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Ed Kelly Receives the 2021 MLK Community Service Award

Ed KellyUWSOP Pharmaceutics Associate Professor Ed Kelly has been presented with the 2021 MLK Community Service Award, an annual honor celebrating individuals or groups who exemplify Martin Luther King, Jr.’s principles. A champion of diversity, equity and inclusion in sciences for his entire career, Ed has served as a mentor for entering UW freshman in the GenOM-ALVA program for the past 15 years and frequently hosts diverse students from the Stipends for Training Aspiring Researchers (STAR) summer program.

“Dr. Kelly’s philosophy is that giving back, sharing knowledge, and helping others who may have had fewer advantages and opportunities are an essential part of science, and when done strategically and intentionally, result in more innovation and scientific impact,” said UWSOP Pharmaceutics colleague, Dr. Catherine Yeung. “His laboratory has gained a reputation among under-represented minority and first-generation college students at the UW and in the greater community for providing meaningful and rigorous experiences; everyone is consistently challenged to be their best – personally and scientifically.”

Dr. Nina Isoherranen, Professor and Milo Gibaldi Chair for the Department of Pharmaceutics, praised Ed’s devotion to the department’s focus on service and community.

“In all the aspects of service and commitment to making sure the community benefits from the discoveries made in science and has access to education, I could not think of a faculty member more deserving of the MLK Community Service Award than Ed,” she said.

In addition to being respected as a top-tier educator and researcher, Ed is also revered as a mentor to many students past and present. Here are some of his mentees, in their own words:


Ed is more than a teacher – he is a teacher, mentor and friend. He is devoted and enthusiastic about helping anyone who wants to become a scientist.Jenna Voellinger, former graduate mentee


Ed is a pillar to the UW School of Pharmacy community, instilling strong scientific rigor among his peers and students, while promoting diversity and inclusion within the community. He has a unique ability to see an individual’s true potential in order to foster their development.Elijah J. Weber, PhD: Former graduate mentee & student of color


As a scientist of color, working with Ed allows me to expand the boundaries of my aspirations. His support as a mentor enhances the academic journey of every student he mentors.Kendan A. Jones-Isaac, MS: Current graduate mentee & student of color


Lab meetings were an inclusive and comfortable environment where other undergraduates and I felt empowered to freely ask questions and learn. My conversations with him have been, and continue to be, influential in my pursuit towards pharmacy and pharmaceutical research.Phoenix Chen: Former undergraduate mentee & student of color


Dr. Kelly is an inspiration to me as I have never met someone so invested in their work. One day I aspire to be as knowledgeable in something that I am passionate about as he is.Mickey V. Ruiz: Current undergraduate mentee & student of color


Even in the midst of the pandemic, Dr. Kelly was thrilled to have interns in his lab and encouraged me to continue to gain research experience as an undergraduate at the University of Washington. Dr. Kelly has welcomed me to his lab for further experience and I could not be more grateful for the opportunity.Nisha BK: Current undergraduate mentee & student of color