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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Jyotsna Vaid receives 2020 Eminent Scholar Award

Texas+A%26amp%3BM+Liberal+Arts+professor+Jyotsna+Vaid+has+been+recognized+for+her+accomplishments+and+work+as+a+women+faculty+member+by+receiving+the+Eminent+Scholar+Award.
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Texas A&M Liberal Arts professor Jyotsna Vaid has been recognized for her accomplishments and work as a women faculty member by receiving the Eminent Scholar Award.

The 2020 Eminent Scholar Award recipient is professor of cognitive neuroscience and diversity science Jyotsna Vaid, Ph.D.
Since 2009, the Aggie Women’s Network has selected one distinguished and influential female professor each year to receive the Eminent Scholar Award. Rebecca White, Ph.D., an Aggie Women’s Network board member and Eminent Scholar Committee chair, said this award recognizes outstanding research, scholarship, mentoring and service by women faculty members at Texas A&M University.
White said Vaid is a pioneer in her field through her work and research in the neuropsychology of bilingualism and in addressing barriers to professional advancement of women in academia.
“It is an honor, especially since I know I’m in very good company,” Vaid said. “It was a good feeling to be recognized in this way.”
Vaid is widely published and a well-cited author. She is a recipient of several awards and honors and is an elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Association of Psychological Science and the American Psychological Association.
Associate dean of faculty Heather Wilkinson, Ph.D., is responsible for building the selection committee for the Eminent Scholar Award. Wilkinson said the best people to determine a recipient for this award are those who are eminent themselves.
“Eminence can vary what it means across different disciplines,” Wilkinson said. “We have many people that we’re considering, and we look at them to ensure that they have won significant prizes in their discipline and are well-cited within their discipline.”
To be considered for this award, White said women faculty must be tenured full professors, be a faculty member at A&M for at least two years and be recognized nationally and internationally in their field. Additionally, she said the candidates must demonstrate a clear record of excellence in teaching, mentoring and service to women students.
The award itself consists of recognition on campus and at the Aggie Women Network Awards Luncheon that will be combined with next year’s due to COVID-19. The recipient also receives a $4,000 gift for research, provided by the Aggie Women Network and the President’s Office.
“There is a distinction between being a role model and truly working to advance the needs of women Aggies on campus, and that’s really a distinguishing feature of Dr. Vaid,” Wilkinson said. “Her work to actually mentor women Aggies was what put her over the top.”
White said Vaid’s qualification for the award was increased by her emphasis on the importance of creating a difference in the generations of current women Aggies.
“[Vaid] has been active in the Office for Diversity and she has done a lot to encourage women faculty and particularly women of color faculty,” White said. “Then her research on representation in academia has very far reaching effects, so she has this multilayered impact on women students that is just incredible.”
As a longstanding advocate for greater representation of women and diverse women faculty in senior levels of academia, Vaid said she appreciates the award’s focus on women faculty.
“I like the fact that this is perhaps the only award at the university that singles out women faculty’s contributions, and it was created by alumni who are women,” Vaid said.
White said the Aggie Women Network combines the accomplishment, experience and expertise of graduated Aggies with mentorship and training programs for current women students at A&M with this award. The Network is always looking to get current students involved to help them succeed while in college.
“We have women in our organization who were some of the first Aggie women to graduate from Texas A&M University and who are real pioneers,” White said. “You get that all the way to the new alumni who graduated there recently and you get to see those fresh perspectives and a range of people all over the world, and it’s really lovely.”

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