Luis Cedeño-Rosario, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Biological Sciences, has been selected as the Tony Quinn Inclusive Excellence awardee for 2021.
As with most award ceremonies taking place during the pandemic, the Louis Stokes Midwest Regional Center of Excellence annual conference in November was a virtual event. But his online presentation didn’t dampen Cedeño-Rosario’s enthusiasm to receive the award, which is named after the late UToledo researcher and professor Dr. Anthony Quinn, who is remembered for mentoring faculty and championing increased participation of underrepresented minority students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
Just as he has reached out to help and inspire younger students to pursue a degree in STEM fields, Cedeño-Rosario said mentors have made a difference in his own academic career.
The list includes Ms. Gilda Jimenez, his high school chemistry teacher who, he said, “showed me that science can be fun,” and Dr. Deborah Chadee, professor and associate chair in the Department of Biological Sciences, who is Cedeño-Rosario’s Ph.D. thesis advisor and mentor, as well as faculty at other universities: Dr. Ileana Rodriguez-Velez at the University of Puerto Rico at Humacao, and Dr. Richard Behringer at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.
“Having their support really made an impact in my academic and career goals, and seeing how passionate they all are about mentoring encouraged me to mentor other students,” Cedeño-Rosario said. “I believe that the support of a mentor is critical to achieving personal academic goals, and I want to support and be that mentor for the future generation of scientists from underrepresented groups.”
Chadee said Cedeño-Rosario’s “compassion, dedication, and commitment to helping others is inspiring,” and that she nominated him because “I believe that Luis truly embodies Dr. Quinn’s commitment, dedication and passion for mentoring and promoting the participation of underrepresented minorities in STEM.
“Luis works incredibly hard, and he is a leader and an inspiration to others,” Chadee said. “Giving back to the community and helping underrepresented minorities and underserved populations are integral components of Luis’s life, and he is fully committed to continuing his science outreach programs throughout his academic career.”
She added that Luis has made outstanding progress in his research and was invited to present his research at two national scientific conferences last year.