Spirit Lecture Logo

The Spirit Lecture and Award, inaugurated by the NIEHS Diversity Council in 2002, recognizes outstanding women in science who have achieved balance in their lives. Successfully navigating today’s workplace involves balancing responsibilities for families, jobs, and the multiple roles in which they participate. In addition, these women mentor and provide outreach to the wider community, all of which compete for their time and talents. In recognition of Women’s History Month, the selected honoree is invited to share her experiences with the NIEHS community at an annual talk and award ceremony. The NIEHS Spirit Lecture became a part of the Diversity Speaker Series in 2018.


2024 NIEHS Spirit Lecture Committee

Katy Hamilton, Chair; Veronica Godfrey, Co-Chair; Mercedes Arana; Treva Bunch; Brad Collins; Diane D’Agostin; Abra Granger; Suzy Osborne; Angela King-Herbert; Alfonso Latoni; Suril Mehta; Ericka Reid; Diane Spencer; Vicki Sutherland

2023 NIEHS Spirit Lecture Committee

NIEHS Spirit Lecture Committee: Top (left to right) Brad Collins, Veronica Godfrey, Katherine Hamilton, Angela King-Herbert. Bottom (left to right) Suril Mehta, Suzy Osborne, Ericka Reid, Melissa Smarr, Diane Spencer, Vicki Sutherland

Spirit Lecture Honorees

  • 2022 Marie Bernard, M.D., Chief Officer for Scientific Workforce Diversity, NIH, "Enhancing Diversity and Excellence in Science"
  • 2021 RADM Denise Hinton, Chief Scientist, Food and Drug Administration, "Women Sustaining the American Spirit"
  • 2020 Frederica Perera, Dr.P.H., Ph.D., Columbia University, “Translational Research to Prevent Environmental Threats to Children: From Chemicals to Climate Change
  • 2019 Germaine Louis, Ph.D., M.S., George Mason University, “A Winding Path to a Rewarding Career in Public Health
  • 2018 Temple Grandin, Ph.D., Colorado State University, “Developing Individuals Who Have Different Kinds of Minds
  • 2017 Jane Fernandez, Ph.D., Guilford College, “Convergence and Balance”
  • 2016 Yvonne Maddox, Ph.D., Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, “Building a Meaningful Career: Insights from Precision Medicine”
  • 2015 Hannah Valantine, M.D., MRCP, “Lessons Learned From My Career Path: Science to Diversity”
  • 2014 Carol Folt, Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, “From Science to Leadership: Women Leaning In”
  • 2013 Lydia Villa-Komaroff, Ph.D., Cytonome/ST, "A Life in Science: From Cloning to Cell Therapies"
  • 2012 Gail R. Martin, D.Sc., University of California, San Francisco, “From Stem Cells to Complex Patterning in Embryo”
  • 2011 Nancy Andrews, M.D., Ph.D., Duke University, “Women Sustaining the American Spirit”
  • 2010 Linda Birnbaum, Ph.D., National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, “You Can Have It All”
  • 2009 Rita R. Colwell, Ph.D., University of Maryland and John Hopkins, “Climate, Oceans, Infectious Disease and Human Health: The Saga of Cholera”
  • 2008 Lisa Alvarez-Cohen, Ph.D., University of California, Berkley, “Application of Omics-Based Tools and Microarrays to Optimize Bioremediation”
  • 2007 Alice S. Huang, Ph.D., California Institute Technology, “Beyond the Numbers: Where are We Going?”
  • 2006 Nora Volkow, M.D., “National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Addiction: The Neurobiology of Free Will Gone Awry”
  • 2005 Shirley Malcom, Ph.D., American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), “Women in Science: Making Choices and Taking Chances”
  • 2003 Rev. Donna M. Claycomb, M.Div, D.Min, Duke University, “For Such a Time as This”


Ericka L. Reid, Ph.D., M.Ed.
Ericka L. Reid, Ph.D., M.Ed.
Director, Office of Science Education & Diversity
Tel 984-287-3789
[email protected]
P.O. Box 12233
Mail Drop B2-06
Durham, NC 27709