BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The American Chemical Society has selected Luis
A. Colón, PhD, professor and chair of the University at
Buffalo Department of Chemistry, as recipient of the Stanley C.
Israel Regional Award for Promotion of Diversity.
Colón will receive the award on June 4th during the 37th
Northeast Regional Meeting of the ACS at the State University of
New York Potsdam campus. The award recognizes individuals and
institutions that have advanced diversity in the chemical sciences
and fostered activities promoting inclusiveness.
Since joining the UB faculty in 1993, Colón has overseen
an array of initiatives to bring minority undergraduates and
graduate students to the university. His efforts have helped dozens
of scholars from his native Puerto Rico pursue their interest in
science through opportunities in Western New York.
Colón, an analytical chemist, has arranged for Hispanic
undergraduates to participate in summer research in the chemistry
department every year since 1997. In the beginning, he used his own
resources, with some support from the National Science Foundation,
to bring Puerto Rican students to Buffalo. Part of his goal was to
ease the difficult transition for young people who faced the
prospect of attending college or graduate school thousands of miles
away from their families.
More than 20 students from Puerto Rico have taken part in summer
research at UB with Colón or with other chemistry faculty
members inspired by his example. Many participants have enrolled in
advanced degree programs. Colón's work laid the foundation
for the Department of Chemistry's NSF Research Experience for
Colón has also mentored undergraduates from
underrepresented groups, including students with disabilities, and
supported the American Chemical Society Scholars Program, which
offers scholarships to underrepresented minority students in the
At the graduate level, Colón, who earned his bachelor's
degree at the University of Puerto Rico at Cayey, has established a
pipeline to assist UB in recruiting Cayey graduates. He is a member
of the advisory committee to the Arthur A. Schomberg Fellowship
Program, which helps underrepresented minorities in graduate
programs at UB, and serves as a research mentor for Schomberg
fellows. He has worked with the NSF-SUNY Louis Stokes Alliance for
Minority Participation and the SUNY Alliance for Graduate Education
and the Professoriate, which encourages PhDs from underrepresented
groups to seek faculty positions.
Colón's efforts have catalyzed an increase in diversity
within his department, which has conferred 12 advanced degrees to
Hispanic students in the past decade, many of whom have gone into
industrial or academic positions in the chemical sciences.
The Stanley C. Israel Regional Award consists of a medal, a
$1,000 grant to further promote diversity and funding to cover
travel expenses to the meeting at which the award is presented.
Other accolades Colón has received for promoting diversity
include the 2009 AAAS Mentor Award from the American Association
for the Advancement of Science and the 2004 Faculty Mentor of the
Year Award from the Compact for Faculty Diversity.
Colón's research focuses on chemical analysis at the
micro/nano scales, the development of new materials for chemical
separations, environmental chemistry and bioanalytical chemistry,
especially developing new methodology to analyze biological
samples, such as saliva and tears and their potential use in
The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public
university, a flagship institution in the State University of New
York system and its largest and most comprehensive campus. UB's
more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests through
more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree
programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of
the Association of American Universities.