Dr. Rita R. Colwell
NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION
Presidential Awards For Excellence In Science, Mathematics
& Engineering Mentoring
The White House
September 10, 1998
Good afternoon, and thank you Congressman Brown. It
is an immense pleasure to join the President and my
colleagues in welcoming you to this, the third Annual
Awards Ceremony for Excellence in Science, Mathematics,
and Engineering Mentoring.
Our gathering here has special meaning to me personally.
I owe much of what I have achieved as a scientist
and educator to those individuals who guided me, counseled
me, and gave me the confidence necessary to succeed
in science and in life.
Of course, I even owe my achievements to those who
refused to provide guidance. In fact, one particular
department chair told me..."We don't waste fellowships
on women." Talk about inspiration! Fortunately, my
undergraduate advisor, a geneticist, Professor Alan
Burdick, held no such views. Upon hearing of my plight,
he offered me a research fellowship in his laboratory
where I learned all about the genetics of Drosophila,
the famous fruit fly whose genomic sequence is now
being determined in laboratories in the U.S.
As a society, we cannot separate our goal of being
a leading economic competitor from our duty and responsibility
to cultivate a truly diverse science and engineering
workforce. That is why the National Science Foundation
is so pleased to recognize and support excellence
That is also why it gives me such great pleasure to
introduce President Clinton today. Improving education
at all levels has been a hallmark of the President's
Throughout his entire career in public service, Bill
Clinton's name has been synonymous with always advancing
the cause of education and learning.
Please join me in welcoming the President of the United