By Nadia Reese
The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) announced the 564 scientists, engineers, and innovators from around the world who make up this year’s class of AAAS Elected Fellows.
AAAS is the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the Science family of journals, and the elected fellows program is among the most distinct honors within the scientific community, recognizing individuals for scientifically and socially distinguished achievements in the scientific enterprise.
Past fellows include W.E.B. DuBois, who co-founded the National Association of the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and was the first African-American to hold a doctorate.
One of this year’s Elected Fellows is Steven Richardson, a professor of Electrical Engineering at Howard University. He is recognized for significant advances in computational materials science and computational chemistry, for outstanding teaching and mentoring of young scientists, and for inspiring outreach to students and public audiences.
Diversifying scientific research and bridging the gap between underrepresented communities and science education requires active efforts by scientists in the field, and Dr. Richardson has dedicated his career to ensuring more students of color are empowered to work in the sciences.
In response to his achievement as this year’s elected fellow, Richardson said he is “very proud to be part of the 564 Fellows, people who range in a number of fields.”
When asked about advice that he would give to aspiring scientists and engineers, Dr. Richardson said, “Learn as much math as you can. That doesn’t mean becoming mathematicians. Next, learn as much about computer programming as possible.”
This isn’t the only award Richardson has achieved. Richardson’s research has resulted in well over $10 million worth of funding to Howard University, both as a principal investigator and a co-principal investigator on many governments, industrial, and philanthropic research grants.
He has been a visiting scientist at the Center for Computational Materials Science of the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C. (1997-2014), a featured participant for the 2012 series The HistoryMakers: Science Makers, and he was the 2016 to 2017 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Visiting Professor of Chemistry at MIT.
Richardson has always believed that research and teaching are both synergistic activities, and he was selected by his faculty colleagues and former students as the recipient of the 2013 Howard University Faculty Senate Award for Exemplary Teaching. He was a visiting professor at Bradley University, Emory University, Iowa State University, and the University of Lisbon, and he has lectured extensively on his research throughout the United States, Europe, Asia, Mexico, and South Africa.
Richardson is currently a Faculty Associate in Applied Physics in the John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard University, and a 2022-2024 Sigma Xi Distinguished Lecturer.
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