The SACNAS Distinguished Awards are presented each year at its national conference to honor those dedicated to fostering the success of Hispanic/Chicano and Native American scientists through their individual contributions to the field of science, teaching and mentoring of underrepresented minority students. The awardees will be acknowledged by SACNAS President Ernest Márquez on Thursday, Oct. 27, in San Jose, CA.
Gutiérrez said, “This award is really an institutional award: it recognizes the efforts of the many faculty members, staff and administrators who have helped create a strong mentoring environment at Cal State L.A. that has so effectively supported student success. In that spirit, I am honored to accept this award on behalf of the Cal State L.A. community. Yet, the heroes in this drama are the scores of students who have worked hard and burnt the midnight oil, and have succeeded beyond their dreams.”
In a nomination letter, CSULA’s President James M. Rosser wrote: “Dr. Gutiérrez has devoted his entire academic life to the enhancement of the educational success of students, particularly those underrepresented in the sciences. The determination he engenders in students, combined with his enthusiastic encouragement of their participation in the sciences, has inspired many to achieve beyond their own expectations. …His selection as the SACNAS Distinguished Undergraduate Institution Mentor Award recipient would be a well-deserved recognition of his unrelenting efforts, which have made a great difference in the lives of many.”
A President’s Distinguished Professor at CSULA, Gutiérrez has administered research and research training programs at the University for three decades, including the National Institutes of Health-Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC), and the Minority Biomedical Research Support-Research Internships in Science and Engineering (RISE) programs. In the past eight years alone, 55 CSULA MARC and RISE alumni completed the Ph.D. at top research universities nationwide and established research careers in academia and industry; 135 are currently in Ph.D. programs.
Gutiérrez, whose B.S. is from UCLA and Ph.D. from UC Davis, has served on the National Institute of General Medical Sciences National Advisory Council; the National Research Council Board on Higher Education Workforce; the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Committee on Opportunities in Science; and the California Council on Science and Technology (CCST).
A CSULA faculty member since 1976, Gutiérrez’s research straddles the interface between organic, inorganic and biological chemistry, and focuses on studying the molecular processes of iron acquisition and transport in bacteria. He has published numerous articles, all with student coauthors.
In great part through his effort, the American Chemical Society (ACS) established the Committee on Minority Affairs in 1993, with Gutiérrez as its first chair. During his tenure as chair, the Society also established the ACS Scholars Program, a $15 million scholarship program for undergraduates, and the ACS Award for Encouraging Disadvantaged Students to Pursue Careers in Chemical Sciences. Gutiérrez helped establish the ACS Scholars Program in 1995, and has since been active on its behalf. This scholarship program has supported the career development of more than 2,500 undergraduates nationwide.
Gutiérrez is a dedicated chemistry educator whose teaching has been acknowledged by the University’s Outstanding Professor Award; the Distinguished Scholar Award from the CSULA chapter of the national honor society Phi Kappa Phi; the CSULA Hispanic Support Network Outstanding Educator Award; and the Cal State L.A. Associated Students, Inc. Outstanding Faculty Award. He also received the 2000 systemwide CSU Wang Family Excellence-Outstanding Faculty Award. The students of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry selected him as the 2005 Outstanding Professor of Chemistry. He is recipient of the 2005 Education Award, presented by the Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Award Corporation. He was named by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education as its 2005 U.S. Professor of the Year at a Master’s University.
In 1996, Gutiérrez was among the first individuals named by the President of the United States to receive the then-newly-established annual Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring. Additionally, he has received a 1999 Scholar-Fellow award from the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation; the 2000 Quality Education for Minorities in Mathematics, Science and Engineering Network’s Giants in Science Award; the 2001 ACS Award for Encouraging Disadvantaged Students into Careers in the Chemical Sciences; and the 2003 AAAS Lifetime Mentor Award.
In 2002, he was elected as an AAAS Fellow, and was elected as a CCST Senior Fellow in 2009. He also received an award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for the educational film, “Antimatter.”
He was listed by Los Angeles Magazine’s as one of the 100 Most Influential Angelenos in 2006. In 2006 and again in 2008, he was named by the Hispanic Business Magazine to its list of 100 Most Influential Hispanics in the United States.
Since the SACNAS Distinguished Awards program was initiated in 1997, the society has honored 54 scientists, educators, and program directors for their commitment to and personification of the spirit of the SACNAS mission. For a listing of awardees: http://sacnas.org/
SACNAS is a society of scientists dedicated to fostering the success of Hispanic/Chicano and Native American scientists—from college students to professionals—
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