AAAS Mentor Award for Lifetime Achievement
2011 Award Recipients
A nationally regarded research chemist and a Professor of Environmental Toxicology, Bobby Wilson excels at inspiring and encouraging his students to achieve at the very highest levels. He has mentored 19 U.S. students from underrepresented groups toward Ph.D.s in science, technology, engineering, and math fields, including eight African American men and 11 African American women. In fact, of the 24 African American students across the nation to receive doctoral degrees in disciplines linked to environmental engineering technologies between 2000 and 2009, nine—more than a third—were Dr. Wilson’s students. Dr. Wilson has been recognized for the significant impact he has had on students, faculty, programs, institutions, and communities; for being “a scholar, mentor, leader, and a trailblazer;” and for his educational philosophy, which is based on his belief that a quality education is not only about providing students with information, but also leading them toward personal growth.
Over the years, Dr. Wilson has served as a program director for institutional support programs at the National Science Foundation (NSF), and he has built new programs in healthcare administration, computer science, urban planning, and environmental policy as well as pharmaceutical sciences. His activities have included service as an external evaluator for two major NSF programs in the Houston area: the Houston Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation and the Texas Southern University Historically Black Colleges and Universities Undergraduate Program.
Dr. Wilson received his Bachelor of Science in chemistry from Alabama State University, Master of Science in chemistry from Southern University, and his Doctorate in chemistry from Michigan State University in 1976. His many honors include being named Texas Southern University Researcher of the Year in 1988 and receiving the first White House Initiative Faculty Award for Excellence in Science and Technology in 1988. He has also received an Outstanding Teacher Award from his institution. He is a Fellow of the American Chemical Society, the American Institute of Chemists, the Texas Academy of Science, and the American Scientific Institute. He is also an active member of many professional organizations, including the Beta Kappa Chi Honor Society and the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE). He served as Regional Chairman of NOBCChE from 1978 until 1996, and he is now Chairman of its Executive Board.
The AAAS Mentor Award for Lifetime Achievement, established in 1991, honors AAAS members who have mentored significant numbers of students from under- represented 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.