AAAS Mentor Award for Lifetime Achievement
2009 Award Recipients
Diola Bagayoko is honored for his extraordinary efforts to significantly increase the number of African American Ph.D.s in physics and chemistry.
The AAAS Mentor Award for Lifetime Achievement, established in 1991, honors AAAS members who have mentored significant numbers of students from underrepresented groups or who have changed the climate of a department, college, institution or field to significantly increase the diversity of students pursuing and completing doctoral studies in the sciences. This award is directed toward individuals with more than 25 years of success in mentoring students. The recipient receives $5,000 and a commemorative plaque.
Dr. Diola Bagayoko, who currently serves as Southern University System Distinguished Professor of Physics and Chair of the Department of Physics at the Southern University at Baton Rouge (SUBR), is credited with the creation and expansion of the Timbuktu Academy based at SUBR, a resource center for encouraging students to pursue Ph.D.s across a wide range of science, technology, engineering, and math fields and academic levels.
Based upon experience gained through years of mentoring, Dr. Bagayoko established the academy, a unique program designed to reach pre-college and undergraduate students in science and related fields. The Timbuktu Academy now receives funding from the Department of the Navy, Office of Naval Research; the National Science Foundation; and the ExxonMobil and Siemens Foundations. Dr. Bagayoko is also well-known for his ability to reach undergraduate students on a personal level and his efforts to promote the advancement of education and research.
Dr. Bagayoko received degrees from Ecole Normale Supérieure (ENSup) in Bamako, Mali and Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA. He earned his Ph.D. in theoretical solid state physics from Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge. He has worked in schools and universities both in the United States and abroad teaching courses in introductory physics; mathematical physics; and classical, relativistic, and quantum mechanics.
He has authored more than 80 mostly technical, refereed publications that deal with condensed matter theory (electronic, cohesive, magnetic, optical, and other properties of metals, semiconductors, oxides, clusters, and carbon nanotubes) as well as over 50 publications that deal with teaching, mentoring, and learning.
In 1996, Dr. Bagayoko became one of the first recipients of the U.S. Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring.