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MassBay Community College Professor Honored by President Obama for Outstanding Science, Math, Engineering Mentoring
WELLESLEY HILLS, MA (January 24, 2011) – MassBay Community College Professor Dr. Bruce A. Jackson will travel to Washington, D.C. this week to receive a prestigious Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentor from President Barack Obama at the White House on Thursday January 27th. Dr. Jackson was one of 11 individuals and four organizations that were named, and the only representative of a community college to earn the Award.
The Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring, awarded by the White House each year to individuals or organizations, recognizes the crucial role that mentoring plays in the academic and personal development of students studying science or engineering—particularly those who belong to groups that are underrepresented in those fields. By offering their expertise and encouragement, mentors help prepare the next generation of scientists and engineers while ensuring that tomorrow’s innovators reflect the full diversity of the United States.
“These individuals and organizations have gone above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that the United States remains on the cutting edge of science and engineering for years to come,” President Obama said. “Their devotion to the educational enrichment and personal growth of their students is remarkable, and these awards represent just a small token of our enormous gratitude.”
Dr. Jackson has long been a standout of MassBay’s accomplished Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) academic division. Through his visionary Forensic DNA Science program, the only associate degree of its kind in the world, Dr. Jackson has reached unparalleled success. Due in large part to his leadership, MassBay has produced 17 Barry M. Goldwater Scholars, the most prestigious undergraduate honor in math, science and engineering. No other community college in America has produced more than two. He has also been honored as a Fulbright Scholar in Residence, a highly prestigious and competitive award which has allowed him to replicate his Forensic DNA program at the Catholic University of Portugal.
Dr. Carole Berotte Joseph, president of MassBay, said, “MassBay showcases the potential of two-year colleges. Here at a community college level, we are able to offer the superb faculty, state-of-the-art laboratories and cutting-edge equipment equivalent to a four-year college at a fraction of the price. We are proud to be a steppingstone for some of our nation’s distinguished scholars and productive citizens.”
Just last year, MassBay announced the discovery of a new bacteria made possible by another brilliant professor, Interim STEM Division Dean Dr. Sarmad Saman, in conjunction with the work of a student utilizing MassBay’s high tech equipment and laboratory. The bacteria, submitted to the Gene Bank at the National Institutes of Health is named Bacillus samanii in honor of Dr. Saman, who said, “Although bacteria are discovered every year, the fact that the discovery was made at a community college without a cadre of graduate research students makes this discovery all the more meaningful.”
Dr. Saman acknowledged how fortunate MassBay is to have its own DNA Sequencer, Gas Chromatography and other sophisticated equipment, purchased with Dr. Joseph’s blessing. “Normally students would have to go to Harvard or MIT to have this equipment available to them.”
With Dr. Saman and Dr. Jackson as part of its faculty, and state-of-the-art laboratories and equipment, MassBay boasts as strong a STEM education as any community college in the nation.
Candidates for the Presidential Mentoring Awards are nominated by colleagues, administrators, and students in their home institutions. The mentoring can involve students at any grade level from elementary through graduate school. In addition to being honored at the White House, recipients receive awards of $10,000 to advance their mentoring efforts