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NatSci researchers honored for achievements in science and society

By Val Osowski

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Two Michigan State University College of Natural Science (NatSci) researchers—Andrea Case and Shinhan Shiu—were elected 2022 fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

Founded in 1848, AAAS is the world’s largest general scientific society. In 1874, the society started recognizing distinguished individuals as fellows for their contributions to science and society.

MSU College of Natural Science plant biologists Andrea Case and Shinhan Shiu sitting on a couch at the MSU Library to pose for a photo of them as 2022 AAAS Fellows..

MSU College of Natural Science researchers Shinhan Shiu (left) and Andrea Case were among five MSU faculty members named 2022 AAAS fellows in recognition of their contributions to science and society. This year’s cohort joins more than 175 current and past Spartans who have been honored as fellows. Credit: Andrew Ward

Case and Shiu, who were among five MSU faculty members named 2022 AAAS fellows, were recognized with the honor for advancing a breadth of research in areas that include evolutionary ecology, plant biology, anthropological archaeology, education and low-cost sensing technology for health care and food safety. The cohort joins more than 175 current and past Spartans who have been honored as fellows.

“I am proud to join AAAS in recognizing MSU’s researchers not only for their excellence in the classroom and laboratory, but also in shaping the way we teach and perform science to make it more accessible, impactful and inclusive,” said Interim President Teresa K. Woodruff, Ph.D. “I congratulate our new fellows for this recognition and extend my appreciation for their embodiment of our shared values as they prepare the next generation of leaders and innovators.”

“Becoming a AAAS Fellow is among the most distinct honors within the scientific community,” the society said. “The AAAS Council elects its fellows deliberately and carefully to preserve the honor attached to this recognition.”

Case, professor and chair of the NatSci Department of Plant Biology, was selected as a fellow in biological sciences for distinguished contributions to improving ethical conduct, inclusion and personal safety in evolutionary biology and the broader community of STEMM professional societies through the development of enforceable policies.

“I am extremely honored to be elected as a AAAS Fellow,” said Case, who joined MSU this month. “Safety is fundamental to inclusion and excellence. Resources made available by AAAS through the Societies Consortium on Sexual Harassment in STEMM were integral in the development of the policies for which I am being recognized. They were developed through work with the Society for the Study of Evolution, American Society of Naturalists and Society for Systematic Biologists and have been shared widely as models for other professional societies.”

Shiu, a professor in the MSU Departments of Plant Biology and Computational Mathematics, Science and Engineering, was selected as a fellow in agriculture, food and renewable resources for distinguished contributions to plant genome evolution, particularly for developing and using artificial intelligence approaches.

“This honor inspires me to further pursue my interests in solving new scientific problems in a highly rewarding working environment created by my students, colleagues, mentors and families,” Shiu said.

An induction ceremony for the new fellows will be held at the AAAS Annual Meeting in March in Washington, D.C.  New fellows will be presented with an official certificate and a gold and blue — representing science and engineering, respectively — rosette pin to commemorate their election.

"These individuals are leaders in their disciplines and representative of the outstanding quality of work being done in NatSci and at MSU," said Phillip Duxbury, NatSci Dean. "We congratulate them on this prestigious and well-deserved honor.”

In total, this year’s cohort includes more than 500 trailblazers worldwide in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM. The related acronym STEMM, where the additional M stands for medicine, also appears in this year’s honors.

Past honorees include actor and science communicator Alan Alda, Nobel laureate and former U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu and engineer Mae Jemison, the first Black woman to travel to space.

The new Fellows will receive a certificate and a gold and blue rosette pin to commemorate their election and will be celebrated in Washington, D.C., in summer 2023. They will also be featured in the AAAS News & Notes section of Science in February 2023.

For additional information about AAAS, see www.aaas.org.

Banner image: The 2022 MSU cohort of AAAS Fellows are (left to right): James Fairweather, professor emeritus, Center for Higher and Adult Education, College of Education; Evangelyn Alocilja, professor, Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, and the College of Engineering;  Andrea Case, professor and department chair, Department of Plant Biology, College of Natural Science; William Lovis, professor emeritus, Department of Anthropology, College of Social Science; and Shinhan Shiu, professor, Department of Plant Biology, College of Natural Science. Credit: Derrick Turner