President Barack Obama will honor 22 mentors and 80 educators across the country for their efforts to mentor minorities studying science and engineering at a White House reception today. Ben Flores, PhD, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), will be a recipient of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Technology, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring (STEM).
Flores was selected for the time, encouragement and expertise he has offered to thousands of students throughout the U.T. system since joining the UTEP staff in 1990. He leads several university and statewide programs that promote increasing minorities in the workplace with the hope that the next generation of scientists and engineers will better reflect the nation’s diversity.
The selection, which is made through the National Science Foundation, includes $10,000 the winners can use to pursue their mentoring efforts. Flores plans to use his money to develop a program where undergraduate math, science, and engineering majors will help teachers in the Canutillo Independent School District create projects to motivate students to go to college and consider scientific careers.
The professor said in a statement that mentoring engineers is crucial to help students hone their academic and professional skills and prepare them for the workforce. He lauded UTEP for the considerable investment it has made to create a social and academic support system for Hispanic science and engineering students.
Flores received his bachelor’s and master’s in electrical engineering in 1985 and 1986, respectively, from UTEP.