Widgets Magazine

Summer science program receives White House award

President Barack Obama named the Stanford Medical Youth Science Program (SMYSP) a recipient of the 2011 Presidential Award for Excellence in the category of Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring Tuesday, according to a press release.

SMYSP, founded in 1988 by Marilyn Winkleby, a professor in the School of Medicine, and two undergraduates, is a five-week summer residential program for low-income and minority high school students. The 500 students selected to attend learn about the health and science professions, in addition to receiving advice on the college application process.

Evaluation results posted on the program’s website say that 100 percent of the students who attend the program graduate from high school, 99 percent are admitted to college, 84 percent graduate from four-year colleges and 47 percent attend medical or graduate school.

“We are thrilled that Stanford and the School of Medicine – whose students, faculty and staff have been instrumental to our success – are being recognized by this wonderful award,” Winkleby said in an article on the School of Medicine website.

The White House gave the award to nine individuals and eight organizations, recognizing mentors “who help prepare the next generation of scientists and engineers while ensuring that tomorrow’s innovators reflect and benefit from the diverse talent of the United States,” according to the press release.

Colleagues, administrations or students nominated all of the candidates. Recipients will receive a $25,000 award from the National Science Foundation and be recognized at a White House ceremony later this year.

“Through their commitment to education and innovation, these individuals and organizations are playing a crucial role in the development of our 21st century workforce,” Obama said in the press release. “Our nation owes them a debt of gratitude for helping ensure that America remains the global leader in science and engineering for years to come.”

Other organizations recognized in 2011 included Camp Reach from the Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Diversity Programs in Engineering from Cornell University, the Mathematical and Theoretical Biology Institute from Arizona State University and the University of California San Francisco Science & Health Education Partnership High School Internship Program.

— Kurt Chirbas