Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring


Approximately 20 recipients will receive the award each year: up to 10 individual and 10 institutional awardees. The award to mentors is awarded to individuals who have demonstrated outstanding and sustained mentoring and effective guidance to a significant number of students at the K-12, undergraduate, or graduate education levels. The award to institutions is given to an organization that, through its programming, has enabled a substantial number of students underrepresented in science, mathematics, and engineering to successfully pursue and complete the relevant degree programs.


Science in the National Interest, a national policy on science and technology, articulated several goals as part of the Administration's effort to propel the nation into the 21st century on a strong scientific and technological foundation. Two of the major goals stated in this 1994 document are the production of the finest scientists and engineers for the 21st century, and scientific literacy for all.

To help achieve those goals, the Administration is committed to maximizing the nation's pool of talented, well-educated, and highly trained scientists and engineers. This entails maintaining demonstrated excellence in the production of scientists and engineers by actively increasing the participation of talent that draws fully on all racial/cultural segments of the nation's population.

Rationale for the Mentoring Program:

Recognizing the critical importance played by visible role models and the power of mentors to affect the development of talent among groups traditionally underrepresented in science, mathematics, and engineering, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) through its National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) established the Presidential Awards-- for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring.

The awards are implemented by NSTC's Committee on Education and Training (CET)/Committee on Fundamental Science (CFS) Subcommittee on Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Education. They recognize outstanding mentoring efforts and programs that have enhanced the participation of individuals from underrepresented groups (minorities, women, and persons with disabilities). The awardees will serve as role models and leaders in the national effort to develop more fully the nation's human resources in science, mathematics, and engineering.

Award Administration:

The awards are administered by the National Science Foundation. Both the individual mentor award and the institutional award include a grant in the amount of $10,000 and a Presidential commemorative certificate. The monetary award is to be directed back into the recognized mentoring activity.

1998 Awardees

Individual Recipients

Winser E. Alexander
North Carolina State University

Over the past 20 years, Dr. Winser Alexander has successfully promoted the advancement of African American students, by providing sound advice and mentoring at the graduate and pre-college levels. Dr. Alexander has successfully recruited African American students into graduate engineering, resulting in enrollments of approximately 10 Ph.D. students each year from underrepresented groups over the last several years. The Department of Electrical Engineering at North Carolina State University has had eight African American Ph.D. graduates over the last 10 years; Dr. Alexander has mentored all of them. Dr. Alexander is also involved in tutoring and mentoring African American high school students on a weekly basis.

Sheila E. Browne
Mount Holyoke College

As one of two women (and the only Native American) in her Ph.D. class of 140 at the University of California- Berkeley, Dr. Browne knows first-hand the need for, and importance of, mentoring. Through her efforts with the New England Board of Education, Dr. Browne has provided opportunities for hundreds of high school, community college, and undergraduate students in science. Dr. Browne is currently faculty mentor for the 50 members of the student organization, Sisters in Science. Her performance encouraging women, particularly women of color, from the pre-college to the doctoral level, to prepare and succeed in science is exceptional.

D. Allan Butterfield
University of Kentucky

Dr. Butterfield has built an excellent record producing doctoral and master's students, many of them women. He has managed to continue supporting students at all levels over the years and helped 20 students from Appalachia to pursue successful graduate work. Through his research projects, Dr. Butterfield affords many underrepresented undergraduates and graduate students the opportunity to experience groundbreaking laboratory research. Of Dr. Butterfield's many students, five females earned doctorates and eight earned master's. Four females are currently pursuing doctoral degrees and one is pursuing a master's degree.

Billy Joe Evans
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

For more than 25 years at the University of Michigan, Dr. Evans has secured significant support for undergraduate and graduate programs to enhance minority participation in science. At the pre-college level, Dr. Evans has placed more than 200 inner-city minority high school students in authentic research settings. About 50 of these students are still enrolled in undergraduate programs and at least a dozen have earned Ph.D. or M.D. degrees from several of the nation's leading universities.

