Shirley M. Malcom
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Photo of Shirley Malcolm
Shirley Malcom speaking at NASA, 2012
Born Shirley Mahaley
September 6, 1946
University of California Los Angeles
Pennsylvania State University
University of North Carolina
American Association for the Advancement of Science
Shirley M. Malcom currently serves as the Head of Education and Human Resources Programs at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).
4 Further reading
Malcom was born Shirley Mahaley on September 6, 1946 in Birmingham, Alabama to Ben and Lillie Mahaley. Malcom completed high school at the age of 16 and left home to earn a B.S. with distinction in zoology at the University of Washington. She continued her education at the University of California at Los Angeles, receiving a M.S. in zoology in 1967. Afterwards, she taught high school students for a few years and later enrolled in the ecology program at Pennsylvania State University to earn a Ph.D. in 1974. Malcom returned to teaching for a year at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and then moved to Washington, D.C., to work as a research associate at AAAS. Today, Dr. Malcom holds 16 honorary degrees. On May 26, 2000 Dr. Malcom received an honorary doctorate from the Faculty of Social Sciences at Uppsala University, Sweden 
Malcom was amazed at the lack of the minorities and women in her classes and faculty members while in college. Because of this experience, she decided to take action by becoming the program manager for the Minority Institutions Science Improvement Program (MISIP) at the National Science Foundation in 1977. The program provided federal funding to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) for improved equipment and facilities as well as higher salaries for the faculty. In 1979, Malcom returned to AAAS as the head of the Office of Opportunities in Science.
Dr. Malcom has received a variety of honors and awards, most notable was her election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the receipt of the 2003 Public Welfare Medal, the highest award presented by the National Academy of Sciences.
While working as a research associate at AAAS, where she surveyed science education programs designed for minority students, a conference was held which Malcom helped to organize. The result of this conference was a landmark report, co-authored by Malcom, entitled The Double Bind: The Price of Being a Minority Woman in Science (1976).
In 2003, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the importance of diverse learning environments, but dismissed formulaic and points-based approaches to undergraduate admissions to achieve this diversity. In response in 2004, AAAS issued a report titled Standing Our Ground: A Guidebook for STEM Educators in the Post-Michigan Era, written by Shirley Malcom, which clarifies legally plausible options for preserving diversity in engineering and science programs.more » « less