Senior Member Juan E. Gilbert and Fellow Karen Panetta are among nine recipients announced in November of U.S. President Barack Obama’s Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring. The award honors “outstanding mentoring efforts that enhance the participation and retention of individuals (including persons with disabilities, women, and minorities) who might not otherwise have considered or had access to opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).” Recipients received US $25 000 to advance their mentoring efforts.
Gilbert is a professor and chair of the Human-centered Computing Division in the School of Computing at Clemson University, in South Carolina. There he developed Applications Quest, a data-mining and software-analysis tool that helps university admissions officers address diversity and capacity in admissions while maintaining academic standards and adhering to U.S. equal-opportunity laws. He also helped develop the African-American Multiple Learning Styles system, a method that uses interactive games, gestures, sounds, and lyrics to teach mathematics lessons to minority preuniversity students.
Gilbert is also president of the Brothers of the Academy Institute, an organization that focuses on the promotion and tenure of minority faculty members. He is editor of the “Broadening Participation in Computing” column in IEEE Computer magazine and a member of the IEEE Computer Society.
Panetta is a professor of electrical and computing engineering at Tufts University, in Medford, Mass. She is director of the university’s Simulation Research Laboratory, where her research includes image and signal processing for security and medical applications.
Panetta is founder of Nerd Girls, an outreach program designed to attract female high school students to the fields of science, engineering, and mathematics. She is also editor in chief of IEEE’s Women in Engineering magazine.
Life Fellow Nick Holonyak Jr. was inducted into the Engineering and Science Hall of Fame. The organization, in Dayton, Ohio, honors engineers and scientists for “achievements that significantly enhance the quality of life for humanity.” Holonyak was recognized for inventing the LED and his extensive research in semiconductors.
He is a professor of electrical and computer engineering and physics at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, where he has been since 1963. His research focuses on methods for manufacturing quantum dot lasers.
He invented the LED in 1962 while a consultant at General Electric in Syracuse, N.Y. He also developed the red-light semiconductor laser diode that is the pivotal sensor in CD and DVD players as well as cellphones.