Pair of A&S Professors Receive Prestigious Distinction from the American Association for the Advancement of Science
Jennifer Ross of the Department of Physics and Jason Wiles of the Department of Biology are honored in recognition of their commitment to the advancement of science.
Two College of Arts and Sciences (A&S) professors have been named Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Jennifer Ross, professor and department chair of physics, and Jason Wiles, associate professor of biology, were elected by the AAAS Council for their efforts on behalf of the advancement of science. They will be honored at a ceremony to be held this spring in Washington, D.C.
Ross and Wiles join eight other Syracuse University professors who have been named AAAS Fellows over the past two decades. Since 2010, A&S faculty to receive the honor include Alan Middleton (2016), associate dean of research and scholarship for A&S, George Langford (2013), A&S dean emeritus and professor emeritus of biology, M. Cristina Marchetti (2013), former professor of physics in A&S who is now at UC Santa Barbara, Donald Siegel (2012), professor emeritus of Earth and environmental sciences, and William Starmer (2011), professor emeritus of biology.
Established in 1848, AAAS is the world's largest general scientific society as well as the publisher of the well-known scientific journal Science. Fellows are elected by the AAAS Council through a careful deliberation process to preserve the honor attached to this recognition. Each Fellow is acknowledged with a citation recognizing their contributions to the scientific community.
Jennifer Ross (AAAS Section Affiliation: Physics)
Ross’ citation reads: “For distinguished contributions to biophysics, particularly for experimentally elucidating regulatory mechanisms in intracellular transport.”
An award-winning biophysicist, Ross focuses her research on how cells produce motion and force. By harnessing the fundamental and autonomous physics principles of biological cells, her group is working toward designing and creating next-generation materials inspired and empowered by biology. Throughout her career, Ross has also remained committed to diversifying STEM. She has been part of the EUREKA! summer program, working with middle and high school girls to teach them about science, health and self-care, and this past summer helped organize the Syracuse University Research in Physics (SURPh) program, which invited students and recent graduates from the Syracuse City School District to Syracuse University to take part in a six-week paid internship.
A faculty member at Syracuse University since 2019, Ross has been awarded grants by government agencies including the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and private foundations. Her awards and professional honors include Fellow of the American Physical Society, Research Corporation’s Cottrell Scholar, winner of the Margaret Oakley Dayhoff Award from the Biophysical Society, and winner of the National Science Foundation INSPIRE Award. Ross has also served as chair of the physics department at Syracuse University since 2020.
Jason Wiles (AAAS Section Affiliation: Education)
Wiles’ citation reads: “For distinguished contributions to science education, particularly for research on and advocacy for evolution education and innovative leadership in recruiting and retaining underrepresented populations in science.”
An internationally recognized researcher, Wiles has been involved in various projects to help recruit and retain underrepresented students in STEM fields through his work with programs and grants including an NSF-funded ERRUPT grant, SUSTAIN and CHANcE. In the classroom, Wiles teaches core introductory courses for students in the life sciences, and upper-division courses exploring evolution and the intersections of biology and other areas such as politics, religion and education.
While primarily appointed in the biology department, Wiles also holds courtesy appointments in the Department of Science Teaching and the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences. In recognition of his teaching, advocacy and research, he has been honored by the Technology Alliance of Central New York, the Linnean Society of London, the Society for the Study of Evolution and the National Center for Science Education.
Associate Dean Alan Middleton notes that having two professors from the College recognized as Fellows of the AAAS in one year is a testament to the exceptional caliber of faculty in A&S.
“Through their dedication to teaching, research and increasing diversity in STEM, Jennifer and Jason’s work is making a difference in our campus classrooms and labs today, and is also creating a path forward for future scientists,” says Middleton. “They are both extremely deserving of this prestigious scientific honor.”
Read more about the 2022 cohort of AAAS Fellows.