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Meet our 2017 NCCWSL Keynote: Melissa Harris-Perry

Get to Know the 2017 NCCWSL Keynote Speakers

Name: Melissa Harris-Perry, Ph.D
Occupation:Political commentator, author, professor
Education: Wake Forest University, Duke University
Website: www.melissaharrisperry.com
Twitter: @MHarrisPerry
Facebook: Melissa Harris-Perry

How many women can say they have hosted a news program on MSNBC, taught at multiple prestigious universities, written two books, and acted as the editor-at-large for ELLE.com? One: Melissa Harris-Perry, Ph.D.

To reach those achievements, Harris-Perry had to start somewhere. In 2001 she received an AAUW American Fellowship, which she credits as “a key part of the story of the success” of her career. The AAUW fellowship gave her the opportunity to finish her award-winning book, Barbershops, Bibles, and BET: Everyday Talk and Black Political Thought, and to complete her doctorate in political science at Duke University.

Since then Harris-Perry has built quite an impressive résumé. She has served as a professor at the University of Chicago, Princeton University, and Tulane University and currently teaches at Wake Forest University, her alma mater. Her critically acclaimed second book, Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America, which explores the self-identities of African American women from the everyday woman to former First Lady Michelle Obama as citizens, was published in 2011. Over the years Harris-Perry continued writing about the intersectionality of race, gender, and politics in her articles for The Nation magazine under the pen name “Sister Citizen.”

Cementing herself as an expert news commentator, she hosted the weekend program Melissa Harris-Perry on MSNBC for four years, where she covered topics such as national politics, feminism, and environmental justice. In 2015 she helped launch the Collaborative to Advance Equity Through Research, a coalition of organizations committed to supporting research relating to the lives of women and girls of color.

To pay it forward to the organization that supported her doctorial education, Harris-Perry included AAUW in the coalition to highlight our fellowships programs, which support women scholars engaged in critical research about women and girls, and our renowned research on women in the workforce, gender bias, and the pay gap. Throughout Harris-Perry’s diverse career her mission has always been to advance equality in society, especially for women.

AAUW honored Harris-Perry as the first-ever AAUW Alumnae Recognition Awardee in 2013. This award recognizes AAUW fellowships and grants recipients who have reached extraordinary heights of achievement in their careers and have used their life work to empower women and girls. Harris-Perry certainly checks all those boxes.

Her deep-rooted connection with AAUW has brought her back full circle, this time as NCCWSL’s keynote speaker. Just as she does in her classroom, she will empower NCCWSL attendees to become the next generation of leaders and inspire them to create a more equitable future.

Meet Melissa Harris-Perry in person on Friday, June 2, at the 2017 National Conference for College Women Student Leaders!


This post was written by Kathryn Arion, AAUW Event Planning & Communications Associate. 

By:    April 17, 2017