Today the Obama Administration recognized 13 people with the Presidential Citizens Medal, meant to acknowledge “exemplary deeds of service for their country or their fellow citizens.” It’s the second highest civilian recognition, behind the Presidential Medal of Freedom. One of this year’s recipients is Roberta Diaz Brinton, director of the Science, Technology and Research program (STAR) at the University of Southern California (H/T ScienceInsider). The STAR program helps juniors and seniors in East and Central Los Angeles high schools find research experiences in USC labs as part of their Brinton is also tenured faculty in neuroscience, where her lab conducts research on neurodegenerative disease and cognitive function.
It’s a well deserved award. This may draw more attention to programs like STAR in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. At a minimum, it highlights a lack of recognition available for the other university faculty that manage to advance their own work while conducting valuable outreach and support to their communities.