Chelsey Carter, an anthropology doctoral candidate in Arts & Sciences, inducted into the Edward A. Bouchet Graduate Honor Society

Chelsey Carter, an anthropology doctoral candidate in Arts & Sciences, is one of five Washington University in St. Louis students inducted into the Edward A. Bouchet Graduate Honor Society at the annual Bouchet Conference on Diversity in Graduate Education, April 5-6, at Yale University.

The Bouchet Society, named for the first African American to earn a doctorate in the United States, recognizes outstanding scholarly achievement and promotes diversity and excellence in doctoral education and the professoriate.

The society seeks to develop a network of preeminent scholars who exemplify academic and personal excellence, and serve as examples of scholarship, leadership, character, service and advocacy for students who have been traditionally underrepresented in the academy.

Carter's research examines the intersections of race, class, gender, and chronic illness in the United States. Also a candidate for a master’s degree in public health, she spends part of her week working with researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine.

Her research explores how black people with neuromuscular diseases, like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS),  navigate healthcare spaces and experience care at medical institutions in St. Louis, including how anti-black racism stifles health and further promotes health inequities. She presented her ALS research at the 2018 American Ethnological Society (AES) annual conference.

Carter joined the university in 2015 with support from the university’s Spencer T. and Ann W. Olin Fellowship for Women in Graduate Study, a program designed to help women of exceptional promise become leaders in society. She is a recipient of a 2016 National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship, which is supporting her ALS research, including cost of travel to two conferences in Philadelphia and trips to New York and Atlanta to attend large ALS awareness walks.

Another grant from the provost’s office is supporting her graduate research, including a co-authored paper on “The Black Body in White Space” and an examination of St. Louis health disparities in the wake of unrest in Ferguson.  She discussed her research as part of her plenary speech  for a panel of Ferguson at a 2019 AES joint conference.

Additional research support includes a 2017 Divided City Graduate Summer Research Fellowship from Washington University, a 2018 Del Jones Memorial Travel Award from the Society for Applied Anthropology and the 2018 Travel Award from the Society of Medical Anthropology.

She recently received a $19,492 grant from the Wenner Gren Foundation for research that “demonstrates a clear link to anthropological theory and debates, and promises to make a solid contribution to advancing these ideas.” The award will defray research-related travel, housing and logistics expenses for the coming year.

Carter, a St. Louis native, is now considering whether to pursue a tenure track position in anthropology following graduation or perhaps continue her research on ALS and other rare neuromuscular diseases at a non-profit organization or federal agency.


Chelsey Carter, second from right, and other 2019 Washington University colleagues celebrate their induction into the 2019 class of the Bouchet Graduate Honor Society.