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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill researcher and innovator, Joseph M. DeSimone , PhD, has received the 2010 Mentor Award from the American Association for the Advancement of Science .

The award honors association members who have mentored significant numbers of underrepresented students – such as women, minorities and persons with disabilities – towards a Ph.D. degree in the sciences. The association is the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the journal Science.

DeSimone, Chancellor’s Eminent Professor of Chemistry at UNC and William R. Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering at N.C. State University, was recognized for his dedication to advancing the diversity of doctoral-level chemists entering the workforce.

He will receive the award Feb. 19 (Saturday) at a ceremony at the association’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C.

He has mentored at least nine African American students, one Hispanic American student and 24 women through the completion of their Ph.D. degrees in chemistry. He also teamed up with former advisee Valerie Ashby – now Bowman and Gordon Gray Distinguished Term Professor of Chemistry and a colleague of DeSimone’s in the UNC College of Arts and Sciences – to launch a Chapel Hill-based chapter of the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers.

Yolanda George, the association’s deputy director of education and human resources, said DeSimone’s dedication to mentorship transcended the chemical sciences, and was rooted in his belief that diversification drives innovation.

For more information, see the association’s announcement .

Media note: DeSimone can be reached at 919-962-2166 or by email .