White House Announces Two from LSU as Exceptional Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentors
BATON ROUGE – President Trump has named LSU Department of Chemistry Barre Distinguished
Professor Graça Vicente and the LSU Office of Strategic Initiatives as recipients
of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring,
or PAESMEM. PAESMEM recognizes outstanding efforts of mentors in encouraging the next
generation of innovators and developing a science and engineering workforce that reflects
the diverse talent of America.
The 41 mentors will receive their presidential certificates at a recognition ceremony at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. tonight. The award recipients include 27 individuals and 14 organizations.
In 2007, Vicente became the LSU program director for the Initiative for Maximizing Student Development, or IMSD, which has provided research training, academic development, mentoring opportunities and career development to students from groups underrepresented in the STEM disciplines. Since then, 82 undergraduate and graduate students have participated in the program. IMSD students develop their academic and technical skills in the research laboratories of LSU faculty mentors, and are involved in collaborative learning and mentoring. Vicente works with program staff to develop training activities, educational mentoring plans and the creation of opportunities for the students to enhance their skills, network and interact with each other and faculty. Her program also includes seminars, workshops, outreach and site visits that meet the needs and interests of each student.
Vicente’s mentoring is based on a progressive mentoring model and a long-term, trusting relationship that she develops with each mentee. She designs individualized mentoring plans that meet the needs and interests of each mentee, supporting and advising them through every stage of their careers, motivating, encouraging and empowering them, and instilling in them confidence and a passion for mentoring others. She has personally mentored 71 students in her laboratory.
LSU’s Department of Chemistry has become the leading producer of doctoral degrees
in chemistry by African Americans in the U.S. The LSU Office of Strategic Initiatives,
or OSI, has mentored 492 undergraduate students of whom 60 percent are minority students
underrepresented in STEM-with 323 students graduating with a STEM baccalaureate degree.
The OSI program has developed four undergraduate courses designed to provide research
and leadership training needed to best guide students' metacognitive professional
development as they transition from one semester to the next. As part of this coursework,
each student must develop an individual development plan for navigating their undergraduate
At the graduate level, the OSI has supported and mentored 137 STEM Ph.D. students since 2001 of whom 84 percent are minority students. Zakiya Wilson-Kennedy, assistant dean for diversity and inclusion and associate professor of research, chemistry education at LSU will be accepting the award on behalf of OSI.
LSU has garnered six PAESMEM awards, including the two awardees mentioned above. Previous recipients from LSU include Isiah Warner, Saundra McGuire, Steve Watkins and Su-Seng Pang.
White House announces exceptional science, mathematics and engineering mentors:
Contact Alison Satake
LSU Media Relations