UB chemist heads to Washington D.C. to receive presidential mentoring award

UB chemistry professor Luis Colón (center), with John Holdren, assistant to the president for Science and Technology, and Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (left); and France A. Córdova, Director of the National Science Foundation (right). Credit: National Science Foundation

Release Date: June 16, 2015 This content is archived.

Luis Colon.

Luis Colón, UB’s A. Conger Goodyear Professor of chemistry and associate dean of the Graduate School. Credit: Douglas Levere

BUFFALO, N.Y. — In March, University at Buffalo chemistry professor Luis Colón was named by President Obama as a winner of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM).

This week, Colón will be in Washington, D.C., to receive the recognition and visit the White House.

Photo and biography of Colón: https://www.buffalo.edu/news/releases/2015/04/010.html

On Tuesday, June 16, at 3:30 p.m., Colón will join fellow honorees at an awards ceremony hosted by the National Science Foundation (NSF) at the Ronald Reagan Building on Pennsylvania Avenue NW.

The event recognizes the PAESMEM winners for their work to encourage the next generation of innovators and for growing a science and engineering workforce that better reflects the diverse talent of America. Each awardee has had an impact on engaging students from communities that are underrepresented in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.

The Tuesday ceremony will feature remarks from NSF Director France A. Córdova; John Holdren, assistant to the president for science and technology, and director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy; and Joan Ferrini-Mundy, NSF assistant director for education and human resources.

On Wednesday, June 17, Colón will visit the White House in a private event that is not open to the media.

Photos from the week’s events will be available within several days by request at chsu22@buffalo.edu.

Colón, UB’s A. Conger Goodyear Professor and associate dean of the Graduate School, joined the university in 1993. His achievements in mentoring include:

  • Creating a pipeline to enable students from his native Puerto Rico to study chemistry at UB. For 20 summers, Colón has brought undergraduates from Puerto Rico to Buffalo to conduct research. More than half a dozen of these students have gone on to enroll in UB’s graduate programs in chemistry, with four earning PhDs while working in Colón’s lab.
  • Co-founding iSEED at UB. Short for the Institute for the Strategic Enhancement of Educational Diversity, iSEED builds on Colón’s success in chemistry to offer summer research opportunities to undergraduates in many STEM fields. The institute also helps to build a culturally and intellectually diverse academic community by providing professional development and support for graduate students. It is funded through the UB Office of the Provost’s E Fund.
  • Personally guiding the education of dozens of students, including many minorities. Colón has supervised and mentored 27 PhDs (17 of whom are from underrepresented groups and/or women); 14 master’s students (11 of whom are from underrepresented groups and/or women); and more than 35 undergraduates. He says he helped recruit more than a dozen Hispanic PhD students to his department, including the candidates from Puerto Rico.
  • Participating in existing programs that support underrepresented students in graduate programs. Over the years, Colón has been active with programs such as the Arthur A. Schomburg Fellowship Program and SUNY Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation.

For more information on Colón’s achievements, visit https://www.buffalo.edu/news/releases/2015/04/010.html.

Media Contact Information

University at Buffalo:

Charlotte Hsu is a former staff writer in University Communications. To contact UB's media relations staff, email ub-news@buffalo.edu or visit our list of current university media contacts.

National Science Foundation:

Maria Zacharias
Senior public affairs specialist
Tel: 703-292-8454