Four Women Appointed to Endowed Professorships

Zengyi Shao, associate professor in the department of chemical and biological engineering at Iowa State University, has been appointed the Hershel B. Whitney Professor, Global Initiatives. Her research group focuses on synthetic biology and its applications in understanding complex biological processes, reprogramming genetic coding, and creating novel functions. She joined the Iowa State Faculty in 2013.

Dr. Shao received a master’s degree and Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

Bonnielin Swenor, professor of nursing snd founder and director of the Disability Health Research Center at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, has been named the inaugural Endowed Professor of Disability Health and Justice.

Dr. Swenor is a graduate of Pennsylvania State University. She holds a master of public health degree and a Ph.D. in public health from Johns Hopkins University.

Karen Cook-Bell, a professor in Bowie State University’s history and government department, has been awarded a University System of Maryland Wilson H. Elkins Professorship. The professorships are provided to support researchers and professors who demonstrate exemplary ability to inspire students and whose professional work and scholarly endeavors make a positive impact at their institutions and across the entire university system. She is the author of Claiming Freedom: Race, Kinship, and Land in Nineteenth-Century Georgia (University of South Carolina Press, 2018) and Running from Bondage: Enslaved Women and Their Remarkable Fight for Freedom in Revolutionary America (Cambridge University Press, 2021).

Professor Bell is a graduate of Savannah State University in Georgia. She holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in history from Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Wendy Berry Mendes has been appointed the Charles C. and Dorathea S. Dilley Professor of Psychology at Yale University. Dr. Mendes came to Yale from the University of California, San Francisco, where she was the Sarlo/Ekman Professor of Emotion in the department of psychiatry. Previously, she was the John L. Loeb Associate Professor of Psychology at Harvard.

Dr. Mendes earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in psychology from California State University, Long Beach. She holds a Ph.D. in psychology from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

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