Developmental psychologist Janet Werker named member of National Academy of Science



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Janet F. Werker

Dr. Janet F. Werker, a professor in the department of psychology at UBC, has been elected to the US National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in recognition of her distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.

According to the NAS, its new members include 26 women—the highest number admitted in a year. Dr. Werker is the first member in UBC’s faculty of arts.

Membership is a widely accepted mark of excellence in science and is considered one of the highest honours that a scientist can receive.

“I’m thrilled to have been elected as a member. It’s an affirmation that my field appreciates and values the contributions my lab and I have made.”
Canada Research Chair in Developmental Psychology

“I’m thrilled to have been elected as a member,” says Dr. Werker, who is a Killam University Professor and Canada Research Chair in Developmental Psychology. “It’s an affirmation that my field appreciates and values the contributions my lab and I have made.”

Dr. Werker explores the foundations of language learning, including multi-language acquisition in infancy. Her ground-breaking discoveries showing how babies are ready to learn language at birth—and how very early in life language learning begins—have had influence around the world.

She is one of the founders and co-directors of the UBC Language Sciences Initiative. This initiative catalyzes language-related research and integrates it with undergraduate teaching and graduate training.

Dr. Werker was a Senior Fellow at CIFAR for 15 years and serves as Advisory Committee Chair of their Azrieli Brain, Mind and Consciousness program. Among other distinctions, Dr. Werker was appointed Officer of the Order of Canada (2017), received the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Gold Medal (2015), and was elected as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences (2014) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2006).

A complete list of new NAS members and the announcement can be found on the NAS website.

The US National Academy of Sciences recognizes achievement in science by election to membership, and—with the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Medicine—provides science, engineering, and health policy advice to the federal government and other organizations.