President Obama Honors UCSF Internship Program

High School Science, Math and Engineering Mentoring ‘Crucial’ to Nation’s Future

By Kevin Eisenmann on December 21, 2011
President Obama greets the recipients in the Oval Office

President Barack Obama greets the 2011 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring recipients in the Oval Office, Dec. 12, 2011. Rebecca Smith (third from left), co-director of UCSF’s Science & Health Education Partnership, accepted the award. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The UCSF Science & Health Education Partnership (SEP) High School Internship Program was honored with the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Mentoring on Dec. 12 at an awards ceremony at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, D.C.

As part of the recognition, Rebecca Smith, SEP co-director, met President Obama in the Oval Office and exchanged ideas on promoting interest and participation in science with fellow awardees as well as with representatives from the National Science Foundation and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Read the Dec. 14 National Science Foundation announcement.

“It was a tremendous privilege to spend time with the other awardees, learning about and from their work,” Smith said. “The highlight of the trip was meeting with President Obama who spoke passionately about the importance of science education and inspiring future generations of scientists and engineers.”
 
Since the UCSF SEP High School Internship Program began in 1989, nearly 250 students from San Francisco’s public schools have spent their summers conducting scientific research under the direction of UCSF scientist mentors while simultaneously learning how to maneuver the critical and difficult transition from high school to college. Fostering the next generation of scientists is one important way UCSF fulfills its commitment to improving health and increasing the diversity of students interested in science.
 
The award included a grant of $25,000 to support mentoring efforts.

Editor's note: This is an update to the Nov. 15 article, “UCSF Intern Program Wins Presidential Award for Mentoring Youth in Science.”

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