By Kathy Chouteau
Dominique Carias, a Richmond resident and Pinole Valley High School junior, is among a group of students participating in California Academy of Sciences’ Careers In Science Intern Program to have been honored with the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM).
The Careers in Science program will be recognized with a citation signed by President Joe Biden, plus a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The group was recognized on Fri., Feb. 11 during a live streamed virtual announcement.
The California Academy of Sciences said in a statement that the award honors teachers and mentors’ dedication and hard work, as well as the “important role they play in supporting learners who will be future STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) professionals.”
The academy added that its Careers in Science Intern Program is a long-term paid science internship and youth-development program for public high school students from communities underrepresented in the sciences that offers them “transformative and meaningful STEM-based learning and workforce development experiences.”
Throughout its 25-year history, the Careers in Science Intern Program has made a significant impact on its participants: 95 percent of its alumni have earned a college degree; of those, 70 percent earn a degree in STEM and thus are four times more likely than the national average to earn a STEM degree; and 71 percent of alumni have gone on to work in STEM, per the academy.
Carias is the oldest of three children in a family that came to the U.S. from Honduras, according to spokesperson Donna Glass. While her father works as a delivery driver and her mother as an accountant, Carias aims to be the first person in her family to attend college. She hopes to attend UC Davis and go into pre-med.
President Biden remarked that he is “deeply appreciative of the inspiration that America’s teachers and mentors provide every day to support the next generation of STEM professionals,” noting that their work “plays a huge role in American innovation and competitiveness.”
He went on to add that the work that teachers and mentors do “ensures that our nation’s children are able to unlock—for themselves and all of us–a world of possibilities.”