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News Release 04-066

President Bush Honors Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring

May 6, 2004

This material is available primarily for archival purposes. Telephone numbers or other contact information may be out of date; please see current contact information at media contacts.

ARLINGTON, Va.—President Bush today announced nine individuals and eight institutions to receive the 2003 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM). Each award includes a $10,000 grant for continued mentoring work.

Each year the president recognizes the people and institutions that have provided broad opportunities for participation by women, minorities and people with disabilities in science, mathematics and engineering in elementary, secondary, undergraduate and graduate education.

The National Science Foundation (NSF), an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education programs across all fields of science and engineering, administers the awards on behalf of the White House. In the eight years the awards have been made, 78 individuals and 62 institutions have been recognized. The program allows for an annual maximum of 10 awards each for individuals and institutions.

Recipients of this year's individual awards include a range of professionals from biology and chemical engineering to computer science and medicine. Their innovative approaches include comprehensive programs and enrichment activities for K-12 students to initiatives aimed at reaching a continuum of students from early childhood through undergraduates, using such community resources as schools and churches.

Recognized in a ceremony today at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building were: Chellu S. Chetty, professor of biology, Savannah State University; Denice D. Denton, dean of engineering, University of Washington; Christine S. Grant, professor of chemical engineering, North Carolina State University; Linda Bailey Hayden, professor of computer science, Elizabeth City State University; Rudolf E. Henning, professor of electrical engineering, University of South Florida; Ellis Ingram, University of Missouri-Columbia; Calvin Mackie, associate professor of mechanical engineering, Tulane University; Lisa Pruitt, professor of biomedical engineering, University of California-Berkeley, and; Margaret Werner-Washburne, professor of biology, University of New Mexico.

The institutional awards recognize organizations that have developed mentoring approaches that encourage improved achievement, keeping young students in the "pipeline" of science, engineering and mathematics education, and creating peer mentoring programs.

The institutional honors went to: American Physiological Society; Center for the Advancement of Hispanics in Science & Engineering Education; Committee on the Status of Women in Computing Research, Computing Research Association (CRA-W); CONNECT, University of California at Riverside; Alfred P. Sloan Foundation’s "Increasing Ph.D.s for Underrepresented Minorities;" National Society of Black Engineers; Science and Technology Programs, New York State Department of Education, and; Women in Engineering Program (WEP), Pennsylvania State University.

Collectively, the 2003 awards recognize exemplary mentoring programs nationwide, from New York to Florida, and westward from Pennsylvania to California. Four of the eight institutional awards were to organizations in or around Washington, D.C.


For more information on the presidential mentoring awards program, see:




Chellu Chetty, Savannah State University, a professor of biology, has a strong record of working with students at the undergraduate and graduate levels, particularly with African-American students and with underrepresented communities. He has developed strategies that involve and challenge students in their academic and career pursuits. Chetty's presidential award will help support the establishment of a mentoring and advising office for the College of Sciences and Technology at Savannah State.

Denice D. Denton, University of Washington, dean of engineering, has a national reputation in traditional and peer mentoring of students, and in the development of long-term mentoring programs from K-12 to undergraduates and graduates. Her mentoring programs have provided the basis for cultural and policy changes in science and engineering. She has created science and engineering projects for K-12 students and worked directly with them. She has helped women and minority junior faculty, senior faculty and administrators advance in their careers and to become mentors.

Christine Grant, North Carolina State University, is one of only six tenured African-American women faculty members in chemical engineering nationwide. Her outreach activities serve students from K-12 through graduate education. She includes students in her research agenda, and she gives additional attention to mentoring junior faculty. She has built an array of activities that seek to stop leaks in the academic pipeline for women and students from traditionally under-represented groups and teaches students how to work within the system.

Linda Hayden, Elizabeth City State University, is a tenured professor of computer science with 30 years of college experience in teaching and nurturing student researchers. Her science programs include Nurturing ECSU Research Talent (NERT), several efforts funded by NASA, and the Celebration of Women in Mathematics program. She works with undergraduate students, middle- and high-school-aged girls and K-12 teachers, and extends her reach to a number of historically black colleges and universities around the country, revealing a deep commitment to increasing the number of minorities in scientific and technical careers.

Rudolf Henning, University of South Florida, is a professor of electrical engineering who developed a 25-week "YES-We Care" program to interest, influence and prepare minority pre-college students for success as engineering students. For more than 20 years, Henning's activities to expand the diversity pool have been reward based, supporting parental participation with students. His focus is on increasing self-esteem and motivation by fostering tolerance and mutual respect, encouraging the communication writing skills of students.

Ellis Ingram, University of Missouri-Columbia, has established a continuum of mentoring activities for participants from early childhood to postdoctoral and faculty levels. A medical doctor, Ingram, has reached students through an after-school program for children aged 4-14, a science club for middle-school to early high-school students, and an Excellence in Learning Program for senior high-school students that provides education in anatomy and medicine through Washington University. His mentoring activities are distributed across diverse groups, including undergraduate minority students in science and medicine.

