American Association for the Advancement of Science Honors Two LSU Faculty

January 26, 2022

BATON ROUGE – The world’s largest general scientific society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, or AAAS, has elected two LSU faculty to the newest class of AAAS Fellows. Zakiya S. Wilson-Kennedy and Samuel J. Bentley are among those to receive this distinct honor within the scientific community this year.

“Our renowned faculty at LSU lead the way in research, teaching and service. These two outstanding professors represent LSU excellence, and we are so proud of their recognition by AAAS. They join an impressive list of LSU researchers and scholars, who are also AAAS Fellows,” said LSU President William F. Tate IV.


Zakiya Wilson-Kennedy

Zakiya S. Wilson-Kennedy

– Credit: LSU

Zakiya S. Wilson-Kennedy is an associate professor of research in chemistry education and the assistant dean for diversity and inclusion within the LSU College of Science. Her research investigates the persistence of individuals from all backgrounds in science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, higher education and careers, focusing on faculty and student recruitment, retention and success. Through these efforts, she employs mentoring models that integrate the theories of identity development, empowerment, social cognitive career theory and community cultural wealth to create and test development structures that cultivate self-efficacy and agency, particularly for groups historically underrepresented in STEM. This work has been supported through extramural support from the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of Education, the Louisiana Board of Regents and other agencies. Her education research has been published in peer-reviewed journals and she is co-guest editor of a special issue of the Journal of Chemical Education, entitled “Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Respect in Chemistry Education Research and Practice” (2022).

Wilson-Kennedy served as the principal investigator for the 2014 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring organizational recognition for the LSU Office of Strategic Initiatives. She has received additional honors for her work in broadening participation, diversity and STEM education including the NOBCChE Winifred Burks-Houck Award (2019) and Henry C. McBay Outstanding Educator Award (2014), the ACS Stanley C. Israel Regional Award for Advancing Diversity in the Chemical Sciences (2011), Woman of Color STEM Achievement Award for Promotion of Education at the Collegiate Level (2011), the National Administrator Role Model Award from Minority Access, Inc. (2009) and the LSU Outstanding Staff Award (2009). She is a charter member of the Society of STEM Women of Color and the Metropolitan Baton Rouge Chapter of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women. She is also a founding contributor to the American Chemical Society Women Chemists of Color Initiative.  She received her bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Jackson State University, an HBCU, and her doctorate in inorganic chemistry from LSU.


Samuel J. Bentley

Samuel J. Bentley

– Credit: LSU

Samuel J. Bentley serves as the vice president of the LSU Office of Research & Economic Development and is the Billy and Ann Harrison Chair in Sedimentary Geology.  

He is a marine sedimentologist in the LSU Department of Geology & Geophysics in the LSU College of Science. Bentley’s work involves field, laboratory and modeling studies of sediments and stratigraphy on continental margins of ocean basins, including the Mississippi Delta. His specific interests include applications of sediment radiochemistry to studies of sediment flux and accumulation along margins, among other things.

Bentley and his students and collaborators have worked on projects from the tropics to the Arctic, publishing more than 100 journal articles and book chapters. Much of his interest here in Louisiana is focused on Mississippi Delta conservation and restoration. Bentley’s work as director of LSU’s Coastal Studies Institute from 2012 to 2017 is one example. He participated in a large study of delta restoration strategies, supported by the National Audubon Society, the Environmental Defense Fund and the National Wildlife Federation, and presently serves on the State of Louisiana’s Coastal Advisory Team for developing  the State of Louisiana’s 2023 Coastal Master Plan.


The 2021 class of AAAS Fellows includes 564 scientists, engineers and innovators spanning 24 scientific disciplines who are being recognized for their scientifically and socially distinguished achievements. AAAS is also the publisher of the Science family of journals. 

“AAAS is proud to bestow the honor of AAAS Fellow to some of today’s brightest minds who are integral to forging our path into the future,” said Sudip Parikh, AAAS chief executive officer and executive publisher of the Science family of journals. “We celebrate these distinguished individuals for their invaluable contributions to the scientific enterprise.” 

This tradition stretches back to 1874. AAAS Fellows are a distinguished cadre of scientists, engineers and innovators who have been recognized for their achievements across disciplines ranging from research, teaching and technology, to administration in academia, industry and government, to excellence in communicating and interpreting science to the public. 

The new Fellows will receive an official certificate and a gold and blue rosette pin to commemorate their election—representing science and engineering, respectively and will be celebrated later this year during an in-person gathering when it is feasible from a public health and safety perspective. The new class will also be featured in the AAAS News & Notes section of Science in January 2022.


LSU's AAAS Fellows include: 

1901: William Stubbs, Chemistry

1955: George Lowery, Zoological Sciences

1960: Arlo Landolt, Astronomy

1966: James Eldred, Geology and Geography

1971: Barbara Strawitz, Chemistry

1980: Neil Kestner, Chemistry

1980: William Pryor, Chemistry

1984: O. Carruth McGehee, Mathematics

1992: Christopher D’Elia, Atmospheric and Hydrospheric Sciences

1994: Charles Groat, Geology and Geography

1995: Steven C. Hand, Biological Sciences

1995: Nancy Rabalais, Biological Sciences

1998: Meredith Blackwell, Biological Sciences

1999: Dominique Homberger, Biological Sciences  

2001: Brian Hales, Chemistry

2002: Isiah Warner, Chemistry

2003: Kent Mathewson, Geology and Geography

2006: Jorge Pullin, Physics

2007: Mark Batzer, Biological Sciences

2007: Joel Tohline, Astronomy

2008: Kam Biu Liu, Geology and Geography

2009: Terry Bricker, Biological Sciences      

2009: Barry Dellinger, Chemistry

2009: Jonathan Dowling, Physics

2009: Brooks Ellwood, Geology and Geography

2009: Cynthia Peterson, Biological Sciences

2009: Steven Soper, Chemistry

2009: Kalliat Valsaraj, Engineering

2010: Robin McCarley, Chemistry

2010: Saundra McGuire, Chemistry

2010: Erwin Poliakoff, Chemistry

2011: Huiming Bao, Geology and Geography

2011: Gary Byerly, Geology and Geography

2011: Michael Khonsari, Engineering

2012: Susanne Brenner, Mathematics           

2012: Rongying Jin, Physics

2012: Marcia Newcomer, Biological Sciences

2012: Kenneth Schafer, Physics

2013: John Fleeger, Biological Sciences

2013: Robert Lipton, Mathematics

2014: George Stanley, Chemistry

2014: Carol Wicks, Atmospheric and Hydrospheric Sciences

2018: Prosanta Chakrabarty, Biological Sciences

2018: Anne Grove, Biological Sciences

2018: Kyle Edward Harms, Biological Sciences

2018: Wayne Newhauser, Medical Sciences

2020: Robb Brumfield, Biological Sciences