Campus: CSU Los Angeles -- January 12, 2004

Cal State L.A. Chemistry Professor Garners Lifetime Mentor Award

California State University, Los Angeles’ chemistry professor Carlos G. Gutiérrez has been selected by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) as the 2003 recipient of the prestigious Lifetime Mentor Award. The award recognizes Gutiérrez’ “substantial contributions in mentoring students from underrepresented groups” and “leadership in promoting Ph.D. careers for underrepresented groups in chemistry and the biosciences.” Gutiérrez will be honored on Sunday, February 15, 2004, at the AAAS annual meeting in Seattle, Washington.

Established by the AAAS Board of Directors in 1991, this award recognizes individuals “who have mentored or guided significant numbers of underrepresented students to the completion of doctoral studies; and significantly impacted the climate of a department, college or institution, or field in such a manner as to significantly increase the diversity of students pursuing and completing a doctorate in the sciences.”

Additionally, demonstrated scholarship, activism and community building are considered for the Lifetime Mentor category. Nominees must have more than 25 years of mentoring experience. The award consists of a commemorative plaque and a prize of $5,000.

In his 27 years at Cal State L.A., Professor Gutiérrez has mentored more than 200 students through National Institutes of Health-funded programs or as a faculty participant in other projects such as the National Science Foundation-sponsored Research Improvement in Minority Institutions and Research Experiences for Undergraduates programs. Gutiérrez is currently serving as director of Cal State L.A.’s NIH (National Institutes of Health) Minority Access to Research Careers and Minority Biomedical Research Support programs. He is also the faculty coordinator and mentor for the Beckman Scholars program at Cal State L.A.

Gutiérrez, whose Ph.D. is from UC Davis, has served on and chaired various NIH committees, subcommittees and the NIGMS Council, and is a member of the National Research Council Board on Higher Education Workforce and the AAAS Committee on Opportunities in Science.

Gutiérrez’ research straddles the interface between organic, inorganic and biological chemistry and focuses on iron acquisition and transport in bacteria. He has published numerous articles, all with student coauthors. In great part through his effort, the American Chemical Society (ACS) established the Committee on Minority Affairs in 1993, with Gutiérrez serving as its first chair. During his tenure as chair, the Society also established the ACS Minority Scholars Program, a $5 million scholarship program for undergraduates, and the ACS Award for Encouraging Disadvantaged Students to Pursue Careers in Chemical Sciences. Gutiérrez helped to establish the ACS Scholars Program in 1995, and has been active on its behalf since its inception. This scholarship program has supported the career development of more than 1,100 undergraduates.

As vice-chair of the National Academy of Science Committee on a National Scholars Program, under contract to NASA, Gutiérrez has articulated persuasively the responsibility of all faculty—but especially science faculty—to seek out talented minority students and encourage their academic development very early in their undergraduate careers.

In 1996, Gutiérrez was among the first individuals named by the President of the United States to receive the then-newly-established annual Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring. The honor was conferred at a White House ceremony. Additionally, he has received a 1999 Scholar-Fellow award from the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation; the Quality Education for Minorities in Mathematics, Science and Engineering (QEM/MSE) Network’s Year 2000 MSE Giants in Science Award; and the 2001 American Chemical Society Award for Encouraging Disadvantaged Students into Careers in the Chemical Sciences. He was one of four CSU faculty members selected for the $20,000 systemwide CSU Wang Family Excellence Award in 2000. In 2002, he was inducted as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He also received an award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for the educational film, Antimatter. His campus honors include the President’s Distinguished Professor Award; the University’s Outstanding Professor Award; the Distinguished Scholar Award from the Cal State L.A. chapter of the national honor society Phi Kappa Phi; the Cal State L.A. Hispanic Support Network Outstanding Educator Award; and the Cal State L.A. Associated Students, Inc.’s Outstanding Faculty Award.

Gutiérrez, a Monrovia, CA resident, is married to CSULA Chemistry Professor Linda M. Tunstad and is father of daughters, Naomi Gabriela and Carolina Aurora.

Founded in 1848, The American Association for the Advancement of Science represents the world’s largest federation of scientists and works to advance science for human well-being through its projects, programs, and publications. With more than 138,000 members and 275 affiliated societies, AAAS conducts many programs in the areas of science policy, science education and international scientific cooperation. AAAS publishes the prestigious peer-reviewed journal, Science, as well as a number of electronic features on the World Wide Web.

Contact: Carol Selkin, Media Relations Director, (323) 343-3044

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