Dr. Sarwan Dhir is an associate professor of Biotechnology at Fort Valley State University (FVSU), which is a Historically Black College/University (HBCU) serving a student community that is 93 percent African American. Since 2001, Dhir has hosted an NSF funded Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) in Biotechnology for ten students per year. Mentoring elements have emphasized support of independent research, self-confidence and teamwork skills, communication of research (oral and written) and career guidance.
The Dhir-supported (minority) students from the U.S. mainland and Puerto Rico participate in the Center for Biotechnology for the summer. Dhir also mentors high-school students, who subsequently have won a total of 198 awards, 190 students have made presentations, 238 students have participated in conferences, and 15 students have published papers as a senior author or co-author. Two high school students were finalists in the Siemens Westinghouse competition.