Yale molecular, cellular and developmental biology professor Jo Handelsman received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineer Mentoring on Jan. 21. The award honors people and organizations who have contributed significantly to “mentoring efforts that enhance the participation of groups that are underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics,” according to the National Science Foundation’s website.

Handelsman was noted for advocating for increased participation by women and minorities in science and for reforms in science education.

“It is critical that we make these experiences productive and rewarding for both mentors and their students,” she said in a Yale Daily Bulletin press release. “If students are happy, they are more likely to enter careers in science. If mentors are happy, they are more likely to take on more student researchers, leading to more opportunities for undergraduates to engage in real science.”

Her work includes creating seminars that focus on training instructors to mentor diverse students in scientific research. The model institute she devised at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, for example, has been replicated at nearly 200 universities and colleges, the press release said.

Handelsman is editor-in-chief of the academic journal DNA and Cell Biology and author of books on scientific education, most notably Scientific Teaching. Ten other individuals and four organizations also received the award.