Stern of AAAS receives Presidential Award for Excellence

December 14, 2001

Virginia W. Stern of the American Association for the Advancement Science (AAAS) is one of this year's recipients of the sixth annual Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring.

Ten individuals and ten institutions are being honored for promoting participation among women, minorities and persons with disabilities in scientific and engineering careers. The awards will be presented 12 December at a ceremony in Washington, D.C.

Ms. Stern is director of the AAAS Project on Science, Technology and Disability and of ENTRY POINT!, a AAAS-sponsored internship program in science and technology for students with disabilities, which places interns in industry and U.S. government agencies. Ms. Stern has worked to create and maintain family and community support systems for students with disabilities, and to improve conditions for such students at campuses, laboratories, museums, community-based organizations and science centers.

"The President views these (mentoring) programs as essential to our nation's future," said National Science Foundation (NSF) Director Rita Colwell. "All barriers must be removed because research is enriched when the broadest possible range of people participate. Especially at times of national crisis, we need all of our best minds working together to bring science and technology to bear on urgent issues."

The mentoring awards recognize a long-term commitment to providing opportunities for greater participation in science and engineering by all Americans. The awards honor those whose personal and organizational activities have increased participation of underrepresented groups in mathematics, engineering and science.

"Students with disabilities in engineering and science, who have had to be problem-solvers because of every day barriers in their lives, bring extraordinary insight and creativity to their studies and careers," said Virginia Stern. "Employers now come to AAAS to introduce them to this pool of talent."
The mentoring awards are administered and funded through the NSF, and go to people and institutions that work with students in K-12, undergraduate or graduate level education. Every year, up to 10 individuals and 10 institutions qualify for the national award, which includes a $10,000 grant and a commemorative presidential certificate. The awardees are considered models for others interested in developing similar programs.

For more information on the AAAS Directorate for Education and Human Resources, please visit:

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is the largest general scientific organization in the world, with over 134,000 members from 130 countries and 273 affiliated societies comprising more than 10 million members. AAAS publishes Science, an editorially independent, multidisciplinary, weekly peer-reviewed journal that ranks as the world's most prestigious scientific journal.

American Association for the Advancement of Science

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