US Presidential Awards: An Outcomes Analysis

Steven Oppenheimer, Dominique Evans-Bye, Mindy Berman, Helen Chun, Alvalyn Lundgren, Terri Miller, Orenda Tuason


Around 99% of U.S. Presidential Awards for mentored student research in science go to college level mentors like Steve Oppenheimer. We have an opportunity here to describe the research and mentorship outcomes of two US Presidential Awardees. One is Steve and the other is a high school teacher, Dominique Evans-Bye, who also achieved a US Presidential Award for mentored student research in science. Dominique is one of only about two at the high school level, of hundreds in decades given at the college level. Because of the rarity of high school Presidential award winners, we show here what can be done at the high school level. And we show how vastly different, yet similar, university and high school programs can be. We believe that this paper is the only one ever to explore university and high school mentored student research in one place. We also review high school student research from the New Journal of Student Research Abstracts and show that it is sometimes every bit as good as university level research and should be considered an important part of the U.S. research effort. This may be the first time such a statement has been made. This review from our lab should help others understand what goes into a U.S. Presidential Award, the highest White House mentoring award in the nation, administered by the National Science Foundation. The important accomplishments of Dominique will help high school and middle school teachers enhance their student research programs if they choose to do so. Motivation is key.

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