Kenneth S. Sajwan, Ph.D., professor and coordinator of the Environmental Science Program at Savannah State University, has been named by the White House and President Barack Obama as one of 22 individuals and organizations to receive the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM).
“There is no higher calling than furthering the educational advancement of our nation’s young people and encouraging and inspiring our next generation of leaders,” President Obama said in release. “These awards represent a heartfelt salute of appreciation to a remarkable group of individuals who have devoted their lives and careers to helping others and in doing so have helped us all.”
Presented each year since 1996, the mentoring award recognizes individuals and organizations that have demonstrated a commitment to mentoring students and increasing the participation of minorities, women and disabled students in science, mathematics and engineering. The awards were created to rec ognize the critical importance of mentors in the academic and personal development of students and colleagues who are underrepresented in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
Candidates for the Presidential Mentoring Award are nominated by colleagues, administrators and students from their home institutions.
In addition to being honored at the White House in the fall, recipients receive awards of $10,000 each from the National Science Foundation to advance their mentoring efforts.
“I am honored to receive the award,” Sajwan said. “It is gratifying to know I can be of some use and be part of the future success of students.” Sajwan plans to use his monetary award on a student research intern program.
Nationally recognized for his research in the area of the biogeochemistry of trace elements, Sajwan’s work has been included in more than 100 publications.
He was elected as a Fellow of the American Society of Agronomy in 2005, Fellow of the Soil Science Society of America in 2007 and the Georgia Governor’s Teaching Fellow earlier this year.
He is an effective grant writer and has written over $5 million in funded grants since 1998.
He received a bachelor of science degree in agriculture and animal husbandry from G. B. Pant University Agriculture and Technology. Sajwan has two master’s degrees: one in agronomy and environmental quality from Jawaharlal Nehru Agricultural University in India and in public health from Armstrong Atlantic State University. He holds doctoral degrees from Indian Institute of Technology and Colorado State University.