Dean Amanda Bryant-Friedrich named Notable Leader in Higher Education by Crain’s Detroit

Amanda Bryant-Friedrich, Ph.D., dean of the Wayne State University Graduate School and professor in the Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, was selected for inclusion in Crain’s 2023 Notable Leaders in Higher Education. The honor recognizes academics at Michigan institutions who are diversifying their schools, raising funds and improving equity for learners of all ages. 

Nominated by her peers, Bryant-Friedrich was elected for her oversight of the Success for Underrepresented Students in Graduate Education (SURGE) program that pairs underrepresented undergraduates with mentors who help prepare them for graduate school. She also hosts a summer research program that brings students from historically black colleges to WSU where they meet students and conduct research to get a feel for graduate school life in Detroit. Under her leadership, WSU doubled participation in its annual Graduate Research Symposium and increased attendance at professional development events by 300%. 

“She has developed a culture of inclusive excellence, ensuring that graduate students from all backgrounds succeed,” said Ed Cackett, chair of the Physics and Astronomy Department at Wayne State University. 

That vision extends well beyond Michigan. Bryant-Friedrich came to WSU from the University of Toledo in late 2020 but continues to serve on the board of Imagination Station in Toledo, bringing together STEM professionals to host hands-on STEM experiences for elementary and middle school girls to realize their full academic potential. 

She was named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in 2020. This fellowship recognized her for not only her work as a chemist but for her contributions to the entire United States science community in training the next generation of brightest minds. A mission that she continues to foster at WSU. 

“I am honored to be recognized by Crain’s for the work we’re doing at Wayne State University to make graduate education accessible to all who want it,” Bryant-Friedrich said. “Wayne State sits in the heart of Midtown, but many marginalized people across Southeast Michigan don’t even consider graduate school an option. Others who are in graduate school are often unprepared for what comes next. I aim to change that. Big things are happening in Detroit, and I’m excited to be a part of it.” 

Read the Notable Leaders announcement on Crain’s Detroit Business

You can meet Dean Amanda Bryant-Friedrich at the Meet the Dean event, happening at Tony V’s Tavern on Aug. 29, for conversation, free food and soft drinks. Then attend the first professional development event of fall 2023: Affirmative Action and Its Impact on Graduate Admissions, happening virtually on Sept. 12, where the dean will share her perspective on the U.S. Supreme Court’s monumental ruling, and how it could change the admissions process for prospective graduate students. 

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