NEW MEXICO (KRQE) –The Paesmem Award is considered the highest honor in the nation for science mentors. This year, two recipients of this presidential award have ties to New Mexico.
New Mexico native Marie Mora is one of a dozen people nationwide this year to receive the White House’s Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Math and Engineering Mentoring. Mora is an economics professor at the University of Missouri in St. Louis. She also says Albuquerque’s diverse culture combined with her experiences as a Hispanic woman in academia outside of New Mexico drove her to help underrepresented minorities in STEM careers.
“One of the things we’ve tried to emphasize throughout a lot of the programs I’ve led or been involved with is that people are not alone,” said Mora.
Mora is not the only mentor with New Mexico ties to get this presidential recognition.
Angela Wandinger-Ness is a biochemist at the University of New Mexico Cancer Center. She also started a program for graduate and high school scholars, especially Native Americans, to get lab experience.
Although honored to win the prestigious presidential award, she says it means much more to have helped the community. “What’s more important is that the trainees I have helped and mentored along the way provide very important support,” said Wandinger-Ness.
Both women say they were honored in an online ceremony and have an open invitation to the White House once the pandemic subsides.