SACNAS Members Honored by White House as Exceptional Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentors

This week 27 individuals and 14 organizations were recipients of the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM). Of those recipients, nine are SACNAS members, including Dr. Erika Camacho, a member of the SACNAS Board of Directors.

PAESMEM recognizes outstanding efforts of mentors in encouraging the next generation of innovators and developing a science and engineering workforce that reflects the diverse talent of America. A selection committee of leading scientists, mathematicians, education researchers, and educators review nominations. Recommendations are sent to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy for final selection. Awardees receive $10,000 from the National Science Foundation.

SACNAS Members recognized with this year’s PAESMEM award

Name Institution
Alice Agogino University of California, Berkeley
Erika Camacho Arizona State University
Ann L. Chester West Virginia University
Gillian R. Knapp Princeton University
Zaida Morales-Martinez Florida International University
Daniel T. Schwartz University of Washington
Elba E. Serrano New Mexico State University
Elena Bautista Sparrow University of Alaska-Fairbanks
Keivan Stassun Vanderbilt University

Camacho and her fellow eight SACNAS colleagues join a community of  20 other SACNAS members who have been awarded the PAESEM. Additionally, SACNAS itself was an organizational awardee in 2004.

“This is the highest award of its kind given in our nation and words cannot express my excitement and gratitude for my mentors who believed in me even when I did not believe in myself,” said PAESMEM recipient Dr. Erika Camacho. “Thank you to my mentees who allowed me to be part of their journey, and everyone else who has taken part in my incredible journey from the ghettos of East Los Angeles and South Central to a top tier undergraduate education at Wellesley College, an Ivy League graduate education at Cornell University, a postdoctoral position at Los Alamos National Laboratories, and finally, joining the academic ranks as a faculty member. My mentors and mentees have provided the necessary opportunities and resources for me to develop as a scientist and be competitive.”

Dr. Lino Gonzalez, SACNAS Board President said, “Mentoring is embedded deep in the heart of SACNAS and reflected in our programs and organizational culture. Thus, it makes perfect sense that many of our members have been recognized with the PAESMEM award.”

Learn more and view all awardees.


For more than 45 years, SACNAS has served as an inclusive organization dedicated to fostering the success of Chicano/Hispanics & Native Americans, from college students to professionals, in attaining advanced degrees, careers, and positions of leadership within STEM.

Today, the organization serves nearly 6,000 members and has 115 student and professional chapters throughout the United States and Puerto Rico. SACNAS influences a larger STEM community of over 25,000 through outreach, advocacy, and production of the National Diversity in STEM Conference. Learn more about SACNAS at, Facebook, or Twitter.


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