaver is a candidate for a Ph.D. in counselor education and supervision in the School of Education. Her research focuses on counselor wellness, school counseling clinical supervision, and implementation of comprehensive school counseling programs. Shaver has been recognized as a Michele Dowdy Emerging Leader by the Virginia Counselor Association. She received her bachelor’s degree from Siena College and her master’s degree from the University at Albany. Shaver presently provides outreach to school divisions on implementation of comprehensive school counseling programs to support preK-12 student achievement and success through monthly meetings and workshops. She also collaborated to develop, implement, and serve as a mentor for the American Counseling Association mentorship program, a multicultural leadership development opportunity to advance the counseling profession. Shaver aspires to serve as a facilitator of learning for counselors to promote antiracist, multicultural, and social justice sustaining and evidenced-based practices that are inclusive, diverse, equitable, and accessible in the development of their counselor identity.

Michelle White is a Ph.D. candidate in the Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics program (BEAM). Her research seeks to understand microglia-induced inflammatory responses following both blast and impact-related traumatic brain injury. She has been recognized as a Virginia Tech Joseph Frank Hunkler Memorial Scholarship recipient and a Virginia Tech New Horizon’s Scholar.  She also serves as a graduate student representative on the Dean of the College of Engineering’s Student Advisory Board and BEAM’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee. She also has been a peer mentor for graduate, undergraduate, and high school students. White earned her bachelor’s degree at George Mason University and aspires to work at the intersection of neuroscience, engineering, and health equity, with a passion on improving science communication, advocacy, and health care within the Black community. 

Johnny C. Woods Jr. is a doctoral candidate in the higher education program in the School of Education. He earned his master’s degree from Makerere University, Uganda, and his bachelor’s degree from A.M.E. Zion University, Liberia. He concurrently is a graduate assistant for the Graduate School Global Perspectives Program, a graduate teaching assistant for the Preparing the Future Professoriate course, and serves as a graduate student researcher in the Engineering Education and Higher Education programs. He is a recipient of the Diversity Scholar Award and Don G. Creamer Research Award, is a fellow of VT Graduate Academy of Teaching Excellence, was vice president of the African Graduate Students Organization, and was a member of the School of Education diversity, equity, and inclusion committee. His broader research focuses on inclusive academic environments for marginalized populations through the praxis of assets-based frameworks. He focuses on access and equity in STEM education, the internationalization of higher education, and the experiences and outcomes of Black Sub-Saharan African collegians.

Written by Cathy Grimes