Beth Olivares

University of Rochester | Rochester, NY | 2013

Beth Olivares Portrait Photo

The official biography below was current at the time of the award. Awardees may choose to provide their latest biographical information on their profile page.

Since 1994, Dr. Beth Olivares has developed three campus-wide mentoring programs at the University of Rochester—dedicating a major portion of her professional activities to the mentoring of undergraduate and graduate students. The results are impressive: Olivares has personally mentored over 500 students. Of those, 216 have gone on to graduate study in the sciences, engineering, mathematics, or technology fields, and 122 have pursued other disciplines. Her mentees have earned 36 PH.D.s, 29 M.D.s, and 97 M.S. degrees, with many students remaining in the pipeline. Her principal programs, and accomplishments, include:

Ronald E. McNair Post-baccalaureate Achievement Program: Funded by the U.S. Department of Education, McNair has provided research experiences and graduate school preparation for low-income, first-generation, and underrepresented minority college students since 1992. Olivares has mentored approximately 400 McNair students. To date, 366 McNair Scholars have earned their bachelor’s degrees, and fully 70 percent of alumni have earned at least one graduate degree (58 percent of those degrees are in STEM fields).

David T. Kearns Science and Engineering Scholars: First started in 2002, the Kearns program supports minority and low-income students intending to pursue study in STEM. It provides scholarships, study groups, summer courses, research experiences, internships and more to approximately 80 students per year. To date, Dr. Olivares has mentored 100+ Kearns Scholars. Of those who have earned their bachelor’s degrees, 49 percent have gone on to graduate study in STEM. She has garnered over $6 million in federal and corporate support for the Kearns Center.

Xerox Engineering Fellows: Created in 2009 with a generous gift from the Xerox Foundation, this summer research program for engineering students duplicates the McNair program, without income or ethnicity eligibility criteria. A total of 55 students have participated; 13 percent are minority students and 31 percent are female. Ninety percent of the class of 2010 enrolled in graduate programs in engineering, and 77 percent of the class of 2011 have enrolled in graduate study.

As a pre-major advisor, Dr. Olivares has counseled hundreds of incoming minority and female undergraduates at the University of Rochester. Through the Kearns program, she has developed The Merchants of Hope--a pre­ college outreach activity for low-income high school students in the Rochester area.

Her mentees have won Fulbright Scholarships, National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships, Goldwater, Gilman, and NASA Graduate Fellowships, and many other prestigious awards. They are doctors, lawyers, surgeons, professors, researchers (in industry, higher education, and federal and state governments), dentists, veterinarians, and members of the US military.

Dr. Olivares serves on numerous boards and committees, including the Minority Graduate Education Committee of the Educational Testing Service, and the Council for Opportunity in Education.