Public Release: 

President Obama announces exceptional science, mathematics and engineering mentors

Fifteen individuals and organizations recognized

National Science Foundation


IMAGE: The National Science Foundation administers PAESMEM on behalf of the White House. view more

Credit: Teddy Yoshida

Today, President Obama named 14 individuals and one organization as recipients of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM).

PAESMEM recognizes outstanding efforts of mentors in encouraging the next generation of innovators and developing a science and engineering workforce that reflects the diverse talent of America. The mentors will receive their awards at a White House ceremony later this year.

Mentors play a vital role for many science and engineering students and early career scientists, on both a personal and professional level. This is especially true for students from underrepresented groups--including minorities, women and people with disabilities. Without mentors, these students might lack the support and example they need to pursue successful careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

The mentors announced today represent awardees from 2012 and 2013.

They have influenced thousands of students from K-12 to Ph. D. candidates. Mentees have gone on to careers as doctors, engineers, teachers and researchers.

The National Science Foundation administers PAESMEM on behalf of the White House. Since the awards were first made nearly two decades ago, more than 240 individuals and organizations have received the citation. It is America's highest mentoring award.

Colleagues, administrators and students in their home institutions nominate candidates for PAESMEM annually. Candidates can also nominate themselves. Each recipient receives a $10,000 award and is honored at a White House ceremony.

The individuals and organizations receiving the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring are:

Individual awards

Luis Colón, State University of New York- Buffalo. Established program to increase minority students, especially Hispanics, in the chemical sciences field

Anne E. Donnelly, University of Florida. Successfully guided dozens of undergraduate and graduate STEM students, many through creation of a mentoring program so fruitful it spread to other universities

Lorraine Fleming, Howard University. Director of the school's Science, Engineering and Mathematics mentoring program that prepares students academically, socially and professionally for a career in STEM

Shelia M. Humphreys, University of California, Berkeley. Improved recruitment, retention and success of underrepresented groups in Berkeley's Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences

Murty S. Kambhampati, Southern University at New Orleans. Engaged high school and undergraduate students in research, successfully boosting graduation rates

Raymond L. Johnson, University of Maryland. Guided many minority students, at his home institution and across the nation, to complete degrees in mathematics, which has notoriously low retention rates

Gary S. May, Georgia Institute of Technology. Created new mentoring models, including collaborations with other institutions and researchers, which have increased the participation of minorities in science and engineering

Tilak Ratnanather, Johns Hopkins University. Created a system to support deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals in STEM

John Matsui, University of California, Berkeley. Co-founded a renowned undergraduate diversity program in the school's Biology department, a model replicated at schools throughout the U.S.

Beth Olivares, University of Rochester. Mentored hundreds of students through the STEM pipeline and advocated for STEM opportunities for low-income students both regionally and nationally

Elizabeth A. Parry, North Carolina State University. Worked to increase the accessibility of engineering to students--from kindergarten through university--and their parents

Sandra Petersen, University of Massachusetts Amherst. Director of a consortium of research colleges and minority-serving institutions which has tripled enrollments of underrepresented groups in STEM fields

John B. Slaughter, University of Southern California. Developed numerous mentoring programs, at both the national and university level, to boost minority participation in STEM; also served as the first African American director of NSF (1980-82)

Julio Soto, San Jose State University. Mentored hundreds of students, both personally and through nationally funded programs he developed

Organizational award

The GeoFORCE Program, University of Texas at Austin. An outreach program encouraging minority rural and inner-city youth to study geosciences and engineering.

A fact sheet with more details on the PAESMEM program is available on the NSF website.



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