President Bush Honors Two Georgia Tech Alums for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering

May 5, 2004

ARLINGTON, Va.-President Bush announced nine individuals and eight institutions to receive the 2003 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM) at the May 6 ceremony. Christine Grant received her master’s and doctoral degrees in chemical engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology in 1986 and 1989, respectively; and Calvin Mackie received his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering in 1990, as well as his master’s and doctoral degrees in mechanical engineering from Georgia Tech in 1992 and 1996.

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. Each award includes a $10,000 grant for continued mentoring work.

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 chemical engineering and computer science to biology 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.

Christine Grant, currently at 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.

Calvin Mackie, currently at Tulane University, is a tenured associate professor of mechanical engineering. His mentoring and outreach activities extend to pre-college, undergraduate, and graduate populations. Active in the community, speaking to large audiences and to schools, Mackie 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.

Also recognized during the noon ceremony 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; 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; 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: http://www.ehr.nsf.gov/EHR/HRD/paesmem.asp