Albert Burgess-Hull wanted to create a legacy that those younger than him could look up to for generations to come.
Burgess-Hull, University of Wisconsin doctoral candidate in human development and family studies, examines the relationship between social networks and health behaviors and is spearheading research in the School of Human Ecology. His work focuses specifically on marijuana and substance abuse among minors.
For his work, Burgess-Hull became one of six UW students to be inducted into the UW chapter of the Edward A. Bouchet Graduate Honor Society in April. Founded in 2005 at Yale University, the society recognizes scholars in graduate and doctorate programs for outstanding achievements in research, leadership and community outreach.
Named after Edward Alexander Bouchet, the first African American to receive a doctorate degree from an American institution, the Bouchet Society emphasizes diversity in scholarship by recognizing individuals from underrepresented groups.
“By highlighting people in [underrepresented] groups, it shows those who are younger that they can be successful too,” Burgess-Hull said. “The future generations have a model they can look up to.”
LaRuth McAfee, the assistant dean for Diversity, Inclusion and Funding, said the UW Chapter of the Bouchet Society effectively aligns with the Wisconsin Idea.
To be inducted into the Bouchet Society, all nominees are evaluated on the “Five Bouchet Qualities.” The five qualities include character, leadership, advocacy, scholarship and service.
“We can’t just be strong in scholarship, it’s about character and what type of leaders they are,” McAfee said.
Another inductee, Nadia Khan, researches changes in gene expression which can occur after epileptic seizures. Khan is a doctoral candidate in UW’s cellular and microbiology graduate program. Khan said being inducted into the Bouchet Society has placed her in a network of people who care about diversity in education.
“It helps to know that I have allies who do think [diversity in academia] is important,” Khan said.
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Coming from a low-income household, Khan said she experienced obstacles in her childhood that helped develop her work ethic and drive for success. Despite these obstacles, Khan received national recognition for her research in the field of biology.
Reflecting the “Five Bouchet Qualities,” Khan has exemplified excellence in leadership and advocacy, McAfee said.
As an active member of her community, Khan said she worked with local Madison high schools to facilitate Free Application for Federal Student Aid seminars in Spanish for parents within the community.
“The goal is to help students have the confidence and tools to pursue further education,” Khan said.
The Bouchet Society plays a vital role in recognizing academic excellence and promoting interdisciplinary connections among scholars and the community, McAfee said.
As a national organization, the Bouchet Society has created a network of professionals across the country who represent academic excellence and diversity, McAfee said.
“There is inequality in the world, and the scholars have the type of impact that can address that,” McAfee said. “The Bouchet scholars strive to make the community a better place, in and out of academia.”