Rita Rossi Colwell Named the Recipient of the Vannevar Bush Award from the National Science Board

Rita ColwellRita Rossi Colwell, Distinguished University Professor in the Institute for Advanced Computer Studies at the University of Maryland, and professor at the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, has been selected to receive the 2017 Vannevar Bush Award from the National Science Board. She will be honored on May 9 at the National Science Foundation Annual Awards Ceremony in Washington, D.C.

The Vannevar Bush Award honors truly exceptional lifelong leaders in science and technology who have made substantial contributions to the welfare of the nation through public service activities in science, technology, and public policy. Professor Colwell, whose work bridges many areas, including microbiology, ecology, infectious disease, public health, and computer and satellite technology is being recognized for her significant, life-saving contributions in the areas of global infectious diseases, water, and health.

In the 1960s, Dr. Colwell was the first researcher in the U.S to develop a computer program to analyze bacteriological data. She served as the 11th director of the National Science Foundation and as chair of the Board of Governors of the American Academy of Microbiology, president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Washington Academy of Sciences, American Society for Microbiology, Sigma Xi National Science Honorary Society, International Union of Microbiological Societies, and American Institute of Biological Sciences.

Professor Colwell holds a bachelor’s degree in bacteriology and a master’s degree in genetics from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. She earned a Ph.D. in oceanography from the University of Washington.

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