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Presidential Proclamation -- National Mentoring Month
NATIONAL MENTORING MONTH, 2016
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
At the heart of America's promise is the belief that we all do better when everyone has a fair shot at reaching for their dreams. Throughout our Nation's history, Americans of every background have worked to uphold this ideal, joining together in common purpose to serve as mentors and lift up our country's youth. During National Mentoring Month, we honor all those who continuously strive to provide young people with the resources and support they need and deserve, and we recommit to building a society in which all mentors and mentees can thrive in mutual learning relationships.
By sharing their own stories and offering guidance and advice, mentors can instill a sense of infinite possibility in the hearts and minds of their mentees, demonstrating that with hard work and passion, nothing is beyond their potential. Whether simply offering a compassionate ear or actively teaching and inspiring curiosity, mentors can play pivotal roles in young peoples' lives. When given a chance to use their talents and abilities to engage in their communities and contribute to our world, our Nation's youth rise to the challenge. They make significant impacts in their communities and shape a brighter future for coming generations.
My Administration is committed to fostering opportunities for mentorship -- because when our children have strong, positive role models to look up to, they grow up to be good neighbors and good fellow citizens. Through the My Brother's Keeper initiative, we are working with local governments, businesses, and charitable organizations across our country to connect more of our youth to effective mentoring programs and support networks to reinforce the fact that all young people are valued and to empower them with the skills they need to reach their full potential. We have achieved the highest high school graduation rate on record -- 82 percent -- and we remain focused on setting high standards that will help our students graduate ready for college and careers. In addition, we are supporting job-driven training initiatives like apprenticeships so our doers and dreamers can earn and learn at the same time. And through First Lady Michelle Obama's Reach Higher initiative, we are working to ensure every student has the opportunity to pursue their education and life goals.
Every young person can benefit from having a mentor, and all people carry unique ideas and experiences they can employ as a mentor. I encourage all Americans to visit www.Serve.gov/Mentor to learn more about opportunities to make a lasting difference in the lives of our youth. This month, let us pledge our support for our Nation's young people, and let us honor those who give of themselves to uplift our next generation. Working together, we can provide every child with the tools, guidance, and confidence they need to flourish and succeed.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim January 2016 as National Mentoring Month. I call upon public officials, business and community leaders, educators, and Americans across the country to observe this month with appropriate ceremonies, activities, and programs.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirty-first day of December, in the year of our Lord two thousand fifteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and fortieth.
Mentoring Tomorrow’s STEM Innovators
February 6, 2014 at 11:04 AM ET by Fae Jencks & Maria Zacharias
Last week, marking the close of National Mentoring Month in January, the National Science Foundation hosted a Google+ Hangout that convened past winners Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM)—bestowed by the President each year upon extraordinary Americans who are guiding and shaping the next generation of STEM innovators.
Barbara Deschamp considers herself one of the lucky ones. When asked what advice she would pass on to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) students looking for a mentor, she said: “I’m actually lucky because my mentor found me!” Barbara was mentored by one of a select cohort of past winners of a Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM)—bestowed by the President upon extraordinary Americans who are guiding and shaping the next generation of STEM innovators through mentorship.
Last week, marking the close of National Mentoring Month in January, the National Science Foundation (NSF) hosted a Google+ Hangout that convened past PAESMEM winners to share ideas and best practices for engaging students from underrepresented groups in STEM fields.
In addition to Barbara, who is a Ph.D. candidate in the Electrical and Computer Engineering program at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, and her mentor, Charles Thompson, the Hangout invited NSF and OSTP officials and other past PAESMEM winners to tell their own mentorship stories, including Frank Bayliss of San Francisco State University’s Department of Biology; Sheryl Burgstahler of the University of Washington’s College of Education; and Lesia Crumpton-Young from the University of Central Florida’s Department of Engineering.
These all-star STEM mentors discussed the experiences that shaped their careers, and how they are paying it forward by providing mentorship to their own students.
Frank Bayliss, for example, was the first in his family to attend college, let alone pursue a PhD. He likened his experience to “going into a jungle without a machete, without a compass, no water filter, no idea what I was doing and getting lost.” He then explained, “mentoring is kind of like being a guide,” and along with the other participants emphasized the necessity of mentorship in helping students, especially those from underrepresented communities, navigate the many steps and phases of pursuing a career in STEM fields. As NSF Assistant Director Joan Ferrini-Mundy—who leads the agency’s Education and Human Resources Directorate—pointed out, research in this area has provided evidence that mentoring is, in fact, a key part of keeping diverse students engaged.
The panelists also provided practical advice for future mentors, noting that the most effective mentors are more than just advisors –but also show personal interest in their students, guiding them through expected and unexpected challenges and helping them navigate toward degrees and careers that are the right fit. Good mentors provide guidance on a range of issues, from identifying a research topic, to developing a study plan, to finding internship opportunities. This kind of support can be invaluable to students who are the first in their families to attend college, students with disabilities, and students who may feel discouraged from pursuing STEM studies.
These mentors—who are at once teachers, guides, tutors, sounding boards, counselors, and role models—are critical to ensuring that the Nation’s students have the support they need to become tomorrow’s STEM innovators. That’s why President Obama has called on the U.S. Government’s 200,000 Federal scientists and engineers to volunteer as mentors and why he has encouraged new partnerships such as the US2020 initiative—which encourages tech companies and education nonprofits to mobilize 20 percent of their STEM employees to complete 20 hours of STEM mentoring per year, by the year 2020.
We applaud STEM mentors across the country who continue to answer the President’s call every day, by serving as role models for the next generation of scientists and engineers.
AT&T and Lucent Bell Laboratories celebrates the 30th anniversary of their sponsorship of Ph.D. fellowship programs for under-represented minorities and women in science and engineering on October 28, 2002. Over the past 30 years, 498 students have received support and mentoring from the AT&T Labs Research Fellowship Program (ALFP), and Lucent Cooperative Research Fellowship Program (CRFP) and Graduate Research Fellowship Program for Women (GRPW). The Ph.D. completion rate is 74%, with 86% of students completing at least a Master's degree, thus placing these programs among the premier graduate fellowship programs in the United States.
Our graduates hold top positions in industry and academia. Some are founders of companies while others hold executive positions. Approximately 30% of our graduates are professors, deans, and administrators at 70 universities throughout the States. These individuals continue sharing their knowledge and commitment to developing and mentoring students for the future. The breadth and scope of the positions held by the programs' graduates reflect the leadership roles they play across their professions.
The AT&T Labs were recognized and granted the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring, and the Women in Engineering Programs and Advocates Network ( WEPAN ) Breakthrough Award in 1998. The GRPW also received the Maria Mitchell Women in Science Award in 1999.
National mentor month
Mentoring Tomorrow's STEM Innovators NSF
Building a Network of Leaders: AT&T and Lucent Technologies