Victor R. McCrary Jr., Ph.D., vice president for research and graduate programs at the University of the District of Columbia and a fellow of the African Scientific Institute, is the new vice-chair of the prestigious National Science Board (NSB). He will serve in this position for the next two years.
McCrary’s NSB appointment is a feather in the cap of the African Scientific Institute (ASI), which counts more than 1,700 Fellows of African Descent in 57 countries in Africa, the Caribbean, Europe, Latin America and the United States. The institute was founded in 1967 both to inspire young people of African descent to pursue careers in science and to serve as a global network of Black scientists, engineers, technologists, health professionals, mathematicians, and others in the STEM fields throughout Africa and the African Diaspora.
“The primary objective of ASI Fellows is to recognize the achievement and excellence of each fellow in his/her field of expertise. This collective of noteworthy individuals are to be found in academia, business and research at institutions and organizations around the world,” explains Lee. O. Cherry, ASI’s co-founder, president and CEO. “ASI Fellows are a part of a think tank, producing new ideas and resources for other fellows and their projects. ASI Fellows honors the accomplishments of spectacular individuals and provides a platform where they can grow and contribute.”
McCrary currently is in his fourth year of service on the NSB, an independent body that oversees the National Science Foundation and advises the president of the United States and Congress on policy matters related to science and engineering and education in science and engineering. Appointed by President Barack Obama, he has served on the board’s External Engagement Committee and chaired the Honorary Awards Subcommittee and the Skilled Technical Workforce Task Force, which led the board’s 2019 report, “The Skilled Technical Workforce: Crafting America’s Science and Engineering Enterprise.”
McCrary holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from The Catholic University of America, a master’s in engineering from the University of Pennsylvania, and a doctorate in chemistry from Howard University. Prior to joining the University of the District of Columbia, he was vice chancellor for research at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and the first vice president for research and economic development at Morgan State University in Baltimore, Md.
His appointment to the NSB in 2016 came during his tenure at Morgan State.
“This appointment greatly increases the visibility for Morgan State University and the value proposition that other minority-serving research institutions across the country bring to the national discussion on science and science policy,” he said at the time.
Born and raised in Baltimore, McCrary started his career in science at AT&T Bell Laboratories as a Member of Technical Staff and then as a program manager and division chief at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. He was the business area executive for science and technology at The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, where he directed internal research and development funding to develop new core competencies and technologies in the areas of national security and space.
A former national president of the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE) and a Fellow of the American Chemical Society, he has authored or co-authored more than 60 technical papers and co-edited two books in his career. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Gold Medal from the Department of Commerce, and the Percy E. Julian Award from NOBCChE.