The 2017 TMS Ellen Swallow Richards Diversity Award will be presented to Professor Lorna Gibson at a conference this coming spring. This award recognizes an individual who, in the remarkable pioneering spirit of Ellen Swallow Richards, has helped or inspired others to overcome personal, professional, educational, cultural, or institutional adversity to pursue a career in minerals, metals, and/or materials.
Professor Gibson is being recognized for her public role in creating a culture of equality and diversity and for her private support of those facing adversity in their field. She is committed to building a welcoming, diverse, supportive, and productive community; to further these goals, she serves in leadership positions and to participate in committees for hiring, promotions, tenure, admissions, and space allocations and improvements. These difficult and time-consuming obligations are critical to give a complex institution fairness, balance, and transparency. Along with these responsibilities, Professor Gibson is also a friendly participant in student and community outreach activities that bring research in our field to the outside world.
The award was named for Ellen Swallow Richards (1842 – 1911) who was the first U.S. professional degreed female scientist, the first woman admitted to MIT, and the first female member of TMS’ antecedent organization, AIME. Ellen is recognized for her profound influence in the diverse fields of health, education, and engineering that helped shape our field and all institutions of higher education. Among many accomplishments, she was a metallurgist and is widely recognized as the founder of the field of “ecology.” Ellen helped open doors for many, and an increasing number of women and minorities have been direct beneficiaries of her actions. Her husband, Robert Hallowell Richards, was the very first head of what is now the Dept. of Materials Science and Engineering.
Ellen Swallow Richards
Ellen Swallow Richards (right) and her husband Robert Hallowell Richards (left).