Aubrey Gorbman
University of Washington

Dr. Gorbman truly pioneered the concept of "science mentoring of women" by effectively advising a significant number of Ph.D. female students and postdoctoral associates at a time of significant underrepresentation. Dr. Gorbman has been retired for 12 years and yet continues to keep active as an experienced mentor. Over a span of 25 years, he advised 50 postdoctoral associates (including 13 women) and 16 Ph.D.s (including 9 women). Most of these women have made significant contributions to the field of research and are considered to be role models. Dr. Gorbman founded and meticulously edited the Journal of Comparative Endocrinology for 32 years. He included in the editorial board both women and minorities.

Jesse M. Nicholson
Howard University

During his 32-year tenure at Howard University, Dr. Nicholson has served as advisor to 14 doctoral students, 9 master's degree students and countless undergraduates. Under Dr. Nicholson's stewardship, there has been a 100% increase in total enrollment in Howard's chemistry program and in the number of students pursuing doctoral degrees in chemistry. The program annually produces 20-25% of the nation's African American Ph.Ds. in chemistry. Dr. Nicholson also collaborates in a pre-college program that allows high school students to experience hands-on scientific research at Howard.

Su-Seng Pang
Louisiana State University and Southern University

In addition to his research and teaching responsibilities as a Professor at Louisiana State University, and as an Adjunct Professor at Southern University, Dr. Pang advises and supports at least 30 minority undergraduate engineering/science students per year. He is also a leader in the State of Louisiana in supervising engineering/science minority Ph.D. students. Current mentees include three African American doctoral students. Former mentees include four Ph.D. recipients, one of whom recently joined the Southern University faculty. Dr. Pang is a state leader among university faculty members promoting mathematics and science for middle and high school students.

Armando A. Rodriguez
Arizona State University

Soon after his arrival six years ago at Arizona State University, Dr. Rodriguez developed a mentoring program titled MoSART (Modeling, Simulation, Animation, and Real-Time Control) that cuts across the entire spectrum of undergraduate education and reaches into the job market and graduate school. Through the program, Dr. Rodriguez has influenced more than 80 students to complete their degrees in a timely manner and to take advantage of opportunities such as internships, publications, and conference activities. Dr. Rodriguez also has directed 10 master's and two Ph.D. recipients and is currently supervising 10 additional graduate students. Dr. Rodriguez has put forth an excellent example of an innovative approach to mentoring that can be replicated elsewhere.

Nina M. Roscher
American University

Dr. Roscher has a 30-year history of mentoring outstanding women and minority scientists at the baccalaureate, master's, and doctoral levels. Dr. Roscher has provided sustained academic support to her students, encouraging 25 students to complete master's degrees and 9 students to obtain the Ph.D. As a student, Dr. Roscher developed several peer-mentoring strategies. Dr. Roscher also has been highly successful securing funds and fellowships for her graduate students.

Herbert B. Silber
San Jose State University

Dr. Silber has a distinguished 25-year record of seeking and mentoring minority and disadvantaged students at the high school, undergraduate, and graduate levels. The focal point of Dr. Silber's mentoring activity is the laboratory. As evidenced by 90 publications co-authored by students, Dr. Silber involves his students in significant research and supports their efforts. At the national level, Dr. Silber has had a 20-year involvement with the American Chemical Society's SEED program (Summer Educational Experiences for the Disadvantaged), including a very successful three-year appointment as chair of the National SEED Committee.

Institutional Recipients

AT&T Laboratories, New Jersey
Organizational Representative: Hriar Aldermeshian

Throughout its 25-year history, the AT&T program has had a significant impact on the number of women and minority master's and doctoral degree recipients in science and engineering, resulting in increased diversity in the science and engineering workforce. The AT&T program combines financial assistance with a mentoring component drawn from the AT&T labs. Summer research opportunities are provided for students to prepare and motivate them to pursue graduate degrees in the sciences or engineering fields. Once enrolled in graduate programs, AT&T mentors continue to work with students and to provide career guidance. Approximately 300 students have been supported through the AT&T program.

