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Association for Faculty Women Margaret Black

Margaret Black

 The 2013 Samuel H. Smith Leadership Award was presented to Margaret E. Black, Associate Professor in the School of Molecular Biosciences.


Margaret Black receives Samuel H. Smith Award
Left: Margaret E. Black, winner of the 2013-14 Smith Leadership Award; Right: President Emeritus Sam Smith.

Dr. Margaret E. Black is the 2013 winner of the AFW Samuel H. Smith Leadership Award.  She is nationally recognized for her scientific research in Molecular Biology, and her service to the community at large.  Margaret has served as AFW President and been on numerous AFW committees, including the Graduate Scholarship Awards.

Margaret Black is a first class researcher and scholar, with numerous grants and publications.  She is primarily interested in the structure to function relationship of enzymes that catalyze the formation of precursors for DNA and RNA and, most notably, also convert nucleoside analogs or prodrugs to cytotoxic compounds. Her goal is to one day eradicate cancer.

Margaret is the director of the NIH Protein Biotechnology Graduate Training Program at WSU.  This training program has faculty scientists from seven academic units in six colleges of the University. These include Chemical Engineering, Chemistry, Molecular Biosciences, Molecular Plant Sciences, Pharmaceutical Sciences, and Veterinary Microbiology and Pathology. Her affiliation with other Ph.D. programs has been noted to emphasize the interdisciplinary network that is a hallmark of the organization of biological science departments at WSU.

She is genuinely interested in students, very patient with them, and lets them know that she cares. An example is a quote from one of her PhD students.  He said “First and foremost, I must thank my P.I. Dr. Margaret E. Black. She has been nothing but a blessing in my life during my graduate career and her support and guidance through these years has been second to none.”  Margaret makes room in her lab for undergraduates as well as mentoring her graduate students.

She has served on WSU committees, including the Provost’s Search Committee, and indication of the respect that she holds within the university community.

She has used her passion for dog sledding on behalf of others, completing the Norman Vaughan ’25 Serum Run in Alaska three times (an 800 mile trek by dog team across the Alaskan bush used to provide educational medical information to villagers in remote locations) as well as the Mush for the Cure, where she raised thousands of dollars for breast cancer research.
The Samuel H. Smith Leadership Award was established in 2000 to show AFW’s appreciation to President Smith for his leadership in advancing the role of women at WSU. The criteria for the award are as follows: “The recipient of the Award shall be an AFW member whose leadership has advanced the role of women in the Washington State University system and/or who has demonstrated leadership in higher education, the community, or her profession at the local, state, regional, national or international level.”  The Smith Leadership award will be acknowledged during WSU Academic Showcase in Spring 2015.