Five Notre Dame faculty elected AAAS Fellows as program celebrates 150th anniversary

Author: Notre Dame News

Five Notre Dame faculty elected AAAS Fellows as program celebrates 150th anniversary

Today, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), one of the world’s largest general scientific societies and publisher of the Science family of journals, announced its newest class of AAAS Fellows, including five faculty from the University of Notre Dame.

This class represents expertise and accomplishment in the fields of biological sciences, chemistry, medical sciences, engineering, neuroscience and physics.

“To be elected by one’s peers as a AAAS Fellow is a tremendous honor and a mark of disciplinary excellence and innovation,” said John T. McGreevy, the Charles and Jill Fischer Provost and Francis A. McAnaney Professor of History. “We are proud to celebrate the achievements of these extraordinary colleagues whose scientific contributions help advance Notre Dame as a leading global Catholic research university and a force for good in the world.”

Notre Dame faculty elected to the 2023 class of AAAS Fellows include:

  • Elizabeth A. Archie, professor in the Department of Biological Sciences. Archie’s research aims to understand the scientific impact of community. The AAAS recognizes her for novel and important contributions to the understanding of health and disease in the context of evolution and ecology, particularly in wild mammal populations. Archie is co-director of the Amboseli Baboon Research Project, a collaboration among Notre Dame, Princeton University, Duke University and the Max Planck Institute of Evolutionary Anthropology, and one of the longest-running primate studies in the world. 

  • Peter C. Burns, the Henry Massman Professor of Civil Engineering in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences and director of Notre Dame’s Center for Sustainable Energy (ND Energy). Burns is recognized for contributions to advancing actinide chemistry, geochemistry and mineralogy to improve the nuclear fuel cycle, manage nuclear waste and address environmental contamination. He has focused most of his research over the past decade on the solid-state chemistry, mineralogy and environmental chemistry of uranium, as well as the transuranic elements neptunium and plutonium.

  • Nitesh Chawla, the Frank M. Freimann Professor of Computer Science and Engineering and director of the Lucy Family Institute for Data and Society. Chawla is recognized for distinguished contributions to artificial intelligence and data science, specifically in machine learning from imbalanced data, machine learning on graphs, and data science for societal impact. Chawla is also a fellow of the Association for Advancement of Artificial Intelligence, the Association of Computing Machinery and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

  • Patricia J. Culligan, the Matthew H. McCloskey Dean of Engineering and professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences. Culligan’s expertise is in geo-environmental engineering, with a focus on sustainable urban infrastructure, social networks and the application of advanced measurement and sensing technologies to improve water, energy and environmental management. She is recognized for advancing the understanding of the physical mechanisms governing porous media flow and transport, emphasizing knowledge generation in areas spanning from groundwater protection to energy dissipation and urban water management.

  • Nathan G. Swenson, professor in the Department of Biological Sciences and the Gillen Director of Notre Dame’s Environmental Research Center (UNDERC). Swenson is recognized for his distinguished contributions in elucidating the drivers of the structure, diversity and dynamics of forest tree communities. His research is focused on leveraging information regarding the intra- and inter-specific variation in tree performance to understand and predict the past, present and future distribution of biodiversity — including a collaboration with NASA to measure forest health.

“We would like to thank the AAAS for recognizing these stellar members of the Notre Dame faculty, and we congratulate each of them on receiving this distinct honor,” said Jeffrey F. Rhoads, vice president for research and professor in the Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering. “They are leading scientists, engineers and innovators who also embody Notre Dame’s commitment to make discoveries that yield benefits for the common good. We are grateful for the work they are doing to prepare the next generation of researchers at Notre Dame and beyond.”

Election as a fellow of AAAS is a lifetime honor, with an expectation that recipients maintain commonly held standards of professional ethics and scientific integrity.

New fellows join noted fellows such as Alondra Nelson, the Harold F. Linder Professor at the Institute for Advanced Study and former deputy assistant to President Joe Biden and acting director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy; Mae Jemison, the first Black woman to go to space; Steven Chu, 1997 Nobel laureate in physics who served as the 12th U.S. Secretary of Energy; W.E.B. Du Bois, considered the founding father of American sociology; Ellen Ochoa, veteran astronaut and the Johnson Space Center’s first Hispanic and second female director in its history; Grace Hopper, pioneer in computer software development and programming language; and Vint Cerf, who co-designed the TCP/IP protocols and the architecture of the internet and received the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom.

AAAS first launched its lifetime recognition in 1874, about 25 years after the association was founded, and included Rev. Joseph Celestine Basile Carrier, C.S.C., the first director of the science program at the University of Notre Dame in 1865, when the College of Science was established.


Originally published by Notre Dame News at on April 18, 2024.