Editor's Note: This blog was originally posted by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
Do you know someone who has been an excellent example, role model, and mentor to others in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines? If so, consider nominating them for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM).
PAESMEM recognizes outstanding mentoring efforts that enhance the participation and retention of students and early-career investigators in STEM disciplines, with a special emphasis on those who might not otherwise have considered or had access to opportunities in STEM fields, including women, minorities, and persons with disabilities.
Mentors are more than teachers. They are in many cases personal examples of success who have special capacities to inspire. As President Obama remarked during his recent commencement address at Barnard College: “Never underestimate the power of your example. Think about what that means to a young Latina girl when she sees a Cabinet secretary that looks like her. Think about what it means to a young girl walking in Harlem right down the street when she sees a U.N. ambassador who looks like her. Do not underestimate the power of your example.”
The President had special words for students who majored in the STEM disciplines, saying “If you earned your degree in areas where we need more women -- like computer science or engineering -- reach back and persuade another student to study it, too. If you're going into fields where we need more women, like computer engineering -- reach back, hire someone new. Be a mentor. Be a role model.”
Last year, 17 mentors were recognized with the PAESMEM for their service. They met with President Obama in the Oval Office and were honored in a White House ceremony with White House Office and Science and Technology Policy Director John P. Holdren and NSF Director Subra Suresh.
Nominations for individuals or organizations, including self-nominations, will be accepted until June 6, 2012. Organizational nominees must be affiliated with an U.S. educational institution, U.S. corporation, or not-for-profit organization. Submissions are accepted through Grants.gov and the National Science Foundation’s FastLane system. For more information, please visit the PAESMEM webpage at NSF.