U.S. Presidential Award for UMBC

Published: Mar 1, 2002

Outstanding Results by Any Measure

Michael Summers, professor of chemistry/biochemistry, works closely with undergraduates in his Howard Hughes Medical Institute laboratory.
Michael Summers, professor of chemistry/biochemistry, works closely with undergraduates in his Howard Hughes Medical Institute laboratory.

“U.S. Presidential Award for UMBC”
  

The usually casually dressed Michael Summers put on a suit and tie for the occasion–he was, after all, going to the White House to receive an award from the president of the United States.

Summers, UMBC professor of chemistry/biochemistry and Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, accepted the 2000 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring from President Clinton. He was one of 10 national recipients of the award. Administered and funded by the National Science Foundation, the award honors leadership in encouraging minorities, women, and people with disabilities to pursue careers in scientific, engineering, and technical fields.

Summers brings UMBC undergraduates into his research lab to work on unraveling the protein structure of the HIV virus, affording them real scientific research, and even publication experience. His guidance and encouragement of UMBC’s minority students interested in pursuing the sciences have proven pivotal in launching their careers: Summer’s recent UMBC grads have gone on to medical school and M.D./Ph.D. programs at Harvard, Yale, and the University of Pennsylvania.

This marks the second time in four years that the award has been brought home to UMBC–the university was honored for its institutional mentoring efforts in 1997. Summers brought back from the White House a commemorative presidential certificate, and a $10,000 grant. Well worth wearing a tie.  

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