Calvin Mackie, Tulane University, is a tenured associate professor of mechanical engineering, whose mentoring and outreach activities extend to pre-college, undergraduate, and graduate populations. Active in the community, speaking to large audiences and to schools, he is authentic, humorous and has a high-energy, charismatic style in communicating science. He also develops video and other visual materials. His skill in using a unique cultural framework in his mentoring has effectively motivated students from diverse backgrounds to succeed.

Lisa Pruitt, University of California-Berkeley, is a professor of biomedical engineering who has established a mentoring program and approach that emphasizes lifelong learning. She has helped to smooth the way for students making the transition from undergraduate to graduate levels and has also established high-school outreach programs. Her efforts in establishing learning communities will foster cohorts of students who can give each other support. She has provided research opportunities for students and co-authored publications with them, while developing their mentoring skills to serve as "peer" mentors.

Margaret Werner-Washburne, University of New Mexico, is a faculty member of the biology department, who, for 15 years has mentored large numbers of ethnic minority students. Her hands-on approach to mentoring reaches far beyond her department to K-12 to university and government professionals, and across disciplines including biology, mathematics, computer sciences, and mechanical and chemical engineering.


The American Physiological Society (APS) has undertaken initiatives across multiple levels of the educational continuum to: develop long-term targeted programs for minority students and teachers; increase diversity among physiologists; and monitor the progress of minorities in the field of physiology. "Monitoring the Status of Minority Physiologists" provides data on the status of minorities in degree programs. The Porter Physiology Development (fellowship) Program is a multi-faceted effort that encourages peer mentoring through establishing a network of fellows, further supported by the APS Career Web. This cadre of programs extends to undergraduate and K-12 students.

Center for the Advancement of Hispanics in Science & Engineering Education (CAHSEE), through its "Strategic Human Capital Development Paradigm" is expanding the next generation of technical and scientific leaders by nurturing students' intellectual abilities and capacities. Students from elementary to graduate school learn to analyze and synthesize complex phenomena through skills they develop in mathematical, engineering, visualization and modeling principles. The students also learn to develop their leadership and civic-mindedness. Since 1992, CAHSEE has served over 1,500 students, all of whom have enrolled in four-year collegiate institutions, and 90 percent of whom have chosen majors in science, technology, engineering or mathematics. More than 50 percent of students served are women.

Committee on the Status of Women in Computing Research, Computing Research Association (CRA-W), has made significant achievements in mentoring women across educational levels – undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, and professionals. CRA-W provides hands-on research experiences, mentoring, role models and information exchange to women pursuing careers. Numerous workshops are aimed at faculty, to provide information for careers, access to senior role models and networking opportunities. Large numbers of students have participated in the Distributed Mentor Project since 1994, and at least half of these students go on to graduate school.

CONNECT - University of California at Riverside, is a project designed to increase the pool of mathematics teachers, develop the mathematical capabilities of secondary school students (grades 6-12), and improve the mathematics curriculum – all through mentoring and associated activities. The CONNECT mentoring network builds upon strong existing programs at UC-Riverside, and begins with young students, attempting to interest them in mathematics. Once in the pipeline, the next step is to encourage them to become mathematics teachers. To date, 114 students have enrolled in the Community Teaching Fellowship (CTF) component.

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation's "Increasing Ph.D.s for Underrepresented Minorities" program has provided support to 447 Ph.D. students who are underrepresented minorities, more than 75 percent of whom have either graduated or are expected to receive doctorates. The $4-5 million yearly investment was effective because of its innovative and successful mentoring methods, with a component that fosters increased participation of minorities in Ph.D. programs. The combined efforts to provide scholarships, disseminate information nationally and targeting Native American students as a special interest group are considered strengths of the program, as is the component on faculty development. The program appears to be sustainable over time.

The National Society of Black Engineers offers programs from the pre-college level through the graduate level through an extensive national network of 15,000 members; 2,300 of those engaged in mentoring at the pre-college level. A distinguishing factor is that these programs are entirely student-run. The society's attention to these younger learners have been sustained as the students remain engaged throughout their college careers. The society's attention to supporting its collegiate members, who, in turn, serve as mentors to pre-college members, further supports the society's commitment to provide a continuum in nurturing the next generation of engineers.

Science and Technology Entry Programs, New York State Education Department, mentor secondary students for successful transition to higher education and undergraduate and graduate students into careers. Among the mentoring activities are tutoring, counseling, supplemental financial assistance, and licensing preparation for the health professions. Students also participate in science competitions and at research conferences. More than 125,000 students have participated in these programs over a 17-year period. Their success has allowed teachers to broaden student expectations in the programs and to sustain funding support from the state legislature.

The Women in Engineering Program (WEP) at Pennsylvania State University involves women participants across a broad range of points in career development. Notably, 25 percent of participants are women of color. WEP has identified barriers to women in academic engineering programs and developed strategies/methods to overcome them. Retention rates for women majoring in engineering have reached rates of 60-70 percent at the end of the sophomore year. Women receive mentoring early in their collegiate experience through one-on-one discussions and team leadership activities. Other programs on campus are using the WEP orientation component, and other universities are adopting the overall program model.


Media Contacts
Bill Noxon, NSF, (703) 292-7750, email:

Program Contacts
Marilyn Suiter, NSF, (703) 292-5121, email:

The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2023 budget of $9.5 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.

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