On Oct. 15, 2019, President Donald J. Trump announced the recipients of the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring, or PAESMEM. University of Arizona Professor Sally Stevens was one of 15 awardees across the country and the only recipient from Arizona. This is the third time a University of Arizona faculty member has received this award since its inception in 1995.
Stevens is a Distinguished Outreach Professor in the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. She is also a research professor and former director of the Southwest Institute for Research on Women.
PAESMEM recognize those who have made significant contributions to mentoring and supporting the future productivity of the U.S. science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) workforce.
Protégés are students and early-career STEM and STEM-related professionals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, women, persons with disabilities, and persons from disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds.
The National Science Foundation, NSF, administers the awards program on behalf of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
Each Presidential awardee receives a certificate signed by the President of the United States and a $10,000 award from NSF. Stevens is in Washington, D.C., this week for a series of events recognizing awardees.
“Congratulations to Professor Sally Stevens for receiving this award, which is the highest honor for mentors who work to expand STEM talent in the United States,” said John Paul Jones III, dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. “This national award is yet another testament to Sally’s important and impactful outreach work on behalf of the University of Arizona.”
Stevens uses a dynamic strength-based approach in mentoring women, girls, and those from racial and ethnic minority groups, enabling mentees to identify, understand, and build on their own strengths.
Stevens leads large-scale process and outcomes research in health disparities and innovations in STEM education. Her research emphasizes cultural and gender factors that are specifically applicable to women and girls, as well as people of Mexican-origin, Hispanic descent and Native Americans living in the southwestern United States. More than 10,000 women and their family members, adolescents, and young adults have participated in these projects. In addition, Stevens has mentored many undergraduate and graduate students, interns, and early-career scientists.
“The Presidential Award validates the importance of strength-based mentoring for engaging, retaining, and advancing women and underrepresented ethnic/racial minority groups in the STEM pipeline,” Stevens said. “Gender-driven and culturally-driven mentoring models advance different perspectives and provide alternative solutions to our world’s greatest challenges. The award celebrates and builds upon this success.”
The White House also announced the recipients of the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, and three awardees came from Tucson schools.