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Feb. 17, 2020

MSU’s Beronda Montgomery recognized as one of the 100 most inspiring black scientists in America

Beronda Montgomery, MSU Foundation Professor, was listed as one of the 100 inspiring black scientists in America by CrossTalk, the official blog of Cell Press, a leading publisher of cutting-edge biomedical and physical science research and reviews.

“It is an honor to be listed among other highly accomplished, established and emerging scientists who I admire and celebrate,” said Montgomery.

Montgomery has also been a College of Natural Science faculty member since 2004 who holds joint appointments in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics.

“Based on my engagement with students, both undergraduate and graduate, and early-career professionals in venues such as annual conferences, professional development workshops, campus visits and online, representation matters greatly,” Montgomery said. 

The inaugural list was established to help solidify the legacy of 100 accomplished scientists from African, Afro-Caribbean, Afro-Latinx and African American backgrounds in the fields of life sciences, chemistry, engineering and physics. 

CrossTalk contributor Antentor O. Hinton Jr., postdoctoral fellow at the University of Iowa, and two of his colleagues recognized a pressing need to increase the visibility of black scientists and took action to highlight 75 established investigators, including Montgomery, and 25 rising stars. 

The scientists were chosen based on their position, teaching and mentorship history and roles as advocates for Diversity in STEM.

Hinton hopes that illuminating these scientists through social media will underscore the necessity for diversity in the academy and encourage the next generation of young, black scientists.

“We are hoping to spread the word around the science community about how to teach, train and mentor minority scientists by showing them they are not the only ones in science that look like them,” Hinton said. “This type of list is something that is rarely captured or recognized.”

Montgomery, who is also a member of the MSU-DOE Plant Research Laboratory, was chosen for her outstanding research, commitment to creating literature about diversity and inclusion and her dedication to mentoring and developing scientists of diverse backgrounds. 

“Individuals with shared demographics or backgrounds have shared poignantly how meaningful it is to engage and see individuals who are further along a career trajectory on highly visible platforms,” Montgomery said. “In this sense, the curators of this list are providing a highly visible platform for representation and potentially recognition.”

Montgomery’s exemplary career has been highlighted with several honors. 

She was chosen for a National Science Foundation CAREER Award and was named a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology for seminal contributions to understanding physiological and morphogenic adaptation of photosynthetic microbes to light. 

For these and other outstanding contributions to the university, Montgomery became an MSU Foundation Professor in 2016.

CrossTalk plans to publish another list in 2021. For a full listing of this year’s 100 inspiring black scientists, please visit

By: Val Osowski