Professor Mecartney Wins White House Award

UCI's Mecartney Wins White House Award For Excellence In Science, Math And Engineering Mentoring

Engineering Professor Cited for Advancing Minority Participation Programs

Irvine, Calif., March 19, 2003 — UC Irvine engineering professor Martha Mecartney has been awarded the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring.

Mecartney joined other award recipients March 18 at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. The award is part of the President's Bush 2002 "No Child Left Behind" Act and highlights the need to increase access to quality education for underrepresented and disadvantaged students. Mecartney received the Mentoring Award, which includes a $10,000 grant, for her significant achievements toward increasing the participation of minority students in science and technology fields.

"Mentoring has meant so much to me in my career," Mecartney said. "It's that personal touch that offers encouragement to students who have traditionally been underrepresented in engineering. It can make such a difference."

A professor of chemical engineering and materials science in The Henry Samueli School of Engineering, Mecartney was cited for her record of individually mentoring students, as well as creating UCI's "Fast Track to the Professoriate" program — an initiative funded by the National Science Foundation and designed to increase underrepresented minority student participation in science and engineering doctorate programs. Her work toward improving educational opportunities includes her participation in the UCI California Alliance for Minority Participation undergraduate program. She has also created programs for more than 800 K-12 students and developed summer programs for middle school teachers from low-income minority communities.

"Martha has mentored many students who have gone on to great success within the sciences," said Manuel N. Gomez, vice chancellor of student affairs. "I have always known her to advocate strongly and honestly on behalf of student success as a fundamental value of a university education. Her impact as a role model, innovator and mentor for the full and equitable participation of all underrepresented groups in academia promises to continue as UCI grows."

Mecartney's scientific research includes designing high-tech ceramic materials for applications in fuel cells and computer memory devices. Mecartney, 47, joined the UCI faculty in 1990 and is the second UCI faculty member to receive the Presidential Award. In 2000, Luis Villarreal, professor of molecular biology and biochemistry, was honored for his work with the Minority Science Program in Biological Sciences.

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