The BEAM award was established in 1997 as part of the celebration of 150 years of teaching engineering at Brown. It is awarded to Brown Engineering graduates, recognizing exceptional records of accomplishment in their engineering careers. A committee, made up of faculty members and previously chosen medalists, selects the new medalist each year. Grant and Pruitt are the first winners since 2019, joining a prestigious list of BEAM awardees, including recent recipients Kathleen Eisenhardt ’69 (2019), National Academy of Engineering (NAE) member Lallit Anand Sc.M.’72, Ph.D.’75 (2018), Ka Yee C. Lee ’86 (2018) and incoming Dean of the School of Engineering Tejal A. Desai ’94 (2015).
Grant is a Fellow, Life Member, and the 2022 President of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), a global organization of 60,000+ members in 110 countries. A professor of Chemical and Biomolecular engineering at North Carolina State University for over 32 years, she’s conducted research in surface and interfacial science; advising postdocs and students ranging from the high school to the graduate student level. She received an Sc.B. in Chemical Engineering from Brown University. She also has M.S. and Ph.D. degrees, both in Chemical Engineering, from the Georgia Institute of Technology, and has been a Visiting Professor at Duke, Caltech and the University of Minnesota.
For decades, Grant has been recognized for broadening the participation, promotion, and retention of underrepresented minorities and women in STEM. Her recognition includes the following: AAAS Mentor Award; NSF Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Math and Engineering Mentoring; William W. Grimes Award for Excellence in Chemical Engineering; Dr. Joseph N. Cannon Award for Excellence in Chemical Engineering from the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers; Women in Engineering Pro-Active Network Bevlee A. Watford Inclusive Excellence Award; American Chemical Society Stan Israel Award for Diversity: SERMACS; Sigma Xi Scientific Research Society; and the Council for Chemical Research National Diversity Award. She is also a Life Member of the Society of Women Engineers, National Society of Black Engineerings and several other organizations.
An international speaker, Grant conducts career coaching and professional development workshops across the U.S., in Ghana and Australia. Her consulting company (stemresilience.com) designs custom, targeted STEM programming for groups and individuals in corporate and academic environments. She is co-editor of the book, Success Strategies from Women in STEM: A Portable Mentor by Elsevier/Academic Press and has contributed chapters to Growing Diverse STEM Communities: Methodologies, Impact and Evidence (2019) and the ACS Book Overcoming Barriers for Women of Color in STEM Fields (2020).
Pruitt received her Ph.D. from Brown University and joined the faculty of Mechanical Engineering at UC Berkeley in 1993. She has authored more than 300 publications in her research field of failure analysis, biomaterials, and medical devices. The recipient of numerous awards and honors, her research has been recognized with a Congressional citation; a National Science Foundation CAREER award; an Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award; and she was elected to the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering. Professor Pruitt has also been honored for her commitment to excellence in mentoring, teaching, and outreach. She has received the American Association of Advancement of Sciences Mentoring Award; the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring; the UC Berkeley Distinguished Teaching Award as well as the A. Richard Newton Educator Award.
Pruitt has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in Behavior of Engineering Materials, Failure Analysis, Polymer Engineering, Medical Device Design, Personal Leadership and Equine-guided leadership. She has authored three books, including Mechanics of Biomaterials: Fundamentals for Implant Design (textbook, Cambridge University Press, 2011); Horse of Fire: The Story of an Extraordinary and Knowing Horse as told by JJ Luck (novel, Authorhouse, 2008; Amazon, 2019); as well as Savanna and the Magic Boots (children’s book, Authorhouse, 2011). She is currently working on her memoir, entitled Soul of a Professor: A memoir of an un-engineered life (Merry Dissonance Press, 2022).