Weekly Spotlight on Mathematics

Mathematics and Statistics Awareness Month - April 16, 2021

ESC-2 Math Awareness Effort

Mathematics is a beautiful, useful, and foundational field of study. As the world continues to advance technologically, the need for well-educated mathematicians is more important than ever before.

Join ESC Region 2 Service Center in observing Mathematics and Statistics Awareness Month, and help us promote appreciation for the field. For the month of April, we will be publishing a Weekly Spotlight on Mathematics to celebrate excellence in the field. Please share our flyer and enjoy!

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Texas is one of only 13 states with recipients in this award category, and 2020 recipient Professor John "Rob" Hatherill is from Del Mar College in Corpus Christi! He is one of two people representing Texas with the other recipient from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.

The award recognizes the critical role Hatherill played as “a mentor outside the traditional classroom setting in the academic and professional development of the future STEM workforce.”
As Del Mar Viking news reports, Dr. Hatherill's innovative approach to providing hands-on research experiences led Del Mar College to become one of the first community colleges accepted into the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Science Education Alliance Phage Hunters (SEA PHAGES) program. DMC students began conducting biotechnology laboratory work on campus as part of this pioneering research project for undergraduate students.

"Since beginning his tenure at Del Mar College, Dr. Hatherill has been passionate about helping students through new and creative methods of delivery of science education."

-Dr. Jonda Holcomb,

Interim Vice President and Chief Academic Officer Designee

About the Award

The Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM) recognize those who have made significant contributions to mentoring and thereby support the future productivity of the U.S. STEM workforce. The program was created to identify and recognize individuals and organizations that have contributed outstanding efforts in mentoring and have enhanced the participation of individuals (including persons with disabilities) who might not otherwise have considered or had access to opportunities in STEM disciplines and professions. The National Science Foundation (NSF) administers the awards program on behalf of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). OSTP selects both individuals and organizations to receive the honor. Each Presidential Awardee receives a certificate signed by the President of the United States and a $10,000 award from NSF. Awardees are honored at an award ceremony which takes place in Washington, D.C. You could be the next honoree!

Perks of Winning

Recipients of the award receive the following:

  • A certificate signed by the President of the United States
  • A paid trip to Washington, D.C., to attend a series of recognition events and professional development opportunities
  • A $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation
  • An opportunity to build lasting partnerships with colleagues across the nation

How to Win

Similar to the PAEMST Award that was spotlighted last week, the PAESMEM award process involves four stages:
  1. Nomination
  2. Application
  3. Selection
  4. Recognition


Nominations can be made by anyone. Nominations can be for individuals or organizations who have demonstrated exceptional mentoring in the STEM field.


Applicants will be invited to showcase how their mentoring activities go above and beyond to meet the needs and interests of the mentees.

Applications will be evaluated using the following Four Dimensions of Outstanding Mentoring:

  • Mentoring Philosophy and Strategies
  • Assessment and Outcomes
  • Reflective Practice
  • Leadership and Sustainability**


Applications are reviewed by a committee of outstanding scientists, mathematicians, engineers, STEM education researchers, STEM educators, and other STEM or STEM-related professionals. Committees make recommendations to NSF, then NSF formulates the awardee recommendations that are provided to the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy for final selection.


Recognition not only involves a $10,000 award from NSF, it also comes with a certificate signed by the President, a trip to DC, and other perks like professional development opportunities and discussions with policy-makers about how to improve STEM education.

Awardees are honored at an award ceremony in Washington, D.C. Highlights of the 2020 Award Ceremony can be found at the links below. .

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Don't skip this part.

Watch these short clips. You will get a nice glimpse of the prestige of the award and you will certainly enjoy the inspiring words! Enjoy...

It could be you!

Are you a U.S Citizen who is passionate about mentoring? Do you have at least five years of sustained, exceptional mentoring on individuals historically underrepresented in STEM? Then more than likely you qualify for the Award. The next $10,000 could be you!!

There is no fixed annual date for the award announcement or for scheduling the recognition ceremony. Subscribe to the ESC-2 GovDelivery notification system to receive updates and notices relating to the PAESMEM Award and ESC-2 Mathematics updates.

Questions about PAESMEM?

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Did you know...

The Origin of Mathematics and Statistic Awareness Month

Mathematics Awareness Month has evolved from what used to be Mathematics Awareness Week. In 1986, Mathematics Awareness Week began with a proclamation by President Ronald Reagan.

"Despite the increasing importance of mathematics to the progress of our economy and society, enrollment in mathematics programs has been declining at all levels of the American educational system. Yet the application of mathematics is indispensable in such diverse fields as medicine, computer sciences, space exploration, the skilled trades, business, defense, and government. To help encourage the study and utilization of mathematics, it is appropriate that all Americans be reminded of the importance of this basic branch of science to our daily lives."

- President Ronald Reagan

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ESC-2 Math & Science Team

Our team works to support math and science educators in Region 2 by providing a menu of services including professional development, planning support, and products to engage learners.

Let's get together soon!