Spence News

Spence Alumna Dr. Nancy Hopkins ’60 Honored with National Academy of Sciences Public Welfare Medal

Molecular biologist and Amgen, Inc. Professor of Biology emerita at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Dr. Nancy Hopkins ’60 has been awarded the esteemed National Academy of Sciences (NAS) Public Welfare Medal for her extensive work advocating for women in science. The award comes two-and-a-half decades after Dr. Hopkins instigated an investigation that grew into the landmark report on the status of women at MIT. In 2014 she concluded her 50-year distinguished career at MIT, where she also made momentous contributions to molecular biology. She continues to work at the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research. 

The Public Welfare Medal, the most prestigious award given by the NAS, is presented annually to honor extraordinary use of science for public good. According to the NAS, Dr. Hopkins was chosen for her “courageous leadership over three decades in illuminating the unequal treatment of women in science, and efforts to create and ensure equal opportunity.” 

In sharing the news of the award, Dr. Hopkins noted: “Honestly I’ve won more awards than I deserve. But this one was a big surprise and special because it shows that achieving equal status for women in science is something that is of special significance to the United States. I really do see this one as a win for women.”

Dr. Hopkins joins a group of individuals who have done extraordinary work to serve the public good through science. Past recipients include Neil deGrasse Tyson, Anthony S. Fauci, Bill and Melinda Gates, Ismail Serageldin, Neal Lane, Norman Borlaug, William T. Golden, Maxine F. Singer, C. Everett Koop, and Carl Sagan. The award was first given in 1914. 

The Spence School looks forward to welcoming back Dr. Hopkins, who will serve as the Commencement Speaker for the Class of 2024.

The full release can be found here
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