Logo: University of Southern California

John Slaughter Announced as a Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Math and Engineering Mentor

The announcement of a select 15 awardees celebrates his development of numerous mentoring programs to boost minority participation in STEM
By: Joseph Peters
March 30, 2015 —

The White House announced March 27 that USC Rossier and USC Viterbi Professor John Brooks Slaughter is one of 15 recipients of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM).

The awards, administered by the National Science Foundation, recognize exceptional mentorship efforts in science and engineering, particularly those that provide support for members of underrepresented groups. Slaughter was cited for developing “numerous programs, at both the national and university level, to boost minority participation in STEM.”

“I have been privileged to work with many bright young people who have inspired me with their energy, aspirations and dedication,” remarked Slaughter. “I have received more from them than I have given.”

From his early days as an electrical engineer, Slaughter’s career has been distinguished by the intersection of his achievements in education and engineering. He became the first African-American director of the NSF in 1980, and subsequently served as chancellor of the University of Maryland and then president of Occidental College. He currently holds joint appointments at USC Rossier and the USC Viterbi School of Engineering.

"John Slaughter is a visionary pioneer of mentoring in engineering and the STEM field in general. He is also an outstanding role model for all engineering students and professionals, particularly for African American and under-represented minorities. We are fortunate to have him at USC and treasure his advice and service," said USC Viterbi Dean Yannis C. Yortsos

“Dr. Slaughter has long been a role model to so many of us in the USC Rossier School of Education, where mentorship is critical to the teacher-student relationship,” said USC Rossier Dean Karen Symms Gallagher. “In a career that has been rich in well-deserved plaudits, Dr. Slaughter’s newest award captures the two things at the center of his remarkable career—a love for science and a commitment to nurture that passion in a diverse and always expanding group of students.”

Slaughter and his fellow honorees will each receive a monetary award of $10,000 from the NSF and formal recognition at a White House ceremony later this year.