Visiting professor Ellen Messer is named a 2009 AAAS Fellow

December 17, 2009

Anthropologist Ellen Messer has been awarded the distinction of Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Election as a Fellow is an honor bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers. Professor Messer is a visiting professor at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University.

This year 531 members have been awarded this honor by AAAS because of their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications. New Fellows will be presented with an official certificate and a gold and blue (representing science and engineering, respectively) rosette pin on Saturday, 20 February from 8 to 10 a.m. at the AAAS Fellows Forum during the 2010 AAAS Annual Meeting in San Diego.

This year’s AAAS Fellows will be announced in the AAAS News & Notes section of the journal Science on 18 December 2009.

As part of the anthropology section, Professor Messer was elected as an AAAS Fellow for distinguished contributions to the field of anthropology analyzing the relations of human rights to policies concerning poverty and hunger, and food aid and security.

“I’m terrifically pleased to receive this honor, which recognizes my life-long efforts to connect research to action,” said Messer. “As a scholar-activist, I always hope that my research on the evolution of food systems and human-rights sensibilities will help improve communications among scholars, policy makers, and field practitioners.”

Messer is conducting research and teaching this year within the Sustainable International Development (SID) program at the Heller School. She was a core faculty member and director at the Alan Shawn Feinstein World Hunger Program at Brown University, where interdisciplinary teams sought to break the links between hunger and conflict.

Her current research continues to explore the “right to food” especially in the U.S. She also teaches rights-based development courses and directs field-based practicum placements in the SID program. She has participated in multiple task forces and committees of the American Anthropological Association, addressing world food crisis and human rights concerns.

The tradition of AAAS Fellows began in 1874. Currently, members can be considered for the rank of Fellow if nominated by the steering groups of the Association’s 24 sections, or by any three Fellows who are current AAAS members (so long as two of the three sponsors are not affiliated with the nominee's institution), or by the AAAS chief executive officer.

Each steering group then reviews the nominations of individuals within its respective section and a final list is forwarded to the AAAS Council, which votes on the aggregate list.

The council is the policymaking body of the Association, chaired by the AAAS president, and consisting of the members of the board of directors, the retiring section chairs, delegates from each electorate and each regional division, and two delegates from the National Association of Academies of Science.

Media Contact

The Heller School welcomes media inquiries on this and all other news items. Email  Laura Gardner or call 781-736-4204.

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