Gary S. May, Ph.D., national advisor, lifetime member and former national chair of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), has been honored by President Barack Obama with the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM). Dr. May, dean of the College of Engineering at Georgia Tech, received news of the award on Friday, March 27, during his attendance at NSBE’s 41st Annual Convention, in Anaheim, Calif. He will receive the award during a White House ceremony later this year.

The Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring is given to individuals and organizations to recognize “the crucial role that mentoring plays in the academic and personal development of students studying science and engineering — particularly those who belong to groups that are underrepresented in these fields,” a White House news release stated. “By offering their expertise and encouragement, mentors help prepare the next generation of scientists and engineers while ensuring that tomorrow’s innovators represent a diverse pool of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics talent throughout the United States.”

“These educators are helping to cultivate America’s future scientists, engineers and mathematicians,” President Obama said. “They open new worlds to their students, and give them the encouragement they need to learn, discover and innovate. That’s transforming those students’ futures, and our nation’s future, too.”

“It is both ironic and very appropriate that this occurred while I am here at the NSBE convention among my dear friends, colleagues, and family,” said Dr. May. “NSBE is the place where I learned the importance of mentoring and the need to be a role model for the next generation of engineers."

Dr. May was one of 14 recipients of the award, which recognized their mentoring activities in 2012 and 2013. Each honoree will also receive a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation.

“This award to Dr. May proves the power of NSBE’s mission and how we carry it out,” said Sossena Wood, NSBE’s 2013–15 national chair. “Dr. May honed his leadership skills as a graduate student, and was mentored by older NSBE members, during his time as our organization’s top officer. Now he’s using what he learned to continue the cycle of success.”