Alumnae Achievement Awards 2020


Alumnae Achievement awards 2020 banner

Wellesley’s highest accolade is given annually to graduates of distinction, who through their achievements, have brought honor to themselves and the College.


President Paula A. Johnson and the 2020 Alumnae Achievement Award Recipients:

A Virtual Conversation

2020 Recipients
Nonprofit Leader & Children’s Advocate

Joan Wallace-Benjamin





Planetary Geologist & Educator
M. Darby Dyar




Journalist & Author
Kimberly Dozier





JOAN WALLACE-BENJAMIN ’75 is a prominent advocate for children, families, and underserved communities. She dedicated her 37-year professional career to nonprofit leadership and public service. Until her retirement in 2018, Wallace-Benjamin served for 15 years as President and Chief Executive Officer of The Home for Little Wanderers. The Home is the nation’s oldest child and family service provider. Wallace-Benjamin’s contributions to innovative programming resulted in access to critical services, and her work to institute measurements of non-profit leadership has had a far-reaching impact.

Previously, Wallace-Benjamin was President and Chief Executive Officer of The Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts. She has also served as a consultant with Whitehead Mann, a global executive recruiting firm; Director of Operations for Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston; Deputy Director of ABCD Head Start; and a Research Analyst for ABT Associates. In 2007, she served as Chief of Staff on Massachusetts’ Governor Deval Patrick's transition team and during his first months of office before returning to The Home until her retirement.

Wallace-Benjamin is the recipient of numerous awards, and she holds eight honorary doctoral degrees. Wallace-Benjamin has served as a Trustee of Wellesley College, on the Board of Directors of Bridgewater State University and City Fresh Foods, Inc., and as a member of Brandeis University’s Board of Overseers for The Heller School for Social Policy and Management. She currently serves as the Chairperson of the Wellesley Centers for Women (WCW) Advisory Board at Wellesley College. 

Wallace-Benjamin holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Wellesley College and a Ph.D. in Social Policy and Management from the Heller School at Brandeis University. 

M. DARBY DYAR ’80, the Kennedy-Schelkunoff Professor of Astronomy and Chair of Astronomy at Mount Holyoke College, is a planetary geologist. The primary goal of Dyar's research is to understand how hydrogen and oxygen are distributed throughout our solar system, particularly in terrestrial bodies such as the Earth, the Moon, Mars, and the parent bodies of meteorites. She studies rocks from diverse localities on Earth from the deep oceans to Antarctica, as well as lunar rocks and meteorite samples.

Dyar's work has been published in numerous scientific journals and she has been awarded diverse grants from NASA and NSF. These include support for her participation on the Mars Science Laboratory science team. She also serves on three of the eight NASA Solar System Exploration Virtual Institutes. She is pioneering the development of novel machine learning techniques for interpretation of spectroscopic data.

Dyar received the G.K. Gilbert Award from the Planetary Geology Division of the Geological Society of America for outstanding contributions to the solution of fundamental problems in planetary geology, the Hawley Medal from the Mineralogical Society of Canada, and the Eugene Shoemaker Distinguished Scientist Medal from NASA’s Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute for significant contributions to the field of lunar science. She is a Fellow of the Mineralogical Society of America, the Geological Society of America, and the Geochemical Society.

Dyar supports undergraduate researchers in her Mineral Spectroscopy Laboratory each year. She considers the students she inspires through her teaching and mentorship a more important legacy than her hundreds of scientific publications. 

Dyar holds a Bachelor of Arts in geology and art history from Wellesley College and a Ph.D. in Geochemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

KIMBERLY DOZIER ’87 is a print and broadcast journalist and author who has more than 30 years of experience covering news in Washington, D.C., and around the world. She reports for TIME magazine, and also contributes to CNN as a Global Affairs Analyst. Dozier has covered the Iraq and Afghan wars, conflict and peacemaking from the Middle East to Northern Ireland, and the foreign and national security policies of Presidents George Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump.

During her 17-year career at CBS News, Dozier and her CBS News team were hit by a car bomb in Baghdad, Iraq, that took the lives of her team and the Army captain they were filming. She spent months in the hospital healing and learning to walk again, and later turned the experience into a memoir to help guide others through traumatic injury and recovery. She has spoken to hundreds of military and civilian audiences about returning to work post-traumatic-stress free.

Dozier is a recipient of the Peabody Award, the Sigma Delta Chi award, several Edward R. Murrow Awards, and was the first woman journalist recognized by the National Medal of Honor Society for her coverage of Iraq. She speaks on issues ranging from U.S. foreign and national security policy to understanding the U.S. and international media’s role in national security, to her own story of survival.

Born in Hawaii, Dozier holds a Bachelor of Arts in political anthropology and Spanish from Wellesley College and a Masters of Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia.