Dedication ceremony held for The Shirley M. Malcom Building

April, 2022

Dr. Shirley Malcom (PhD Sci 1974) is a noted scientist and leading advocate for representation in the sciences for women and girls of color. Over the course of her illustrious and influential career, Malcom has opened doors into the sciences for women and girls, particularly women and girls of color. Her life’s work represents an unfaltering and demonstrated commitment to equity and inclusion in the sciences.

Malcom earned her doctoral degree in ecology from Penn State in 1974. In 1976, she co-published the landmark report The Double Bind: The Price of Being a Minority Woman in Science, bringing attention to the challenges of intersectionality, specifically the challenges of being a Black woman in the sciences.

Malcom has served in leadership positions for the National Science Foundation’s science education directorate and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). She was appointed to the National Science Board by President Bill Clinton in 1993 and served as a member of the President’s Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology from 1994 to 2001.

Malcom’s decades of work have been recognized by several notable science organizations and associations. She has been awarded the Public Welfare Medal, the greatest honor given by the National Academy of Sciences in celebration of leaders who use science for the public good. She received a Distinguished Alumni Award from Penn State and also served on the Penn State Graduate School Diversity Review Team. Malcom has also served as the commencement speaker for the Penn State Eberly College of Science and as a featured speaker for the Penn State Forum, which exclusively highlights experts with demonstrated, multifaceted impact.

Malcom’s work and impact is profiled on PBS’s The History Makers: The Nation’s Largest African American Video Oral Library. (Source: