Highly Meritorious—was what the AASEP’s recent application was dubbed by the National Science Foundation’s Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring—a status indicative of close award. The panel reviewing the application praised the program’s dedication toward sustainability, true commitment to community, and address of imposter syndrome, amongst other points of interest.
The award, which was established by the White House in 1995, recognizes U.S. citizens or permanent residents and U.S. organizations that have demonstrated excellence in mentoring individuals from groups that are underrepresented in STEM education and workforce. Winners receive $10,000 and a commemorative Presidential certificate.
But the award would mean more than that to Program Director, Jonathan Simmons, who says that he’s not giving up on gathering resources that support students in the AASEP. He noted, “This would be a big win for students in Akron. They put in the work and take the internships we organize seriously, so any way we can create even more opportunities for these students— that’s what I’m after.” The money would be used to combat many obstacles the program currently has to work around, one of which is transportation to in-person workshops and paid summer internships for students, a task that currently falls on parents.
Simmons says he’s not giving up on the award yet and will apply again next year, with even more zeal. “We’re focused and ready to put in the work.”