Office of Science and Technology Policy
|For Immediate Release |
|December 6, 1999|
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:
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.
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.
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.
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