UCI receives Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Mentoring


Program honored for efforts encouraging minority students to pursue science

Irvine, Calif., Nov. 18, 2005 -- The White House announced Wednesday that UC Irvine's Minority Science Program has won the 2005 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring.

The award honors individuals and institutions that enhance minority participation in science fields and includes a $10,000 grant for continued mentoring projects. UCI was alone among eleven honorees in receiving an institutional award.

During a White House ceremony, program director Luis Mota-Bravo received the award for the university.

The School of Biological Sciences' Minority Science Program reaches K-12 students and teachers as well as community college and university students, through a range of activities encouraging academic achievement in science, technology, engineering and math.

"I am delighted to see the program recognized as a national leader in preparing and encouraging underrepresented minority students interested in the biological sciences to pursue degrees and careers in science," said Susan V. Bryant, dean of biological sciences. "Not only does this program enrich individual students and the community, it helps ensure that tomorrow's scientists and doctors will better represent our increasingly diverse population."

Outreach activities organized by UCI's MSP include:

  • the Science Fair Initiative, which has helped thousands of K-12 students from three Southern California school districts prepare science fair projects;
  • the Teacher Professional Development program that offers summer and Saturday workshops for science and math teachers at districts with a high proportion of minority students;
  • the Bridges to Baccalaureate program to help community college students who are interested in a biomedical career transition to a four-year university;
  • the Minority Biomedical Research Support program mentoring minority undergraduate and graduate students to encourage and support them as they pursue doctoral degrees and biomedical careers;
  • the Minority International Research Training program that supports underrepresented minority students interested in studying or conducting research abroad.

Since 2000, MSP has been directed by Luis Mota-Bravo, and numerous faculty mentors have contributed to the effort, mentoring and guiding students from K-12 through graduate-level study. Under Mota-Bravo's leadership, the programs have seen increased funding support from the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation. Numerous UCI undergraduates and graduates in the program have received research awards or co-authored papers in peer-reviewed journals.

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