Patillas High School chemistry teacher to be honored for mentoring students

August 25, 2003

NEW YORK -- Chemistry teacher Almodovar Fonseca-Rivera of Patillas, Puerto Rico, will be honored for his work in mentoring students during the 226th national meeting of the American Chemical Society in New York. The president of the Society, Elsa Reichmanis, Ph.D., will present him with a special mentoring award at a luncheon celebrating the 10th anniversary of the ACS Committee on Minority Affairs on Monday, Sept. 8 at the New York Hilton.

An ACS member since 1982, Fonseca-Rivera has served as a mentor for students from Puerto Rico who received scholarships through the ACS Scholars Program during the past eight years. Twenty-eight high school students who have taken Mr. Fonseca's chemistry class have gone on to win ACS scholarships. This is an unprecedented number of students encouraged into the program by one teacher.

"In addition to staying in close contact with his former chemistry students, Mr. Fonseca has tracked all of the 55 Scholars who attended college in Puerto Rico and ten others from Puerto Rico attending schools within the U.S.," stated Scholars Program manager, Robert Hughes. "He has a remarkable gift for staying in touch with students who know he is genuinely interested in their lives. Since the program began in 1995, his tracking efforts have helped document the results of this investment in education."

Fonseca-Rivera was born in Patillas, Puerto Rico, and moved to New York when he was five years old. He attended elementary, middle school and high school in the Bronx and obtained his B.S. degree from City College of New York. The month he graduated, he returned to Puerto Rico and began teaching. He has taught chemistry and physics at Patillas High School since 1973. In 1985, Fonseca-Rivera won the Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching. He was named the Outstanding High School Chemistry Teacher in Puerto Rico in 1988.

Fonseca-Rivera will also attend the Committee on Minority Affairs' 10th anniversary reception on Sunday evening featuring Benjamin S. Carson, Sr., M.D., who serves as director of the Division of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Carson has gained worldwide recognition as the principal surgeon in the separation of the conjoined Binder twins in Germany and, most recently, for his role in the separation of the Bijani twins from Iran.

The ACS Scholars Program provides financial support to academically accomplished African American, Hispanic and Native American students in their pursuit of undergraduate studies in chemistry, chemical engineering, biochemistry, environmental science and related disciplines in two- and four- year college and university programs. For more details on the ACS Scholars Program, including an online application form, please visit or telephone 1-800-227-5558, extension 6250.

American Chemical Society

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