Public Release: 

Miami chemist and educator receives award for fostering diversity

American Chemical Society

Chemist Zaida C. Morales-Martinez, of Florida International University (FIU), will be honored Nov. 15 by the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society, for a life-long teaching career devoted to helping underrepresented and disadvantaged students in science. She will receive the Women Chemists Committee Regional Award for Contributions to Diversity at the ACS Southeast regional meeting in Charleston, S.C.

For nearly half a century, Morales-Martinez has continually encouraged, developed and participated in programs designed to help her students succeed. As Project SEED coordinator, Morales-Martinez has directed a National Science Foundation-American Chemical Society grant that has offered high school students the opportunity to work in a research laboratory in the summer.

Project SEED is designed to encourage economically disadvantaged high school students to pursue career opportunities in the chemical sciences.

As part of the Project SEED program, Morales-Martinez takes students on visits to places where chemists work and to scientific meetings where chemists present their findings. It is a testament to its popularity that one of her Project SEED students graduated with a B.S. in chemistry from FIU and then his three brothers and one sister also enrolled in the program.

Throughout her career Morales-Martinez has been deeply involved with mentoring. Because of her concern for the advancement of minorities and financially disadvantaged students in science, she was appointed to the original ACS Task Force on Minorities in Chemical Sciences. In addition, she was named to the Society's Committee on Minority Affairs. Since 1998 she has been the Mentoring Consultant for the ACS Scholars Program.

While at FIU, Morales-Martinez has received numerous awards, including Excellence in Teaching, Outstanding Service, Excellence in Advising, and the President's Affirmative Action Award. At the December FIU commencement ceremonies she will receive the University Distinguished Service Medallion. Additionally, she has been included in "Who's Who Among American Teachers" and has received the Civic Service Award from the Florida local section of the ACS. This award was given in recognition for her participation, advising and mentoring in several programs that involve science students in public schools.

Morales-Martinez received her B.S. in chemistry from the University of Puerto Rico- Rio Piedras Campus and her M.S. in analytical chemistry from the Pennsylvania State University.

The Regional Award for Contributions to Diversity, given to commemorate the ACS Women Chemists Committee's 75th anniversary celebration, recognizes people who have stimulated or fostered diversity in the chemical workplace.

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