White House Recognizes Exemplary STEM Mentors

Posted on July 1, 2015
Woman looking at awardee biographical posters

Fourteen individuals and one organization named to receive the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM) came to Washington for a Recognition Ceremony and related events this past June. The itinerary culminated in a White House Oval Office meeting with the President. The group, representing 2012 and 2013 awardees, received a presidential citation and $10,000 for their work in expanding STEM talent. Details of the event are posted on the Recognition Ceremony page at PAESMEM.net.

As part of the ceremony, several PAESMEM recipients shared their perspectives on STEM mentoring. Here’s what they had to say:

Lorraine Fleming, Ph.D. | Interim Dean, College of Engineering, Architecture and Computer Sciences, Howard University; Founder, Howard University Science, Engineering and Mathematics (HUSEM) Center for Education and Research,  Global Education, Awareness and Research Undergraduate Program (GEAR-UP) and Saturday STEM Academy

What’s it going to take to get more women and African-Americans into STEM careers?

“Most students know what a doctor does; most students know what a lawyer does. But very few can tell you what an engineer does. So, having the opportunity to see someone who is actually doing engineering and to understand what they’re doing and the path they traveled to get to that point, will, I hope, encourage them to want to pursue those careers.”

Luis Colón, Ph.D. | A. Conger Goodyear Professor of Chemistry and Associate Dean of the Graduate School, University at Buffalo, SUNY; Co-Founder of the Institute for Strategic Enhancement of Educational Diversity (iSEED)

How do opportunities to do research help students become successful in STEM?

Research helps inspire students and shows them what they can do. That only happens when students put things together and try to do something. Through lab and other research, students see that they can accomplish great, great things.”

John Matsui, Ph.D. | Associate Dean, Department of Integrative Biology, University of California, Berkeley; Co-Founder and Director, Biology Scholars Program

Why should we be concerned about having first-generation and low-income students getting into STEM?

“The phrase, ‘professional is personal’ really captures why there should be a diversity of STEM professionals—not just in terms of gender or ethnicity—but also around income and college-going. Individuals and their personal experience are translated into what they do as professionals and the perspectives they bring. I think it’s important to have first-generation, low-income persons represented in our STEM workforce. They bring a perspective that enriches and contributes to the innovation, vitality and quality of the science that we do." 

Ceremony Recognizes Exemplary STEM Mentors

Fourteen individuals and one organization named to receive the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM) came to Washington for a Recognition Ceremony and related events this past June. The itinerary culminated in a White House Oval Office meeting with the President. The group, representing 2012 and 2013 awardees, received a citation and $10,000 for their work in expanding the nation’s human resources in the field of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). Details of the event are posted on the Recognition Ceremony page at PAESMEM.net.

As part of the ceremony, several PAESMEM recipients shared their perspectives on STEM mentoring. Here’s what they had to say:

Lorraine Fleming, Ph.D. | Interim Dean, College of Engineering, Architecture and Computer Sciences, Howard University; Founder, Howard University Science, Engineering and Mathematics (HUSEM) Center for Education and Research,  Global Education, Awareness and Research Undergraduate Program (GEAR-UP) and Saturday STEM Academy

What’s it going to take to get more women and African-Americans into STEM careers?

“Most students know what a doctor does; most students know what a lawyer does. But very few can tell you what an engineer does. So, having the opportunity to see someone who is actually doing engineering and to understand what they’re doing and the path they traveled to get to that point, will, I hope, encourage them to want to pursue those careers.”

Luis Colón, Ph.D. | A. Conger Goodyear Professor of Chemistry and Associate Dean of the Graduate School, University at Buffalo, SUNY; Co-Founder of the Institute for Strategic Enhancement of Educational Diversity (iSEED)

How do opportunities to do research help students become successful in STEM?

Research helps inspire students and shows them what they can do. That only happens when students put things together and try to do something. Through lab and other research, students see that they can accomplish great, great things.”

John Matsui, Ph.D. | Associate Dean, Department of Integrative Biology, University of California, Berkeley; Co-Founder and Director, Biology Scholars Program

Why should we be concerned about having first-generation and low-income students getting into STEM?

“The phrase, ‘professional is personal’ really captures why there should be a diversity of STEM professionals—not just in terms of gender or ethnicity—but also around income and college-going. Individuals and their personal experience are translated into what they do as professionals and the perspectives they bring. I think it’s important to have first-generation, low-income persons represented in our STEM workforce. They bring a perspective that enriches and contributes to the innovation, vitality and quality of the science that we do." 

 

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