Nov. 24, 2020

Washington, D.C. — Richard Kopec, professor of Computer Science and Chemistry at St. Edward’s University, has been named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Election as a AAAS Fellow is an honor bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers.

This year, 489 members have been awarded this honor by AAAS because of their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications. 

This year’s AAAS Fellows will be formally announced in the AAAS News & Notes section of the journal Science on 27 Nov. 2020. virtual Fellows Forum — an induction ceremony for the new Fellows — will be held on Feb.13, 2021.

As part of the AAAS Education section, Richard Kopec was elected as an AAAS Fellow for distinguished contributions to transforming institutional STEM curricula and for leadership in the STEM institutional change community.

Kopec has received three grants from the National Science Foundation since 2010, which so far have collectively resulted in nine publications. Through these grants, Kopec has designed and implemented several projects intended to recruit and retain STEM majors, particularly students from underrepresented groups.

Kopec holds a PhD in Physical Chemistry/Chemical Physics (minor in Physics) and a master’s degree in Computer Science. He has served as a member of the faculty in the School of Natural Sciences for 35 years, serving as dean and associate dean of Natural Sciences, director of Undergraduate Research, chair of Computer Science and Forensic Science, coordinator of general education science, president of the faculty senate, and PI for several National Science Foundation grants over the years from CCLI, GOALI, STEP, S-STEM and IUSE, plus grant awards from other sources. He has participated in numerous professional development workshops and has presented in several venues, including the World Council on Curriculum and Instruction (WCCI), SIGCSE, American Chemical Society, and First Year Engineering Experience (FYEE) conferences. Kopec co-authored a textbook on computer science. He served as a mentor for the PKAL Summer Leadership Institute in 2015 and 2016.  He also served as section secretary for the San Antonio section of the ACS.

The tradition of AAAS Fellows began in 1874. Currently, members can be considered for the rank of Fellow if nominated by the steering groups of the association’s 24 sections, or by any three Fellows who are current AAAS members (so long as two of the three sponsors are not affiliated with the nominee’s institution), or by the AAAS chief executive officer. Fellows must have been continuous members of AAAS for four years by the end of the calendar year in which they are elected. The AAAS Fellow honor comes with an expectation that recipients maintain the highest standards of professional ethics and scientific integrity.

Each steering group reviews the nominations of individuals within its respective section and a final list is forwarded to the AAAS Council, which votes on the aggregate list.

The council is the policymaking body of the association, chaired by the AAAS president, and consisting of the members of the board of directors, the retiring section chairs, delegates from each electorate and each regional division, and two delegates from the National Association of Academies of Science.

AAAS encourages its sections and Council to consider diversity among those nominated and selected as Fellows, in keeping with the association’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.  

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 About St. Edward’s University:

St. Edward’s University is a private, liberal arts university in the Catholic, Holy Cross tradition with approximately 4,000 students. Located in Austin, Texas, it is one of the top universities in Texas and offers more than 50 undergraduate and 10 graduate programs. With a network of partner universities around the world, St. Edward’s delivers a premier, highly personalized education that helps students explore their own transformational pathways to knowledge, experience, understanding and success. St. Edward’s has been recognized for 18 consecutive years as one of “America’s Best Colleges” by U.S. News & World Report and holds the #8 spot among Best Regional Universities in the West in the U.S. News 2020 and 2021 rankings. For more information on St. Edward’s, visit

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The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the journal Science, as well as Science Translational Medicine; Science Signaling; a digital, open-access journal, Science Advances; Science Immunology; and Science Robotics. AAAS was founded in 1848 and includes more than 250 affiliated societies and academies of science, serving 10 million individuals. The nonprofit AAAS is open to all and fulfills its mission to “advance science and serve society” through initiatives in science policy, international programs, science education, public engagement, and more. For additional information about AAAS, see