The Graduate Women in Science organization Sigma Delta Epsilon has awarded its highest honor, national honorary membership, to UC Santa Cruz plant scientist Jean Langenheim in recognition of her outstanding achievements in scientific research.

Sigma Delta Epsilon/Graduate Women in Science works to advance the participation and recognition of women in science and to foster research through grants, awards, and fellowships. Established in 1921, it is an interdisciplinary society of scientists who encourage and support women to enter and achieve success in science.

Langenheim, a professor emeritus of ecology and evolutionary biology, is an eminent plant ecologist and leading authority on plant resins. She broke new ground for women in science, having begun her career at a time when professional opportunities for women were limited. "I am delighted to be honored by Sigma Delta Epsilon," she said. "Support for women in science continues to be an important issue."

At UC Santa Cruz, Langenheim was the campus's first female faculty member in the natural sciences and the first woman to be promoted to full professor. She later became the first woman to serve as president of the Association for Tropical Biology and the International Society of Chemical Ecology, as well as the second woman president of the Ecological Society of America and the Society of Economic Botany. Langenheim currently chairs a committee of past presidents of the Ecological Society of America (ESA) in preparation for the ESA's Centennial Celebration in 2015.