AAAS Mentor Awards


The 2019 Awards

The two categories of the AAAS Mentor Awards (Lifetime Mentor Award and Mentor Award) both honor individuals who during their careers demonstrate extraordinary leadership to increase the participation of underrepresented groups in science and engineering fields and careers. These groups include: women of all racial or ethnic groups; African American, Native American, and Hispanic men; and people with disabilities.

Both awards recognize an individual who has mentored and guided significant numbers of students from underrepresented groups to the completion of doctoral studies or who has impacted the climate of a department, college, or institution to significantly increase the diversity of students pursuing and completing doctoral studies. It is important to indicate in the nomination materials how the nominee’s work resulted in departmental and/or institutional change in terms of the granting of PhDs to underrepresented students. This can be documented not only with quantitative data, but may also be demonstrated through the student and colleague letters of support.

Such commitment and extraordinary effort may be demonstrated by:

  • the number and diversity of students mentored;
  • assisting students to present and publish their work, to find financial aid, and to provide career guidance;
  • providing psychological support, encouragement, and essential strategies for life in the scholarly community;
  • continued interest in the individual’s professional advancement.


Lifetime Mentor Award: A prize of $5,000 will be awarded. This individual will have served in the role of mentor for 25 or more years.

Mentor Award: A prize of $5,000 will be awarded. This individual will have served in the role of mentor for less than 25 years.

Both award category recipients receive: A monetary prize, a commemorative plaque, complimentary registration, and reimbursement for reasonable travel and hotel expenses to attend the AAAS Annual Meeting.


The award is open to all regardless of nationality or citizenship. Nominees must be living at the time of their nomination.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is committed to equal opportunity for all persons, without regard to race, color, religion, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, or other protected categories. AAAS seeks as diverse a pool of award nominations as possible, including as well a wide range of disciplines, institutional types, and geographical locations.

Nomination Procedures

  • Nominations may be submitted online at this link. If you prefer to submit your nomination via postal mail, please contact Ysabel Woody. In addition to the web form, complete nomination packages will include:
    • A Summary of Actions that form the basis for the nomination (about 250 words);
    • A Letter of Nomination that enumerates the ways in which the person reflects the purpose of this award, including scholarship, activism, and community building;
    • The candidate’s curriculum vitae (3-page maximum);
    • A list of students mentored with year PhD earned, institution and current employment. Please use the following templates:
    • A maximum of five supporting letters from students and three supporting letters from colleagues representative of the different spheres in which the candidate has demonstrated effort, results, and commitment. Letters of nominations for candidates who are not direct doctoral mentors must indicate how the nominee mentored graduate students before and during the graduate school years.
  • Nominations must be made in English.
  • Please note: Nominees can be nominated up to three times. If you are nominating someone who has been nominated for either award in the past, please indicate so in your Letter of Nomination.

All materials become the property of AAAS.

2018 Mentor Award Recipient

Dr. Keivan Stassunthe Stevenson Professor of Physics and Astronomy and senior associate dean for graduate education and research at Vanderbilt University’s College of Arts and Science, is honored for his work personally mentoring large numbers of underrepresented minority students and has built innovative mentoring models that bridge critical attrition points in the development of underrepresented minority physicists and astronomers.

2018 Lifetime Mentor Award Recipient

Dr. Linda Sealy, director of the Initiative for Maximizing Student Diversity at Vanderbilt University, is honored for her work in recruiting and mentoring underrepresented minority students involved in biomedical research at Vanderbilt University and dramatically shaping Vanderbilt’s significant strides in training minority Ph.D.’s.

You can read lists of past recipients of the Mentor Award and the Lifetime Mentor Award.


All materials must be received by August 1, 2018.

Each year, AAAS recognizes significant contributions to science and the public’s understanding of science. Learn more about these awards and nominate a scientist, engineer, author, journalist or public servant for their outstanding work.