Fall 2013 Newsletter

Steve Sulkin Honored with Diversity Achievement Award

Each year, President Shepard presents the Diversity Achievement Award to an individual or group whose distinguished efforts have enhanced diversity and multicultural understanding at Western.  Steve Sulkin, who served as Director of the Shannon Point Marine Center (SPMC) for 28 years before retiring this past summer, is the recipient of the 2013 Diversity Achievement Award.

The Award recognizes Steve’s longstanding efforts to engage racially and ethnically diverse students with the prospect of pursuing careers in the marine sciences.  In 1985, during his first year at Western, Steve developed the Minorities in Marine Science Undergraduate Program (MIMSUP) through an unsolicited proposal to the National Science Foundation (NSF).  Since the initial funding, NSF has renewed the MIMSUP grant four additional times, each for five years.

Through MIMSUP, African American, Alaska Native, Latino/Hispanic, Native American, and Pacific Islander undergraduate students receive intensive training and pursue supervised research at Western and SPMC.  In addition to publishing papers and presenting, MIMSUP participants also teach marine science in local elementary schools, giving young students the opportunity to learn science from diverse role models.  To date, 60% of program alumni have gone on to earn advanced degrees, including 16% who have pursued doctorate degrees and are now working as post-doctoral fellows, federal agency employees, and university faculty.

At SPMC, for 23 years Steve also secured funding for and administered an NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates program.  In addition to proactively reaching out to a diverse group of undergraduate students to do research with SPMC faculty and staff, Steve personally advised the research of numerous students from underrepresented groups.

In 2002, Steve was invited to the White House in recognition of his success to receive a Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring.  SPMC and Western’s reputation as a national leader in recruiting and retaining diverse marine science students is rooted in Steve’s work.

Steve’s commitment to supporting diverse scientists has had a lasting impact on student participants in SPMC’s MIMSUP and Research Experience for Undergraduates programs, as well as the Western students, faculty and staff who have experienced the rich cultural and educational diversity produced by Steve’s programs.  Congratulations to Steve for being recognized with the Diversity Achievement Award, and thank you for your years of inclusive leadership at Western!

Page Updated 11.25.2013