Campus: CSU Los Angeles -- September 21, 2001

Biology Professor at Cal State L.A. Receives 2001 College Mentor Award

Pasadena resident Carlos Robles, professor of Biology and Microbiology at California State University, Los Angeles, was recently selected by SACNAS (Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science) to receive its 2001 Community College/Tribal College Mentor Award. The SACNAS awards are presented each year at the Society's national conference to recognize those who have dedicated themselves to science, education and mentoring. This year's awards ceremony will be held in Phoenix, Arizona, on Saturday, September 29, 2001.

Carlos Robles, an intertidal community ecologist, is the director of the newly-formed Center for Environmental Analysis (CEA-CREST) at Cal State L.A. The Center is the first of its kind funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) on the West Coast. CEA-CREST offers students exciting opportunities for focused and interdisciplinary research in the environmental sciences. Student Fellows participate in the center research teams, the interdisciplinary curriculum, and the university accredited internships with off-campus agencies. Robles also designed a "Bridges to the Ph.D. Program" to support CEA-CREST student fellows in doctoral programs in environmental science.

Robles' accomplishment as a mentor also extends into his individual research. Over the last three years he has mentored nine students, ranging from high school juniors to Ph.D. candidates. As director of CEA-CREST, he also assisted CEA-CREST faculty mentors as they placed graduating masters students, nearly all of whom were Hispanics or Native Americans, into Ph.D. programs at other research universities. Additionally, Robles received grants that supported innovative training in environmental research, including classroom exercises, special field experiences at remote field stations, and internships with government agencies concerned with the environment.

Roble joined the Cal State L.A. faculty in 1979 after receiving his Ph.D. from UC Berkeley, and was promoted to full professor in 1988. Since then, he has held several positions at Cal State L.A., including acting associate dean of graduate studies and research, and both associate and acting chair for the Department of Biology and Microbiology.

In a nomination letter, Cal State L.A. President James M. Rosser wrote: "Dr. Robles continues to find additional ways to expand his role as an effective mentor and to enhance educational opportunities for students currently underrepresented in the environmental sciences. A few months ago, he was awarded a major NSF grant for Undergraduate Mentoring in Environmental Biology (UMEB). Even more recently, he submitted a $7.5 million proposal to the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to fund a 'Coastal Environment Cooperative Science Center for the Southern California Region.' If awarded, half of the funds will go directly to support student fellowships with an emphasis on preparing underrepresented students for environmental science careers….Dr. Robles has excelled in the role of 'mentor-scholar.'"

For over 28 years, SACNAS has provided strong national leadership in improving science and math education, as well as expanding opportunities for minorities in the scientific workforce and academia. The SACNAS Annual National Conference and Teacher Workshops, summer research opportunities, E-mentoring program, and online internship/job placement resources are tools that help a diverse community of students, professors, administrators, and K-12 educators achieve expertise within their disciplines. The mission of SACNAS is to encourage Chicano/Latino and Native American students to pursue graduate education and obtain the advanced degrees necessary for research careers and science teaching professions at all levels.

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