Beilock Elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

News subtitle

The president was recognized for her contributions to social and behavioral science.

President Sian Leah Beilock
Sian Leah Beilock, a cognitive scientist, discusses performance under stress and math anxiety during her lecture at the Karen E. Wetterhahn Science Symposium last May, shortly before taking office as Dartmouth’s president. (Photo by Katie Lenhart)

The American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the oldest scholarly honor society in the United States, has elected President Sian Leah Beilock as a member.

President Beilock, a renowned cognitive scientist and one of the leading experts on the brain and body factors that influence learning and performance, was elected for her contributions to the social and behavioral sciences. 

She is one of 250 scholars and practitioners in academia, the arts, industry, policy, research, and science named this year to the society, which was established in 1780 by John Adams, John Hancock, and other founders of the Republic. 

“I am deeply honored to be elected a member of the academy,” Beilock says. “I am grateful for the support I received throughout my academic career from mentors, colleagues, graduate students, postdocs, and undergraduates, as well as from the institutions where I have worked. Such incredible support has allowed me to thrive as a researcher and a teacher.”

Beilock, who began her tenure at Dartmouth in June 2023 and is also a professor of psychological and brain sciences, is the author of two celebrated books—How the Body Knows Its Mind: The Surprising Power of the Physical Environment to Influence How You Think and Feel and Choke: What the Secrets of the Brain Reveal About Getting It Right When You Have To—and more than 120 peer-reviewed papers. 

She is a member of the National Academy of Kinesiology and the Council on Foreign Relations and a fellow of the American Psychological Association and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and has received a CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation and the National Academy of Sciences’ Troland Research Award. 

As president, Beilock has made it a priority to foster innovation and research that has an impact in the world and is a founder and leader of the EDGE Consortium, a coalition of women-led universities and engineering schools seeking to bring more women and underrepresented minorities into the semiconductor industry. 

Before Dartmouth, Beilock served as president of Barnard College at Columbia University and as executive vice provost and the Stella M. Rowley Professor of Psychology at the University of Chicago. 

She earned her bachelor of science in cognitive science from the University of California, San Diego, and doctoral degrees in psychology and kinesiology from Michigan State University.

More than 35 Dartmouth faculty have been previously elected to the academy, including, recently, Associate Dean for the Social Sciences and John Wentworth Professor in the Social Sciences John Carey, Roth Family Distinguished Professor of Finance Kenneth French, President Emeritus Philip J. Hanlon ’77, Professor of Biological Sciences Mark McPeek, James O. Freedman Presidential Professor and Professor of Government Brendan Nyhan, Tuck School of Business Dean Matthew Slaughter, and Professor of Economics Heidi Williams. Trustee Shonda Rhimes ’91 was elected to the society in 2023. 

Among the members of the academy’s new class: University of Southern California President Carol Folt, a professor emeritus of biological sciences who served as interim Dartmouth president in 2012-13 and was provost, dean of the faculty, and graduate studies dean during her 30-year career at Dartmouth; Howard University President Ben Vinson III ’92; Purdue University President Mung Chiang, who will receive an honorary degree from Dartmouth at Commencement; M. Lee Pelton, president and CEO of The Boston Foundation and dean of students at Dartmouth from 1991-98; Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jhumpa Lahiri; Apple CEO Tim Cook; and actor George Clooney. 

“We invite these exceptional individuals to join in the Academy’s work to address serious challenges and advance the common good,” Academy President David Oxtoby said in the announcement of this year’s new fellows. 

The new members will be inducted at a September ceremony in Cambridge, Mass.

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