John Brooks Slaughter: Courageous Advocate for Diversity in STEM

john-brooks photo For decades, Slaughter has been tireless in his efforts to open doors to underrepresented minorities and women in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields. Despite humble beginnings that did not suggest the direction his life would eventually take, the IEEE Life Fellow has broken barriers and been recognized for his leadership in industry, academia, and government.

Slaughter, probably best remembered as the first African American director of the U.S. National Science Foundation, was awarded the IEEE Founders Medal in 2022 in recognition of his “leadership and administration significantly advancing inclusion and racial diversity in the engineering profession across government, academic, and nonprofit organizations.” His commitment to the cause of equity and inclusion is so strong that he risked his career to advocate for those attempting to follow in his footsteps.