To give all of our young people -- especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds -- the chance to succeed in the careers of the future -- we must do even more. Mentoring can be that extra edge -- that little spark -- that makes all the difference in the life of a young person.
Today, President Clinton hosts a ceremony at the White House honoring the 1998 recipients of the Presidential Award For Excellence In Science, Mathematics, And Engineering Mentoring. This award honors individuals and institutions that have outstanding records in mentoring students in under-represented groups toward significant achievement in science, math, and engineering. The President will also direct his National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) to develop recommendations in 180 days on how to bolster mentoring in science and technology fields and to work with the private sector and academia to strengthen mentoring in higher education.
Recognizing Those Who Mentor Others. In 1994, the President released a science policy blueprint -- "Science In The National Interest", which stated goals to produce the best-trained scientists and engineers for the 21st Century and to enhance the scientific and technological literacy of all Americans. In 1996, the President created The Presidential Award For Excellence In Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring as an outgrowth of the science policy report. The award encourages more scientists, engineers, and mathematicians to become mentors and encourages more minorities, women, and people with disabilities to seek careers in science. At today's ceremony, the President will recognize 10 individuals and 8 institutions who have demonstrated a commitment and outstanding record in mentoring under-served groups toward significant achievement in science, math, and engineering.
A Presidential Directive To Harness Our Vast Scientific Resources. The federal government supports the work of tens of thousands of scientists and engineers at national laboratiories and universities nationwide. Today, the President will issue a directive to the National Science and Technology Council to report back to him in six months with recommendations as to how we can best use this enormous resource to achieve greater diversity throughout the scientific and technological workforce. The NSTC will detail ways for the federal government to bolster mentoring in science and technology fields and to work with the private sector and academia to strengthen mentoring in higher education.
Providing Children With The Support They Need. As we enter the 21st Century, a strong background in the sciences will become even more important; however, only a small percentage -- roughly one-eighth -- of high school graduates have the mathematics and science preparation that would permit advanced study in a technical field; for minority students, the number is only half as much. In order to better prepare our children for higher education, the President's High Hopes Initiative will provide mentors for thousands of disadvantaged middle and high school students and assist them in their studies, be role models, and encourage them to go to college. The partnerships will help ensure that children have access to the rigorous core courses that prepare them for college and let parents know how they can help their children prepare for college.