First-generation Mexican-American student at UC Santa Barbara accepts White House award

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Amigos8095.com

SANTA BARBARA — A UC Santa Barbara student studying ocean ecology accepted the 2010 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring from President Obama on Monday, Dec. 12, on behalf of Ocean Discovery Institute. This is the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government for efforts that advance those fields of education, UCSB reported in a media release.

Anai Novoa, a senior at UCSB in the College of Creative Studies, accepted the award at a White House ceremony. Ocean Discovery Institute is a San Diego-based nonprofit organization that promotes mentoring in science and engineering. The award highlights the crucial role that mentoring plays in the academic and personal development of students studying science and engineering — particularly those who belong to groups that are underrepresented in these fields.

Serving City Heights, a diverse and economically disadvantaged neighborhood in San Diego, Ocean Discovery Institute has, for the past 12 years, worked to empower youth from urban and diverse backgrounds to become future scientific leaders. Its programs, which are tuition-free, are designed to help young people work toward protecting oceans and the natural environment, as well as to improve the health of communities, and strengthen quality of life.

Novoa has been continuously involved with Ocean Discovery Institute since she was a freshman in high school. She is currently a research assistant to Craig Carlson, professor in the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology at UCSB.

“Anai has been a valuable member of my oceanographic research group,” said Carlson. “Not only has she made significant contributions to research at UCSB but she has also made a positive difference to the academic mission of the university through her important role as an undergraduate mentor. I have no doubt that Anai will continue to make a positive difference as she continues along her path to graduate studies.”

Novoa intends to pursue…

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