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THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of Science and Technology Policy
For Immediate Release Contact: 202/456-6108
December 6, 1999
WHITE HOUSE HONORS OUTSTANDING SCIENCE, MATH, AND ENGINEERING MENTORS
The White House will
present today the annual Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science,
Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring. The honorees include
ten individuals and five institutions that have been exemplary in their
encouragement of minorities, women, and people with disabilities to pursue
careers in scientific and technical fields.
The President established this award in 1996
to recognize the work of individuals and organizations that inspire and
mentor young people to succeed in the fields of science, math, and engineering.
Maintaining leadership across the frontiers
of science and producing the finest scientists and engineers for the twenty-first
century are the principal goals of this Administration's science and technology
policies. President Clinton has said that while achieving diversity
throughout our scientific and technical ranks presents a formidable challenge
-- the number of women, minorities, and people with disabilities in science
and engineering remains too low -- we need to draw upon our full talent
pool to ensure that our science and engineering workforce reflects the
changing face of America.
The National Science Foundation administers
this annual award which includes a $10,000 grant to continue the recognized
activity, and a Presidential commemorative certificate for the individuals
and institutions that have demonstrated outstanding and sustained mentoring
activities. Institutional awards are given to organizations who have
enabled a substantial number of students from groups traditionally underrepresented
in science, mathematics and engineering to pursue these important technical
The awards ceremony will occur today at 5:00
PM in the White House complex in Presidential Hall, followed by a reception
in the Indian Treaty Room. Members of the press covering the event
should contact the Office of Science and Technology Policy's Richard Kostro
(202-456-6108) for clearance into the building.
The 1999 Presidential Awards for Excellence
in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring awardees are:
Ajay Kumar Bose, Stevens Institute
of Technology (NJ) - Bose developed a summer undergraduate research
program (now in its 29th year) that has influenced more than 400 students
to pursue careers in chemistry and related sciences. His newer pre-college
version of the program has recruited many disadvantaged students from inner
city schools for summer research experiences.
George Castro, San Jose State University
- Castro created an on-the-job training program at IBM Research that assisted
many minority students in becoming technicians; he has also created numerous
research positions for undergraduates. As president of the Society
for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans, he has helped build it
into an organization of national prominence.
Meera Chandrasekhar, University of
Missouri, Columbia - Chandrasekhar's after-school physics program, Exploring
Physics, for girls in grades 5-7, has become part of the permanent curricula
of local schools, involving 300 students per year. Chandrasekhar
has developed other hands-on after-school programs for grades 8-11, and
the Newton Academy is a 10-day residential science and technology program
for female students grades 9-11.
Harold Daniel Deutschman, New Jersey
Institute of Technology - Deutschman's summer engineering program for grades
9-10 is now in its 30th year. He has mentored over 2,500 students,
primarily from underrepresented minorities around greater Newark; 95 percent
of them enrolled in college, and 70 percent of those majored in science,
mathematics, or engineering.
Samuel Franklin Hart, Sr., Mercer
University, Macon, Georgia - Hart's pivotal influence on hundreds of young
minority high schools students in middle Georgia has inspired many to become
first-generation college students. Of 103 students he personally
mentored, 54 earned Bachelors' degrees in science and engineering, 26 earned
Masters' degrees and 25 earned Doctoral or medical degrees.
Ram Sarup Lamba, University of Puerto
Rico - Cayey - In what has been called a lifetime calling, Lamba has mentored
over 500 high school science teachers, and nine university science professors,
while working with students at the pre-college, undergraduate, and graduate
levels. He has revitalized an undergraduate chemistry curriculum
to promote better learning for students through lab experiences.
Raymond Buckwalter Landis, California
State University, Los Angeles - Landis founded the Minority Engineering
Program over two decades ago that is still considered a national model
for minority-focused engineering initiatives, and developed an extensive
cross-cultural communication program between faculty advisors and minority
Zafra Margolin Lerman, Columbia College,
Chicago - Lerman encouraged many of the city's poorest students to pursue
college and degrees in science. Through the Institute for Science Education
and Science Communication, Lerman launched an innovative curriculum allowing
students to apply their interests, strengths, and cultural heritage into
their science coursework. She motivated most of the 16,000 students
participating in her programs to consider pursuing a college degree.
Richard Lynn Radtke, University of
Hawaii, Manoa - Radtke's far-reaching programs for persons with disabilities
has engaged students, parents, and teachers in his laboratory, field expeditions,
and public television programs. Radtke, who has multiple sclerosis
and is paralyzed from the neck down, serves as a role model, and has inspired
blind youngsters to paddle canoes, and deaf students to learn american
Mary Louise Soffa, University of Pittsburgh
- Soffa's highly successful mentoring program for graduate students has
resulted in increased pre-doctoral fellowships; more than half of her students
who received Masters and Ph.D. degrees were women. As Dean of Graduate
Students, she implemented a program to recruit underrepresented students
that that doubled their number graduate school.
Science and Mathematics Investigative Learning
Experiences (SMILE) - Oregon State University (Eda Davis-Butts accepting)
- SMILE has provided innovative hands-on experiences in science and mathematics
for Native American, Hispanic Americans and underrepresented students in
grades 4 through 12 through field trips, weekly meetings with teachers,
and community projects with scientists and engineers. Eighty-five
percent of students that participated in SMILE for more that one year graduated
from high school. Ninety-eight percent of the SMILE class of 1998 is pursuing
a college degree.
Academic Excellence (ACE) Honors Program,
University of California, Santa Cruz (Nancy Jeanne Cox-Konopelski
accepting) - ACE focuses on retaining underrepresented minority students
in entry-level undergraduate science courses through collaborative problem-solving
sessions and one-on-one peer mentoring. Students master the appropriate
course material, while developing critical thinking and problem-solving
skills. Sixty-two-percent of ACE participants graduated; 75 percent earned
a degree in science, mathematics, or engineering.
Office of Minority Programs, University of Virginia
(Carolyn Vallas accepting) - A residential program corporate internships,
and on-campus research opportunities has increased the recruitment, retention,
and graduation of underrepresented students pursuing undergraduate and
graduate degrees in engineering. Due to initiatives of the Office of Minority
Programs at UVA, more than 249 underrepresented minority undergraduate
students and 122 graduate students have received degrees from the engineering
school during the last ten years.
Douglass Project for Women in Mathematics,
Science and Engineering, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey (Joseph
J. Seneca accepting) - The Douglass Project, established in 1986,
encourages women to study, explore, and pursue careers in mathematics,
science, and engineering. Over 900 female high school students have participated
in the three-year, hands-on science program for grades 9-11, that includes
mentoring, internships, and interactions with role models.
Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program
(UROP), The University of Michigan (Fawwaz T. Ulaby accepting) - During
the past 11 years, UROP has greatly improved minority student retention
and academic achievement, and now serves more than 850 freshmen and sophomores
each year. Research partnerships between minority students and faculty
researchers at an early point in their academic careers has lowered their
attrition rates and boosted their grade point averages.
Office of Science
and Technology Policy 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, N.W
Washington, DC 20502