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Howard University Announces 2024 Bouchet Graduate Honor Society Inductees

Bouchet Scholars 2024 Group Photo

WASHINGTON – The Howard University Graduate School is proud to announce the 2024 inductees into the Edward Alexander Bouchet Honor Society. Co-founded by Yale University and Howard University in 2005, the Bouchet Society recognizes outstanding scholarly achievement and promotes diversity and excellence in doctoral education and the professoriate. The society commemorates physicist, educator, and Yale alumnus Edward Alexander Bouchet, Ph.D., who in 1876 became the first African American to earn a doctorate in the United States. 

“We are proud of the ten honorees and their service, scholarship, and advocacy for issues that matter to the communities they serve. The faculty who has taught and mentored them are also to be lauded for nurturing our scholars' intellectual curiosity and their desire to be change agents for a better world,” said Dana A. Williams, Ph.D., dean of the Howard University Graduate School. 

This year’s cohort of honorees were invited to attend an annual conference in April at Yale University and joined a national network of peers from the Society’s chapters at 19 American universities. They were formally inducted at a ceremony on Yale's campus on April 5. 

“Education has always been important to me. Both of my parents were educators and I've always grown up to believe that being Black is in no way a hindrance but something that spurs me to do bigger and better things. I’m really honored to be part of a society where one of the core beliefs is that diversifying the academy is not only something that can be something that should have been done already,” said 2024 inductee Jonece Layne

Austin Anderson 

Austin Anderson is a Ph.D. candidate in English at Howard University whose work focuses on race, class, technology, and power. Anderson’s dissertation “Racial Recursivity: Play, Blackness, and History in Contemporary Video Games” explores the use of Blackness as a narrative device in contemporary video games. He aims to continue his work in service advocating for the needs of historically marginalized populations in academia, especially scholars of color and scholars from low-income backgrounds. 

Tia M. Dickerson 

Tia M. Dickerson is a candidate for the Ph.D. in sociology. Her current research projects examine how marital status impacts the mental health of Black couples, the association between race, incarceration and termination of mother's parental rights, and the impact of race related stress on Black married individuals. She has published work examining whether federally funded healthy marriage relationship education programs support the mental health and economic stability of couples. She is also a contributing author the forthcoming volume: “50 Key Scholars of Black Social Thought” highlighting the theoretical contributions of Black scholars to the discipline of sociology. Dickerson is a recipient of the Beth B. Hess Memorial Scholarship awarded by Sociologists for Women in Society. 

Jonece Layne 

Jonece Layne is a candidate for a Ph.D. in counseling, psychology, and a clinician. providing assessment and intervention services at Children's National Hospital where she recently received her Advocating and Supporting Psychology and Research Education Extern Award. Her dissertation research focuses on the relationships between positive and negative domains of parenting and the presence of disordered eating symptoms among Black girls and women. She examines body image and racial identity as potential moderators of those relationships. 

Jimisha Relerford 

Jimisha Relerford is a candidate for the Ph.D. in English. Her research interests include 20th and 21st century African Diaspora literature, Women's and Gender Studies, and African American Rhetorics. Her dissertation research analyzes humor and satire in Black women's narratives across cultures. Her work has been published in peer-reviewed journals including CLA Journal, the Langston Hughes Review, and Spectrum: A Journal on Black Men. She is also an experienced instructor, having taught first-year writing and English composition courses for nearly a decade, most recently as a lecturer and master instructor in Howard’s Department of English. She aspires to establish a career at the intersections of academic humanities and project/grants management and to also develop a non-profit organization that provides academic coaching, professional development, and scholarships to college students who are single parents. 

Anaiya Reliford 

Anaiya Reliford is a candidate for a Ph.D. in Atmospheric Sciences. Her research is a fusion of atmospheric chemistry and cutting-edge remote sensing technology, with a focus on routine in-situ sampling within the Earth's boundary layer. As a member of the Applied Fluids-Thermal Research Laboratory, founded by her mentor, Sonya T. Smith, Ph.D., Reliford serves as a graduate research assistant. Additionally, she is a NOAA Center for Atmospheric Sciences and Meteorology-M (NCASM) Fellow. She also mentors undergraduate students, steering them through interdisciplinary experimental and computational research across diverse engineering domains. An advocate for diversity and inclusion in STEM, she aspires to be a beacon for underrepresented women. Her mission is to serve as a mentor and resource, fostering a supportive community for aspiring women in science and engineering. 

Kirsten Sims 

Kirsten Sims is a candidate for a Ph.D. in atmospheric sciences. She is a two-time Bison, graduating from Howard with a Bachelor of Science and Master of Engineering and Mechanical Engineering. Her research involves computational fluid dynamics and thermal management of microelectronics for air and space vehicles. She serves as a mentor to undergraduate students whose work focuses on theoretical and computational research, and her personal goal is to be a mentor and a resource for all students and young professionals but especially those underrepresented in STEM. 

Lauren L. Taylor 

Lauren L. Taylor is a candidate for a Ph.D. in sociology with a concentration in atmospheric science and public policy. Her research utilizes an intersectional lens to understand the community resilience and coping strategies of minorities following wildfire disasters. She has been recognized as a NOAA Cooperative Science Center in Atmospheric Sciences and Meteorology Research (NCAS-M II) Fellow, National Community Reinvestment Coalition Scholar, and recently completed a fellowship with the House of Representatives, Committee on Science, Space and Technology, Environment subcommittee. She aspires to work at the intersection of community activism and academia, with a passion for helping to empower everyday folks by highlighting their lived experiences. 

Phillip Warfield 

Phillip Warfield is a candidate for the Ph.D. in United States History. His research focuses on racial desegregation and education, specifically within the context of 7th day Adventist religious fundamentalism and its impact on its higher education institutions. He serves as a Project Assistant for the Council of Independent College’s Legacies of American Slavery Initiative. He is also a Chesapeake Watershed Cooperative Ecosystems Unit Student Fellow with the National Park Service. Phillip is an award-winning documentary filmmaker, having produced the film for the Pulitzer center in 2022. His ultimate goal is to work in the field of public history and education utilizing digital storytelling to preserve the legacies of African American and Latino changemakers and their communities. 

Tiffany Wheatland-Disu 

Tiffany Wheatland-Disu is a candidate for the Ph.D. in History. She is a specialist of 20th century African and African diaspora history whose research interests converged Black radicalism, Black internationalism, and transnational solidarities toward liberation. Her dissertation examines the transnational dimensions of political thought and process inspired by the 1958 All African People's conference, and across exploring the commonalities and connections between 20th century Black freedom, struggles, in West Africa and the broader Atlantic world. Upon completion of her Ph.D., she plans to continue research teaching and bridging the intellectual fragmentation which persists in the histories of Africa and its diaspora. 

Malick Kebe 

Malick Kebe, who recently completed his Ph.D. in mathematics, is a statistician interested in extreme value statistics, distribution theory, and dynamical systems. He is also interested in machine learning, particularly, large language models, and time series analysis. He received the 2023 Outstanding Graduate Student award from the Washington Statistical Society. He is passionate about democratizing access to STEM education and cutting-edge research, particularly for students from underprivileged backgrounds. 

Learn more about the scholars here.