||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.