Three UW graduate students named to Bouchet Society

March 5, 2012 By Valeria Davis

Three University of Wisconsin–Madison graduate students of color — Edward G Cole, Abiola O. Keller, and Doug Kiel — will be inducted into the Madison Chapter of the Edward A. Bouchet Graduate Student Honor Society in a ceremony during its annual conference Friday, March 9.

The conference will be held at the Pyle Center, 201 Langdon St., from 1 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. featuring guest speaker Curtis L. Payton, a nationally recognized leader for his critical work in promoting diversity and inclusion of traditionally underrepresented populations in higher education and for his focus on health disparities in these populations.

In 2004 Payton was awarded the national Bouchet Leadership Award at Yale for his pioneering work in microbial diseases and in recognition of his prolific activity in issues of diversity and mentoring. He retired after a 36-year career at the Yale School of Medicine in 2006.

The Bouchet Society is named for the nation’s first African American doctoral degree recipient, who earned a doctorate in physics from Yale University in 1876. It was established in 2005 by Yale University and Howard University to recognize this historic event and to promote diversity and excellence in doctoral education and among professors.

Local chapters are formed by invitation only, and must be at doctoral institutions with a sustained record of training scholars who are traditionally underrepresented in the academy.

This year’s UW–Madison graduate-student inductees include:

Photo: Edward Cole


Edward G Cole, a doctoral candidate in mechanical engineering. In the advanced manufacturing lab of professor Frank E. Pfefferkorn, Cole’s research within friction stir welding (FSW) has examined welding forces influenced by tool design features and the thermo-mechanical responses of various aluminum alloys. The impact of tool design has received even greater attention recently, in that Cole is now able to design and machine tools on a 5-axis, mill-turn center on loan from the Machine Tool Technologies Research Foundation. Beyond alloy specific measurements and tool design, Cole also has contributed experimental results to funded research objectives for both the U.S. Navy and an industrial research partner in Wisconsin. Results from this and other works have been presented at both national and international conferences in addition to proceedings and a journal publication.

Photo: Abiola Keller


Abiola O. Keller holds a master of public health from UW–Madison and a master of physician assistant studies from the University of Iowa. She is currently a doctoral candidate in the Population Health Sciences program. Her graduate research with Whitney Witt focuses on better understanding the social, behavioral, and psychological factors that contribute to disparities in health and mental health outcomes across the life span. Her dissertation will examine the impact of patient-provider communication on the receipt of adequate treatment for depression among women in the United States and to what extent patient-provider communication impacts disparities in quality treatment. Keller has received several awards including an Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) T-32 Pre-doctoral National Research Service Award (NRSA) Traineeship.

Photo: Doug Kiel


Doug Kiel studies American Indian history, federal Indian law and policy, and the history of the American West. He is an enrolled member of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin and a UW–Madison doctoral candidate. His dissertation, “Routes of Resurgence: The Wisconsin Oneidas and the Long Red Power Movement,” examines 50 years of tribal revitalization efforts in the United States prior to the advent of casino gaming and traces the extraordinary renascence of the Oneida Nation following the devastating federal policies of the nineteenth century. While the 1920s represented a historic low point for the Oneidas characterized by insufficient access to healthcare, education, and employment, by the 1990s the Oneidas not only had achieved cultural and economic security, they had also become one of the largest employers in northeast Wisconsin. Kiel has been the recipient of grants and fellowships from the Ford Foundation, the Lyndon Baines Johnson Foundation, the American Philosophical Society, Middlebury College, and the School for Advanced Research (SAR) in Santa Fe, N.M.

The importance of the Bouchet Society and having a chapter at UW–Madison is multi-faceted, says Damon Williams, UW–Madison’s vice provost for diversity and climate and chief diversity officer.

“The basic tenet of the society is to encourage the recognition that diversity and academic excellence can be one and the same. From my viewpoint, this as a wonderful example of all that we are attempting to do in our efforts to advance inclusive excellence at the university,” says Williams, whose office has partnered with the Graduate School on the project.

Major universities, both public and private, and those that serve targeted populations such as historically black colleges and universities, must establish a process to diversify the sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics field from not only the graduate and doctorate levels, but in the post-doctorate sectors involving researchers, educators and administration of all of these areas, he adds. This, Williams says, is a key step toward competing in a global economy.

UW-Madison members will have opportunities to present their research at special events sponsored by the Multicultural Graduate Network; to act as mentors for McNair Scholars and others; and to attend a one-day conference for the Bouchet Society members and undergraduate under-represented minority students, says Dorothy Sanchez, UW–Madison Graduate School assistant dean.

Membership in the Bouchet Society is a lifelong commitment. By connecting outstanding leaders and leaders-to-be of all ages, Bouchet Society members hope to promote diversity and excellence for generations to come, Sanchez says.

Bouchet’s personal story is highly relevant today, Williams says.

“Modern scholars and scientists are still opening doors to become the first African American to cross the threshold, where they are required to demonstrate their ability to stand toe-to-toe in intellect, drive and determination in traditional disciplines as well as their scientific specialties,” Williams says.