Society for Science & the Public Announces 31 New Mentors of the Advocate Grant Program

31 Advocates have been selected to mentor underserved students around the country

Washington D.C. May 16, 2016 — The Society for Science & the Public announces its 2016-2017 Advocate Grant Program recipients. Thirty-one Advocates will receive a stipend of $3,000 to guide 3-5 underrepresented students in conducting a scientific or engineering research project and completing applications for scientific competitions. The Society received 240 applications from 45 states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico.

The Advocates for the 2016-2017 year include:

  • Lauren Allgood, in Nashville, Tennessee
  • Oluwatoyin Asojo, in Houston, Texas
  • Scott Bolen, in Conyers, Georgia
  • Dolores Caffey-Fleming, in Los Angeles, California
  • Carrie Cao, in San Francisco, California
  • Charlene Chan, in Queens, New York
  • Sarah Connelly, in Saint Paul, Minnesota
  • Deanna Cusick, in Aurora, Colorado
  • Alexa Dantzler, in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Sakinah Ellickson, in Iowa City, Iowa
  • Antonio Gamboa, in Pomona, California
  • Shari Harrison, in Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Bonnie Lasorsa, in Wareham, Massachusetts
  • Priscilla Lumbreras, in La Joya, Texas
  • Sheila Marquez, in Tucson, Arizona
  • Douglas Masterson, in Hattiesburg, Mississippi
  • Patricia Monteith, in Boston, Massachusetts
  • Lynne Muhammad, in Chicago, Illinois
  • Kelly Norton Pipes, in Wilkesboro, North Carolina
  • Jennifer O’Connor, in Ethete, Wyoming
  • Deanna Pick, in Fort Pierce, Florida
  • Andrew Pineda, in Whiteriver, Arizona
  • Elizabeth Proctor, in Monticello, Georgia
  • Anne Rammelsberg, in Decatur, Illinois
  • Lisa Ranney, in Lafayette, Louisiana
  • Cheri Reznicek, in Maryville, Tennessee
  • Karl Sandeman, in Brooklyn, New York
  • Thomas Schmedake, in Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Russ Stukel, in Denton, Texas
  • Laura Tenorio, in Taos, New Mexico
  • Freda Vine, in Las Vegas, Nevada

The Advocate Grant Program is designed to provide support to underrepresented and underserved challenged students across the U.S. who have conducted scientific or engineering research projects, and encourage them to submit their research to a scientific research competition. These competitions may include, but are not limited to, the Society’s three programs: the Science Talent Search, Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF), or  Broadcom MASTERS. This Program aims to increase outreach to underserved communities and diversity within science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) competitions. The Program provides Advocates with a cohort to share ideas and direct access to the experienced staff at the Society, who are also knowledgeable about the Society’s competitions and other national competitions.

“The Society is thrilled that our Advocate Grant Program is growing and will reach so many more students this year,” said Maya Ajmera, CEO of the Society for Science & the Public. “I think Mark Vondracek, one of our 2015-2016 Advocates said it best when he told us that ‘in science research, as in any field of study, diversity in thought, experience, and background is vital when trying to solve the most complex problems.’ Bringing that diversity to the next generation of science leaders is what the Advocate Grants are all about.”

Engaging underrepresented students and diversifying the pool of participants in STEM competitions leads to more career scientists from low-income populations. When students complete the application process to enter a science competition, it instills confidence in their scientific abilities, provides experience writing a research paper and offers a stage to present their work to peers, scientists and the public.

The Advocate Grant is sponsored by the Alcoa Foundation, the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, and the Society for Science & the Public.

About the Society
Society for Science & the Public is one of the nation’s oldest non-profit membership organizations dedicated to public engagement in science and science education. Established in 1921, the Society is a leading advocate for the understanding and appreciation of science and the vital role it plays in human advancement. Through its acclaimed education competitions, including the Intel Science Talent Search, the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, and the Broadcom MASTERS, and its award-winning publications, Science News and Science News for Students, the Society is committed to inform, educate, and inspire. The Society reaches more than 15 million people online each year, has more than four million followers across its social media channels, and recognizes more than 50,000 alumni of its competitions. The Society is supported each year by about 90,000 subscribing members and donors as well as by leading corporations, foundations, and other institutions. For more information about the Society and its work, please visit or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

About Alcoa Foundation
Alcoa Foundation is one of the largest corporate foundations in the U.S., with assets of approximately $480 million. Founded 64 years ago, Alcoa Foundation has invested more than $635 million in communities worldwide. In 2015, Alcoa Foundation contributed more than $22 million to nonprofit organizations throughout the world, building innovative partnerships to improve the environment and educate tomorrow’s leaders for careers in manufacturing and engineering. The work of Alcoa Foundation is further enhanced by Alcoa’s thousands of employee volunteers who share their talents and time to make a difference in the communities where Alcoa operates. Through the Company’s signature Month of Service program, in 2015, 47 percent of Alcoa employees took part in 1,000 events across 24 countries, benefiting more than 300,000 people and 400 nonprofit organizations. For more information, visit and follow us on Twitter @AlcoaFoundation.

About Jack Kent Cooke Foundation
The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation is dedicated to advancing the education of exceptionally promising students who have financial need. It offers the largest scholarships in the U.S., comprehensive counseling and other support services to students from 8th grade to graduate school. Since 2000 it has awarded about $147 million in scholarships to more than 2,000 students and $90 million in grants to organizations that serve outstanding low-income students.