President Obama honors Tuskegee University vice president with mentoring award


WASHINGTON, D.C. (December 15, 2011) —  Shaik Jeelani, Tuskegee University’s vice president for research and sponsored programs, was among the recipients of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring. The mentors received their awards at a White House ceremony with President Barack Obama on Monday, Dec. 12. The president gave awards to eight other individuals and eight organizations. The mentors and organizations are the winners for 2010 and 2011.

“Through their commitment to education and innovation, these individuals and organizations are playing a crucial role in the development of our 21st century workforce,” President Obama said in a National Science Foundation press release. “Our nation owes them a debt of gratitude for helping ensure that America remains the global leader in science and engineering for years to come.”

According the foundation’s website, the award is administered by the foundation and given by the White House to “individuals and organizations in recognition of the crucial role that mentoring plays in the academic and personal development of students studying science and engineering — particularly those who belong to groups that are underrepresented in these fields. By offering their expertise and encouragement, mentors help prepare the next generation of scientists and engineers while ensuring that tomorrow's innovators reflect and benefit from the diverse talent of the United States.”

“It’s a great honor for me and the university,” Jeelani said.

Recipients were nominated by colleagues, administrators and students from their institutions. In addition to the honor, the recipients receive a grant of $25,000 from the foundation. Jeelani said his grant will be used to set up mentoring workshops and to invite well-known mentors to talk to Tuskegee students.

“Tuskegee University is justifiably proud of Dr. Jeelani's accomplishments,” said Gilbert L. Rochon, Tuskegee University president. “During his service of over three decades to Tuskegee, his efforts have resulted in Tuskegee University's emergence as the No. 1 producer of African-American Ph.D. holders in Materials Science and Engineering in the U.S.” 

This award recognizes the crucial role that mentoring plays in the academic and personal development of students studying science and engineering. Pictured with the President are (left to right): Winston Anderson, Howard University, Washington, D.C.; Rebecca Smith, University of California San Francisco Science & Health Education Partnership High School Intern Program, Calif.; Marilyn Winkleby, The Stanford Medical Youth Science Program, Stanford University, Calif.; Carlos Castillo-Chavez, The Mathematical and Theoretical Biology Institute, Arizona State University, Ariz.; Sara Hernández, Diversity Programs in Engineering, Cornell University, N.Y.; Chrysanthe Demetry, Camp Reach, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Mass.; Shaik Jeelani, Tuskegee University, Ala.; Juan E. Gilbert, Clemson University, S.C., and Andrew Tsin, University of Texas at San Antonio, Texas.


Credit: Official White House Photo by Pete Souza












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