Bryn Mawr College - Department of Physics, Pennsylvania
Organizational Representative: Alfonso M. Albano

The Bryn Mawr physics department has developed a diverse program of effective mentoring activities, including student recruitment, course strategies, research experiences, career counseling, and support networks that can be replicated easily. During 1993-1997, the college awarded undergraduate physics degrees to women at a rate ten times the national average. About one-third of Bryn Mawr's physics graduates pursue doctoral degrees in physics or in related fields. From 30 to 50 female students participate in the program every year. Currently, 5% of Bryn Mawr College's graduating class consists of physics majors, about 100 times the national average.

Stevens Institute of Technology - Office of Women's Programs, New Jersey
Organizational Representative: Susan Metz

The Office of Women's Programs (OWP) at Stevens Institute of Technology has offered a wide array of mathematics, science, and engineering programs over the past 20 years at the precollege and college levels in support of women. OWP has also served as a national model, developing and implementing several initiatives to provide other colleges and universities with resources, curricula, materials, and technical expertise to effectively mentor students and increase the representation of women in engineering in the United States. Over 17,000 young women in grades seven through eleven have participated in OWP engineering and science career awareness programs.

Times2, Inc. - To Improve Mathematics, Engineering, & Science Studies, Rhode Island
Organizational Representative: Ralph N. Taylor

Since 1979, the Times-Squared program has encouraged urban minority students to pursue careers in science, engineering, and mathematics by offering several unique features. These include a 32-hour elementary school curriculum to teach young children to enjoy exploratory science and mathematics; Saturday Academies that introduce middle school students to science, engineering, and mathematics; and tutoring, mentoring, and field trips for high school students. Over 800 Times2 students have graduated from college.

University of California-Berkeley - Coalition for Excellence and Diversity in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring
Organizational Representative: Caroline M. Kane

The Coalition for Excellence and Diversity in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring focuses on the recruitment, retention and provision of academic support, career training, and research opportunities for women and minority undergraduate students. The Coalition is a truly collaborative cross-institutional endeavor that serves 400 students per year. Minority Coalition participants graduated with engineering degrees at twice the national rate. Chemistry and Biology graduation rates among minority program participants also increased dramatically.

University of Nebraska-Lincoln - Department of Mathematics and Statistics
Organizational Representative: Judy L. Walker

Since 1990, 13 doctoral degrees and 49 master's degrees in mathematics or mathematics-related fields have been awarded by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) to women. By comparison, no doctoral degrees were awarded during the entire decade of the 1980s. These increases attest to a climate highly supportive of women and to the effectiveness of the UNL approach. Women graduate students in the UNL Department of Mathematics and Statistics are encouraged to mentor high school students, meet regularly with role models, engage in research, attend professional meetings, and acquire teaching experience. For the past six years, 45% of the graduate student body of the UNL Department of Mathematics and Statistics has consisted of women.

University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill - Mathematics and Science Education Network, Pre-college Program
Organizational Representative: Gerry Madrazo, Jr.

Operating at ten University of North Carolina campuses, the Mathematics and Science Education Network (MSEN) employs a pre-college program for students and a teacher professional development component to enhance K-12 science and mathematics student achievement. Operating since 1984, the MSEN program has an annual enrollment of nearly 3,000 7th and 8th grade students and 5,000 teachers. About 1,000 MSEN participants have graduated from high school. In 1994, 65% of the MSEN participants who graduated from college pursued a math- or science-related major.

University of Washington - Women in Engineering Initiative
Organizational Representative: Suzanne Brainard

In 1989, the Women in Engineering Initiative (WIE) served 50 women; today it serves over 1,300 students a year on the University of Washington campus and over 3,000 students off campus by providing mentoring activities aimed at increasing the number of women in science and engineering. Between 1990 and 1997, the WIE program has increased retention rates among undergraduate women from 50% to 74%. WIE research on mentoring has also produced a nationally-disseminated cross-gender, cross-racial curriculum for training mentors and mentees in science and engineering.


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