The Wade Fellows Programs was established in 1976 in honor of Harold Wade, Jr. ’68. While a student, Harold Wade, Jr. worked to strengthen the black community at Amherst, including organizing the Afro American Society and initiating recruitment materials aimed at attracting black high school students to Amherst. His book, Black Men of Amherst, was published posthumously by the College and is an important work that documents the achievements of many black Amherst graduates.

The Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion has formed an advisory group to reinvigorate the Wade Fellowship, a decades-long platform at the College for recognizing black alumni achievement and connecting black alumni with students for career mentorship and discussions on campus. Wade Fellows provide a meaningful and important voice in ongoing diversity and inclusion work, the career development needs of Amherst students, and in strengthening the alumni network connection between black alumni and students.

2019-21 Wade Fellow: Nadia Biassou '88


Renowned diagnostic neuroradiologist Nadia Biassou is currently a Senior Research Physician in the Radiology and Imaging Sciences Department at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Clinical Center in Bethesda, Md. In addition to her NIH responsibilities, Biassou has taught and mentored numerous physicians-in-training from George Washington University Hospital, where she serves as Clinical Professor of Radiology, and Georgetown University Hospital, where she is a member of the core faculty in the division of neuroradiology. She also lectures around the world.

In addition to her work as a physician, Biassou is a trained linguist and obtained her master’s and doctorate in linguistics from the University of Pennsylvania. She specialized in the relationship between brain and language and studied under the tutelage of renowned neuroscientists Professors Jean-Luc Nespoulous of the University of Toulouse (France); Loraine Obler of the Boston University School of Medicine; and Murray Grossman and Mark Liberman of the University of Pennsylvania. Biassou went on to study medicine at the University of Chicago-Pritzker School of Medicine, graduating with distinction in internal medicine and neurology. She is one of less than a handful of cognitive neuroscientists worldwide to have achieved training in both medicine and linguistics. She is the only African American female in the nation with combined formalized training in medicine, biomedical imaging and linguistics and cognitive science. Biassou collaborates in numerous cutting-edge interdisciplinary research with other federal agencies, universities and industries.  She was appointed as a Senior Fellow to the Linguistics Data Consortium at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania in 2018.

The appointment will bring Biassou to campus during the academic year with the goal of sharing her extensive experiences with students to help them learn how identity informs career exploration and to collaborate on programming that teaches them skills for navigating a complex professional world before and after graduation. “Amherst afforded me such a rare and extraordinary opportunity to explore a topic on the neuroscience of language that became my lifelong work and passion. I hope to help more students focus on finding their own voice as the basis for defining their life’s work and careers.”