The Edward Alexander Bouchet Graduate Honor Society is named in remembrance of Edward Bouchet, who made history in 1876 as the first African American to earn a Ph.D. in the United States. The Bouchet Honor Society recognizes underrepresented doctoral candidates who exhibit commendable scholarship and standout involvement on both their campuses and their communities. Jaimee Swift, KLN ‘13, now a doctoral candidate at Howard University, was selected by Howard’s graduate school as one of its five 2020 Edward Bouchet Scholars.
While at Klein College of Media and Communication, Swift was the president and editor-in-chief of Her Campus Temple and also worked as an intern at NBC Universal in Philadelphia. Since graduating with her undergraduate degree in communication studies, she went on to complete a master’s degree at Howard and has since begun topursue her doctoral degree in political science at Howard, focusing her research on queer and LGBT Afro-Brazilian women and their radical activism and resistance.
Outside of her academic achievements, Swift is the creator, founder and executive director of Black Women Radicals, a platform that hosts panels and community events and highlights the efforts of Black women scholars and changemakers who have radical politics. This year, she was also selected as a Sasakawa Young Leaders Foundation Fellow, an opportunity for which she will receive full tuition remission and financial stipends. The fellowship is open to Howard Ph.D. candidates with a research concentration in international affairs or world peace.
Although the Bouchet Honor Society was initially a partnership between Howard and Yale University, chapters of the society can be found at universities nationwide. The culminating event for each year’s cohort of Bouchet Scholars is the annual Yale Bouchet Conference on Diversity and Graduate Education, where newly inducted Bouchet Scholars receive full room and board to present their research at Yale. However, the COVID-19 pandemic caused the cancellation of this year’s conference.
In a press release written by Howard’s newsroom, Dana Williams, dean of Howard’s graduate school, says “We are proud of these scholars' service, scholarship, and advocacy for issues that matter to the communities they serve. Their leadership now and in the future will be crucial to society’s advancement. We have high expectations of all of our students; these scholars affirm their ability to meet them at every turn.”
Swift says she is grateful for the continued support she receives for her various endeavors from Klein College and its faculty and staff. In the future, she hopes to make Black Women Radicals and her scholarly research even more accessible for people who want to learn more about Black women advocates who have made a difference around the world.