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2004 Mentor Award Recipient

2004 Award Recipients

AAAS Mentor Award


Jagannathan Sankar

Jagannathan Sankar, Professor of Mechanical and Chemical Engineering and the Director of the Center for Advanced Materials and Smart Structures (CAMSS) and the Center for Nanoscience and Nanomaterials at North Carolina A&T State University, received the 2004 AAAS Mentor Award. Sankar, who earned his Ph.D. in Materials Engineering from Lehigh University in Pennsylvania, was recognized for facilitating or mentoring 46 Ph.D. students, including 22 underrepresented minorities.

Sankar, winner of the 2004 AAAS Mentor Award, “has applied his unbridled enthusiasm, sacrifice and unbounded energy over the past 21 years in developing a high-profile advanced materials research and education program at North Carolina A&T State University,” Yolanda S. George of AAAS reported. “This was an uphill task, given that he had to start from an almost non-existent materials research infrastructure.”

After establishing the National Science Foundation-funded, multi-million dollar Center for Advanced Materials and Smart Structures (CAMSS), with a sub-center at North Carolina State University in 1997, Sankar then established the Army Center for Nanoscience and Nanomaterials in 2003. A year later, he set up the Center for Multifunctional Materials for Homeland Security for the Navy.

At the same time, George said, “His programs have become a home in the truest sense for the nurturing of high-potential African-American and other underrepresented minority doctoral students.” James C. Renick, Chancellor of North Carolina A&T State, said that Sankar “has a phenomenal record of assisting his students in their efforts to present and publish their work.”

Sankar’s current and former students, like Cynthia Waters, Ph.D., describe him as “a highly energetic person” who inspires everyone around him. William Nelson Martin Jr., Ph.D., said that Sankar helps students imagine a better future. “At my previous school, I was always reminded that I was an African-American from the inner city,” Martin said. “Dr. Sankar did not make me feel uncomfortable. He just made sure that I knew what I had to do.”

The AAAS Mentor Award honors members of the Association who have mentored and guided significant numbers of underrepresented students to earn a Ph.D. in the sciences, as well as scholarship, activism, and community-building on behalf of underrepresented groups, including women of all racial or ethnic groups; African American, Native American, and Hispanic men; and people with disabilities. This award is directed towards individuals in the early or mid-career stage who have mentored students for less than 25 years. The recipient receives $5,000 and a commemorative plaque.

Please click here for a list of past recipients.