CalTech Names Its New Mentoring Award to Honor Trustee Shirley Malcom

The California Institute of Technology has established the Shirley M. Malcom Prize for Excellence in Mentoring. The prize honors senior trustee Shirley Malcom’s long-standing commitment, via her personal mentorship, national leadership, and international advocacy, to make STEM education and access equitable for all. Dr. Malcom is senior advisor to the CEO and director of the SEA Change initiative at the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

All members of the Institute’s faculty are eligible for the $5,000 Malcom Prize, to be awarded annually to a professor who, through mentoring, supports the achievement and well-being of students. The prize is to be the Institute’s highest honor for faculty mentors.

Criteria include but are not limited to effective mentoring practices, such as offering regular feedback, guidance, and advice; providing access to academic and professional information, resources, and opportunities; and helping to ensure a safe, encouraging, and inclusive environment for all students.

“I am very excited that Caltech has chosen to recognize the importance of mentoring to success in science and engineering,” says Dr. Malcom. “I am humbled to have my name associated with this award. My own early education in poor, under-resourced schools in the segregated South did not prepare me for the culture of the sciences that I entered, and had it not been for mentors — faculty who believed in me and saw possibilities, staff who encouraged me, and advisors who nurtured my scholarly and professional growth — I would never have made it through.”

A native of Birmingham, Alabama, Dr. Malcom received a bachelor’s degree with distinction in zoology from the University of Washington. She holds a master’s degree in zoology from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a Ph.D. in ecology from Pennsylvania State University.

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