​CVIP PhD Affiliate Sha-Lai L. Williams was inducted into the Edward A. Bouchet Graduate Honor Society at the annual Bouchet Conference on Diversity in Graduate Education April 19-20 at Yale University. 

The Bouchet Society, named for the first African American to earn a doctorate in the United States, recognizes outstanding scholarly achievement and promotes diversity and excellence in doctoral education and the professoriate.
The society seeks to develop a network of preeminent scholars who exemplify academic and personal excellence, and serve as examples of scholarship, leadership, character, service and advocacy for students who have been traditionally underrepresented in the academy.
Rafia Zafar, PhD, associate dean for diversity and inclusiveness in the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, coordinates the WUSTL chapter of the Bouchet Society.
“Washington University’s graduate students are known to be among the best in America; our Bouchet honorees take their place among the ranks of the highest achieving doctoral candidates in the nation,” Zafar said.
Williams earned a bachelor’s of social work in 1995 from North Carolina State University and a master’s of social work in 1996 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
She was a licensed clinical social worker for more than 10 years and a supervisor to provisionally licensed clinical social workers in North Carolina for three years.
Her dissertation, “Mental Health Service Utilization Rates Among African-American Emerging Adults,” draws on her research in cultural competence among social work and helping professionals and racial/ethnic disparities in access to and use of quality mental health services.
A Chancellor’s Graduate Fellow, Williams also has received a pre-doctoral fellowship from the National Institute of Mental Health under the auspices of its training grant program.
She has co-authored articles in Perspectives on Social Work, Health Promotion Practice and Patient Education and Counseling.
Williams, an ordained evangelist, has volunteered as a youth and young adult counselor with the New Destiny Apostolic Church in Maplewood, Mo., since 2009.
She will join the School of Social Work at the University of Missouri-St Louis as a tenure-track assistant professor in the fall.
About the Bouchet Society
Yale and Howard universities established the Bouchet Society in 2005 to recognize the life and academic contributions of Edward Alexander Bouchet, the first African American to earn a doctorate from an American university.
Bouchet was the sixth person in the Western Hemisphere to be awarded the PhD in physics, which he earned from Yale in 1876. He also earned an undergraduate degree from Yale in 1874 and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.
WUSTL was invited to become a Bouchet chapter member in 2007, joining Georgetown and Cornell universities and the universities of Michigan and Washington, among other peer institutions.
A WUSTL committee selected the university’s latest class of Bouchet Fellows. Members of the committee are: Zafar; Adrienne D. Davis, JD, vice provost and the William M. Van Cleve Professor of Law; and Elaine P. Berland, PhD, associate dean of the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences and director of the Liberman Graduate Center.