Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute computer scientist Francine Berman has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences along with luminaries including former First Lady Michele Obama, author Jonathan Franzen, and gender theorist Judith Butler. New elected members for 2019 include more than 200 individuals with compelling achievements in academia, business, government, and public affairs.

“One of the reasons to honor extraordinary achievement is because the pursuit of excellence is so often accompanied by disappointment and self-doubt,” said David W. Oxtoby, the president of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. “We are pleased to recognize the excellence of our new members, celebrate their compelling accomplishments, and invite them to join the Academy and contribute to its work.”

Berman is an international leader in data science whose work has focused on the stewardship, preservation, and cyberinfrastructure of the digital data on which modern research relies. Her current research explores the social, ethical, and environmental impacts of the Internet of Things.

Berman is a founder of the Research Data Alliance, an international community-driven organization created to accelerate research data sharing and data-driven innovation worldwide. She is former director of the San Diego Supercomputer Center, a fellow of the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM), a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). In 2009, Berman was the inaugural recipient of the ACM/IEEE-CS Ken Kennedy Award for “influential leadership in the design, development, and deployment of national-scale cyberinfrastructure.” In 2015, Berman was nominated by President Obama and confirmed by the U.S. Senate to become a member of the National Council on the Humanities.

“We are all enormously proud of Dr. Berman’s election to the AAAS, because it represents a peak of well-deserved recognition for her leadership of the Research Data Alliance, and for her dedication to sustainable digital preservation and public access to critical data,” said Curt M. Breneman, dean of the Rensselaer School of Science. “It is deeply significant that Fran’s contributions are being recognized in this highly visible way, which sets a great example for future leaders in her field.”

The Academy was founded in 1780 by John Adams, James Bowdoin, and others who believed the new republic should honor exceptionally accomplished individuals and engage them in advancing the public good. The Academy’s dual mission remains essentially the same 239 years later with honorees from increasingly diverse fields and with the work now focused on the arts, democracy, education, global affairs, and science.

The entire roster of new members is available at amacad.org/newly-elected-members

The new class will be inducted at a ceremony in October 2019 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and join the Academy members who came before them. Learn more about the American Academy of Arts and Sciences at amacad.org.