Fourteen Women With Academic Affiliations in the U.S. Elected to Membership in the American Philosophical Society

The American Philosophical Society was founded in 1743 by Benjamin Franklin. The society honors distinguished scientists, social scientists, humanities scholars, artists, and societal leaders with membership in the society. Members have included George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Robert Frost, Thomas Edison, Sandra Day O’Connor, Charles Darwin, Toni Morrison, and Albert Einstein.

This year the society granted membership to 36 individuals. Of these 14 are women with ties to the academic world in the United States.

Seyla Benhabib, Dawn Bonnell, Sharon Hammes-Schiffer, Katalin Karikó, and Michèle Lamont

Seyla Benhabib is a senior research scholar and adjunct professor of law at Columbia University. She is the Eugene Meyer Professor of Political Science and Philosophy Emerita at Yale University. Earlier in her career, she taught at Harvard University, Stony Brook University, Boston University, and the New School. She is the author of many books including Dignity in Adversity. Human Rights in Troubled Times (Polity Press, 2011).

A native of Istanbul, Professor Benhabib is a graduate of Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts, and holds a Ph.D. from Yale University.

Dawn Bonnell is the Henry Robinson Towne Professor of Materials Science and Engineering and the senior vice provost for research in the School of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Pennsylvania. She has taught at the university for two decades.

Dr. Bonnell holds a Ph.D. in materials science from the University of Michigan.

Sharon Hammes-Schiffer is a professor of chemistry at Princeton University in New Jersey. Earlier, she was the John Gamble Kirkwood Professor of Chemistry in the Faculty of Arts and Science at Yale University. Professor Hammes-Schiffer has conducted breakthrough research on proton-coupled electron transfer reactions and enzymatic processes that have led to new research strategies in light-harvesting solar energy assemblies.

Professor Hammes-Schiffer is a graduate of Princeton University in New Jersey, where she majored in chemistry. She holds a Ph.D. in chemistry from Stanford University.

Katalin Karikó is a professor at the University of Szeged in Hungary and an adjunct professor of neurosurgery, at the Perelman School of Medicine of the University of Pennsylvania. Her research helped produce mRNA vaccines — including the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.

A native of Hungary, Dr. Karikó earned a Ph.D. at the University of Szeged. She continued her research and postdoctoral studies at the Institute of Biochemistry, Biological Research Centre of Hungary, the department of biochemistry at Temple University in Philadelphia, and the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland.

Michèle Lamont is the Robert I. Goldman Professor of European Studies and professor of sociology and African & African American studies at Harvard University. She joined the Harvard faculty in 2003 after teaching at the University of Texas at Austin and Princeton University. Her latest book is Seeing Others: How Recognition Works and How It Can Heal a Divided World (Atria, 2023).

Dr. Lamont grew up in Quebec and studied political theory at the University of Ottawa before obtaining a doctorate in sociology at the University of Paris in 1983.

Stacy Leeds, Eve Marder, Patricia McAnany, Carol Oja, and Ruth Scodel

Stacy L. Leeds is the Willard H. Pedrick Dean and Regents Professor of Law at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University. A citizen of the Cherokee Nation, Professor Leeds was named the dean of the University of Arkansas School of Law in 2011. Later, she was the vice chancellor for economic development, dean emeritus, and a professor at the University of Arkansas.

Professor Leeds holds a master of laws degree from the University of Wisconsin and a juris doctorate from the University of Tulsa. She later obtained an MBA from the University of Tennessee.

Eve Marder is the Victor and Gwendolyn Beinfield Professor of Neuroscience and University Professor in the biology department at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. Dr. Marder has made a number of remarkable and groundbreaking discoveries that have fundamentally changed our understanding of how neural circuits operate and produce behavior.

Dr. Marder is a graduate of Brandeis University. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of California, San Diego.

Patricia A. McAnany is the Kenan Eminent Professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is an expert in the archaeology of the Maya region and the cultural area of Mesoamerica. She is the co-author of Maya Cultural Heritage: How Archaeologists and Communities Engage the Past (Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, 2016).

Professor McAnany holds a Ph.D. in anthropology and archaeology from the University of New Mexico.

Carol J. Oja is the William Powell Mason Professor of Music and professor of American studies at Harvard University. Her research focuses on the history of American music and culture. Her book, Bernstein Meets Broadway: Collaborative Art in a Time of War (Oxford University Press, 2014) received the Music in American Culture Award from the American Musicological Society.

Dr. Oja is a graduate of St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. She earned a master’s degree at the University of Iowa and a Ph.D. from the Graduate School of the City University of New York.

Ruth Scodel is the D. R. Shackleton Bailey Collegiate Professor of Greek and Latin Emerita at the University of Michigan. Her research focuses mostly on Greek literature, especially Homer and Greek tragedy. She joined the faculty at the University of Michigan in 1987. She is the author of several books including Epic Facework: Self-Presentation and Social Interaction in Homer (Classical Press of Wales, 2008).

Professor Scodel is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley. She earned a Ph.D. at Harvard University.

Christine Seidman, Jill Tarter, Gabrielle Starr, and Deborah Willis

Christine Edry Seidman is the Thomas W. Smith Professor in Medicine and Genetics at Harvard Medical School and director of the Cardiovascular Genetics Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Her research focuses on genetic causes for heart disease and other disorders. She discovered the first genetic cause of congenital heart malformations.

Dr. Seidman received her medical degree from the George Washington School of Medicine and Health Sciences. She completed an internal medicine residency at the Johns Hopkins Hospital and a cardiology fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Jill Cornell Tarter is the Bernard M. Oliver Endowed Chair Emeritus at the SETI Institute (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) in Mountain View, California. During her career, she also taught at the University of Southern California.

Dr. Tarter is a graduate of Cornell University. She earned a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of California, Berkeley.

G. Gabrielle Starr was appointed the tenth president of Pomona College in Claremont, California, in 2016. Earlier, she dean of the College of Arts and Science at New York University. She joined the faculty at New York University in 2000.

Gabrielle Starr enrolled at Emory University in Atlanta at the age of 15. She earned a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree at Emory before going on to earn a Ph.D. at Harvard University. She is the author of Feeling Beauty: The Neuroscience of Aesthetic Experience (MIT Press, 2013).

Deborah Willis is a University Professor and chair of the department of photography & imaging in the Tisch School of the Arts and director of the Institute for African American Affairs and the Center for Black Visual Culture at New York University. Among Dr. Willis’ published works are Posing Beauty: African American Images From the 1890s to the Present (W.W. Norton, 2009) and Black Venus 2010: They Called Her “Hottentot” (Temple University Press, 2010).

Dr. Willis is a graduate of the Philadelphia College of Art. She holds a master’s degree from the City University of New York, a master of fine arts degree from the Pratt Institute, and a Ph.D. from George Mason University in Virginia.

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