Office of Science and Technology Policy
WHITE HOUSE HONORS OUTSTANDING SCIENCE, MATH, AND ENGINEERING MENTORS
The White House will present today the annual Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring. The honorees include ten individuals and five institutions that have been exemplary in their encouragement of minorities, women, and people with disabilities to pursue careers in scientific and technical fields.
The President established this award in 1996 to recognize the work of individuals and organizations that inspire and mentor young people to succeed in the fields of science, math, and engineering.
Maintaining leadership across the frontiers of science and producing the finest scientists and engineers for the twenty-first century are the principal goals of this Administration's science and technology policies. President Clinton has said that while achieving diversity throughout our scientific and technical ranks presents a formidable challenge -- the number of women, minorities, and people with disabilities in science and engineering remains too low -- we need to draw upon our full talent pool to ensure that our science and engineering workforce reflects the changing face of America.
The National Science Foundation administers this annual award which includes a $10,000 grant to continue the recognized activity, and a Presidential commemorative certificate for the individuals and institutions that have demonstrated outstanding and sustained mentoring activities. Institutional awards are given to organizations who have enabled a substantial number of students from groups traditionally underrepresented in science, mathematics and engineering to pursue these important technical career paths.
The awards ceremony will occur today at 5:00 PM in the White House complex in Presidential Hall, followed by a reception in the Indian Treaty Room. Members of the press covering the event should contact the Office of Science and Technology Policy's Richard Kostro (202-456-6108) for clearance into the building.
The 1999 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring awardees are:
Ajay Kumar Bose, Stevens Institute of Technology (NJ) – Bose developed a summer undergraduate research program (now in its 29th year) that has influenced more than 400 students to pursue careers in chemistry and related sciences. His newer pre-college version of the program has recruited many disadvantaged students from inner city schools for summer research experiences.
George Castro, San Jose State University – Castro created an on-the-job training program at IBM Research that assisted many minority students in becoming technicians; he has also created numerous research positions for undergraduates. As president of the Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans, he has helped build it into an organization of national prominence.
Meera Chandrasekhar, University of Missouri, Columbia – Chandrasekhar's after-school physics program, Exploring Physics, for girls in grades 5-7, has become part of the permanent curricula of local schools, involving 300 students per year. Chandrasekhar has developed other hands-on after-school programs for grades 8-11, and the Newton Academy is a 10-day residential science and technology program for female students grades 9-11.
Harold Daniel Deutschman, New Jersey Institute of Technology – Deutschman's summer engineering program for grades 9-10 is now in its 30th year. He has mentored over 2,500 students, primarily from underrepresented minorities around greater Newark; 95 percent of them enrolled in college, and 70 percent of those majored in science, mathematics, or engineering.
Samuel Franklin Hart, Sr., Mercer University, Macon, Georgia – Hart's pivotal influence on hundreds of young minority high schools students in middle Georgia has inspired many to become first-generation college students. Of 103 students he personally mentored, 54 earned Bachelors' degrees in science and engineering, 26 earned Masters' degrees and 25 earned Doctoral or medical degrees.
Ram Sarup Lamba, University of Puerto Rico – Cayey – In what has been called a lifetime calling, Lamba has mentored over 500 high school science teachers, and nine university science professors, while working with students at the pre-college, undergraduate, and graduate levels. He has revitalized an undergraduate chemistry curriculum to promote better learning for students through lab experiences.
Raymond Buckwalter Landis, California State University, Los Angeles – Landis founded the Minority Engineering Program over two decades ago that is still considered a national model for minority-focused engineering initiatives, and developed an extensive cross-cultural communication program between faculty advisors and minority students.
Zafra Margolin Lerman, Columbia College, Chicago – Lerman encouraged many of the city's poorest students to pursue college and degrees in science. Through the Institute for Science Education and Science Communication, Lerman launched an innovative curriculum allowing students to apply their interests, strengths, and cultural heritage into their science coursework. She motivated most of the 16,000 students participating in her programs to consider pursuing a college degree.
Richard Lynn Radtke, University of Hawaii, Manoa – Radtke's far-reaching programs for persons with disabilities has engaged students, parents, and teachers in his laboratory, field expeditions, and public television programs. Radtke, who has multiple sclerosis and is paralyzed from the neck down, serves as a role model, and has inspired blind youngsters to paddle canoes, and deaf students to learn american sign language.
Mary Louise Soffa, University of Pittsburgh – Soffa's highly successful mentoring program for graduate students has resulted in increased pre-doctoral fellowships; more than half of her students who received Masters and Ph.D. degrees were women. As Dean of Graduate Students, she implemented a program to recruit underrepresented students that that doubled their number graduate school.
Science and Mathematics Investigative Learning Experiences (SMILE) – Oregon State University (Eda Davis-Butts accepting) – SMILE has provided innovative hands-on experiences in science and mathematics for Native American, Hispanic Americans and underrepresented students in grades 4 through 12 through field trips, weekly meetings with teachers, and community projects with scientists and engineers. Eighty-five percent of students that participated in SMILE for more that one year graduated from high school. Ninety-eight percent of the SMILE class of 1998 is pursuing a college degree.
Academic Excellence (ACE) Honors Program, University of California, Santa Cruz (Nancy Jeanne Cox-Konopelski accepting) – ACE focuses on retaining underrepresented minority students in entry-level undergraduate science courses through collaborative problem-solving sessions and one-on-one peer mentoring. Students master the appropriate course material, while developing critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Sixty-two-percent of ACE participants graduated; 75 percent earned a degree in science, mathematics, or engineering.
Office of Minority Programs, University of Virginia (Carolyn Vallas accepting) – A residential program corporate internships, and on-campus research opportunities has increased the recruitment, retention, and graduation of underrepresented students pursuing undergraduate and graduate degrees in engineering. Due to initiatives of the Office of Minority Programs at UVA, more than 249 underrepresented minority undergraduate students and 122 graduate students have received degrees from the engineering school during the last ten years.
Douglass Project for Women in Mathematics, Science and Engineering, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey (Joseph J. Seneca accepting) – The Douglass Project, established in 1986, encourages women to study, explore, and pursue careers in mathematics, science, and engineering. Over 900 female high school students have participated in the three-year, hands-on science program for grades 9-11, that includes mentoring, internships, and interactions with role models.
Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP), The University of Michigan (Fawwaz T. Ulaby accepting) – During the past 11 years, UROP has greatly improved minority student retention and academic achievement, and now serves more than 850 freshmen and sophomores each year. Research partnerships between minority students and faculty researchers at an early point in their academic careers has lowered their attrition rates and boosted their grade point averages.
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