Carlotta M. Arthur

Carlotta M. Arthur

Executive Director, Division of Behavioral and Social Science and
Education, The National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine
BS MetE 1985

For her demonstrated commitment to leadership and increasing the representation of women and people of color in Engineering and Science via her efforts in helping private and public organizations to support students, faculty, and institutions that broaden the base of leaders in innovation and technology.

Referencing Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken,” Carlotta Arthur says the famous poem truly describes her professional philosophy: “When the choice is between a known, safe, alternative and the opportunity to blaze a new trail, I almost invariably choose to trail blaze.” One of the earliest examples of this ideology was in 1985 at Purdue, where she was the first Black woman to graduate with a degree in metallurgical engineering. After working in the automotive and aerospace industries for nearly 10 years, she decided to pursue a service-oriented path. She earned advanced degrees in psychology and completed postdoctoral fellowships in public health and psychology, creating a skillset that combined engineering and behavioral/social sciences and set her up to become a visionary leader and advocate for women and people of color in STEM professions, and in equity and inclusion.

Currently employed by the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) as executive director of the Division of Behavioral and Social Science and Education (DBASSE), Arthur addresses issues of critical 21st century importance. Since assuming the role in 2022, her team has successfully developed and spearheaded studies, workshops, roundtables, committees and expert networks in a wide range of areas, including: anti-racism, diversity, equity, and inclusion in STEM organizations; climate risk; mental health crisis among youth; intergenerational poverty; and the aging workforce.

Within the Henry Luce Foundation (HLF), she served as director of the Clare Boothe Luce Program for Women in STEM. There, she led the nation’s most significant source of private funding for women’s STEM in higher education, managed a $7M+ annual grant budget, developed high-impact STEM ethics programming, communications, and publications to bring attention to critical issues, and launched women’s leadership as a strategic direction for HLF grants. In 2018, she led the effort to fund and disseminate the National Academy of Sciences’ ground-breaking Sexual Harassment Study.

During her time at the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program, Arthur planned and executed the merger and reorganization of two programs into the foundation-wide Diversity Initiatives Program and managed a portfolio of about 120 grants to Historically Black Colleges and Universities and the Appalachian College Association.

Arthur served as an affiliate faculty member in the Center for Gender Equity in Science Technology at Arizona State University. She serves as an advisory board member with the Lemelson Center for Invention and Innovation at the Smithsonian Institution and is a member of the research advisory committee for the Society of Women Engineers. In 2020, she was honored as an Outstanding Materials Engineer by Purdue and received STEMConnector’s Million Women Mentors Trailblazer Award.

In a world where many women suffer from “imposter syndrome,” she remains grateful to Purdue for instilling in her a sense of self-assurance.

“Purdue taught me that I am indeed as deserving of success as my peers. I stood shoulder-to-shoulder with some of the top engineering students in the nation, was taught by some of the most eminent professors in the world, interned and co-oped at leading private sector corporations, and successfully completed my degree. I took that confidence with me to every role I have held since.”

Career Highlights

2022-present Executive Director, Division of Behavioral and Social Science and
Education, The National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine
2021-2022 Affiliate Faculty, Arizona State University
2014-2016 Adjunct Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Geisel School of Medicine, Dartmouth College 
2012-present Director, Clare Boothe Luce Program for Women in STEM, The Henry
Luce Foundation
2009-2011 Director, Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program; Program Officer, Diversity Initiatives, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
2007-2009 Program Officer, Historically Black Colleges and Universities Program (HBCU) and Appalachian Colleges Program, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
2008-2022 Founder and Principal, Diverse Psychology Solutions


1985 BS Metallurgical Engineering, Purdue University
1998 MS Psychology, Stony Brook University
2001 PhD Clinical Psychology, Stony Brook University