Rachael Warecki
Portrait of John McCormack in the Moore Lab of Zoology

Professor of Biology John McCormack, director and curator of Occidental College’s Moore Lab of Zoology, has been selected as a 2023 American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Fellow, a distinguished lifetime honor within the scientific community.

He is the 11th Occidental faculty member to receive this honor since 1911 and the first Occidental faculty member to be selected since 1980.

“It’s an honor to be recognized by my peers,” says McCormack. “I was especially happy to see the acknowledgment of my work mentoring undergraduate research. It doesn't always get the attention it deserves, but undergrad research is absolutely foundational for advancing science and the science workforce. And with the right support and resources, it can be every bit as important and impactful as science happening at later career stages.”

McCormack was appointed to Occidental’s faculty in 2011. He received his BS from the University of Arizona and his PhD from the University of California, Los Angeles. He has served as first author for papers in major scientific publications, including Science, Nature, Systematic Biology, and Genome Research, and he has received grants from the National Science Foundation to support a number of research projects, including two projects focused on launching or integrating undergraduate research and citizen science into the study of North American bird populations.

Most recently, McCormack’s work with the Moore Lab’s Free Flying Los Angeles Parrot Project (FLAPP) has received local, national and international attention in the Los Angeles Times, LAist, National Geographic, and elsewhere.

AAAS is one of the world’s largest general scientific societies and publisher of the Science family of journals. Since 1874, AAAS has recognized fellows for their efforts on behalf of the advancement of science or its applications; previous inductees have included inventor Thomas Edison, sociologist and civil rights activist W.E.B. DuBois, astronaut Ellen Ochoa, and former US Secretary of Energy and Nobel Laureate Steven Chu. Its 2023 class is comprised of 502 scientists, engineers, and innovators.

The new fellows will be celebrated at a forum on September 21, 2024, alongside a commemoration of the program’s 150th anniversary at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. Historic Occidental College AAAS Fellows include Calvin Esterly (1911); James Knight, Hazel Field and Raymond Selle (1933); Harry Kirkpatrick (1936); James Sinclair (1941); Gerard Mulders (1946); James Anderson (1951); Patrick Wells (1958); and Martin Morton (1980).