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Two OU Researchers Receive Fellowship from Esteemed Science Association


Two OU Researchers Named Fellows of Esteemed Science Association

April 18, 2024

NORMAN, OKLA. – Two researchers from the University of Oklahoma have been named Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Bonnie Pitblado, Ph.D., and Jeffrey Kelly, Ph.D., are part of the 2023 class of fellows to the world’s largest scientific society.

“Dr. Pitblado and Dr. Kelly’s induction as Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science underscores their remarkable contributions to their fields,” said OU Vice President for Research and Partnerships Tomás Díaz de la Rubia. “Their commitment to cross-disciplinary collaboration epitomizes the University’s dedication to pioneering research. We take great pride in their accomplishments and the reach of their endeavors.”

Pitblado is the Robert E. and Virginia Bell Endowed Professor in Anthropological Archaeology in the Department of Anthropology. She is also the director of the Oklahoma Public Archaeology Network, called OKPAN. Her research sits at the confluence of science and humanism.

Despite a long-held belief by archaeologists that early people avoided living in and using mountainous regions, Pitblado has done extensive research into early people’s presence in the mountains, particularly the peopling of the New World and the Rocky Mountains, with her fieldwork focused on the Gunnison Basin of Colorado.

A dedication to sharing archaeology with the public led Pitblado to found OKPAN, an organization that seeks to improve the relationships among Oklahoma’s diverse communities through various programs and initiatives, including Oklahoma Archaeology Month and the Rainbow Community Heritage Project. A tenet of Pitblado’s work is thinking of the impact of her research on contemporary people.

Pitblado earned her Bachelor of Arts in sociology and anthropology from Carleton College, and her master’s and doctoral degrees in Anthropology from the University of Arizona. Prior to coming to OU, she worked first at Western State College and then at Utah State University, where she served as the director of the anthropology program and Museum of Anthropology.

Kelly is a George Lynn Cross research professor in the School of Biological Sciences as well as the school’s interim director. He is the Corix Endowed Chair in Environmental Sustainability.

His research areas include aeroecology—the ecology of life in the air—ornithology and the ecological effects of artificial lights at night. Kelly works on interdisciplinary research and graduate education that intersects with many fields, including meteorology, public policy and environmental sustainability. His research has touched on topics such as the effects of light pollution on animal migration, technological advances in tracking animal migration and climate impacts on flight behaviors of birds, bats and insects.  

Bonnie Pitblado, Ph.D..
Jeffrey Kelly, Ph.D..

Kelly’s education and career have spanned the country. Kelly earned his Bachelor of Science in Wildlife Biology from the University of Maine, and his master’s and doctoral degrees in Biology from Oklahoma State University and Colorado State University, respectively. He has worked at, among other locations, the Rocky Mountain Research Station in New Mexico and with the US Fish and Wildlife Service on the Big Island of Hawai’i. He’s been at OU since 2002.

AAAS members must be nominated by the steering group of their section, by three other Fellows or by the association’s chief executive office to be considered for the rank of Fellow. Nominations are then reviewed by the steering groups, and the final list of all nominations are sent on to the AAA Council. Being named an AAAS Fellow is a lifetime honor. The tradition began in 1874.

About the University of Oklahoma

Founded in 1890, the University of Oklahoma is a public research university located in Norman, Oklahoma. As the state’s flagship university, OU serves the educational, cultural, economic and health care needs of the state, region and nation. OU was named the state’s highest-ranking university in U.S. News & World Report’s most recent Best Colleges list. For more information about the university, visit

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