On February 11, 2022, the White House Office of Science and Technology’s (OSTP) Deputy Director for Science and Society Dr. Alondra Nelson and National Science Foundation (NSF) Director Dr. Sethuraman Panchanathan recognized the latest cohort of Presidential Awardees for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM). This year’s ceremony for fifteen PAESMEM awardees (12 individuals and three organizational honorees) took place as part of OSTP’s day-long series of events celebrating the International Day of Women and Girls in Science and Black History Month. 

Established by President Bill Clinton in 1995, the PAESMEM program honors individuals and organizations making significant contributions to STEM mentoring, with a particular focus on engaging those from underserved and underrepresented communities. President Biden announced the most recent round of Presidential Awardees on February 8, 2022.

“Mentors see us through a lens through which we may not yet be able to see ourselves,” said Dr. Alondra Nelson. “They are people who show young people across the United States that curiosity can be a way of life, that asking questions can lead to a life filled with learning and discovery. By pushing students and young people to grow and explore, mentors move our nation forward.”

“This year’s awardees don’t just inspire their mentees, but all of us who are motivated and committed to expanding opportunity across every community in the country,” said NSF Director Sethuraman Panchanathan. “By making room for diverse viewpoints, we discover how we can achieve what is we previously thought impossible.”

After the ceremony, OSTP and NSF hosted a symposium titled “Models of Equitable STEM Excellence.”

Opening the symposium. Dr. Nelson shared the symposium’s goals to convey the importance of having STEM mentoring exemplars; to uplift such models to advance equity in STEM; and to share strategies and resources to effectively disseminate, implement, and scale evidence-based equitable practices in STEM mentoring.   

NSF Chief Operating Officer Karen Marrongelle moderated a panel on promising practices for disseminating, implementation and scaling mentoring models. Distinguished panelists included:

  • Calvin Mackie, Ph.D., President and CEO, STEM NOLA;
  • Becky Wai-Ling Packard, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology and Education, Mount Holyoke College;
  • Alison Gammie, Ph.D., Director, Division of Training, Workforce Development and Diversity, National Institute of General Medical Science, NIH;
  • Madeline Di Nonno, President and CEO, Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media; and
  • Gilda A. Barabino, Ph.D., President and Professor, Olin College of Engineering.

After opening remarks by the panelists, the panel and all 15 awardees engaged in a lively discussion about strategies and opportunities to improve mentoring and equity across the STEM ecosystem. At the end of the symposium, OSTP and NSF also announced plans to hold a webinar series with the same name, Models of Equitable STEM Excellence, as a way to continue to share exemplars that advance STEM equity and the dissemination, implementation, and scaling of evidence-based practices. A video of the ceremony and the symposium can be found here: PAESMEM Virtual Ceremony and Symposium.

Award recipients receive a $10,000 gift from the National Science Foundation and a certificate signed by the President. Biographies for this year’s awardees can be accessed at www.paesmem.net.   

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