N.C. A&T Engineering Faculty Member Receives White House Honor

10/30/2019 Academic Affairs, Employees, College of Engineering, Industrial and Systems Engineering

WASHINGTON, DC (Oct. 30, 2019) –Salil Desai, Ph.D., an industrial and systems engineering professor and interim co-director for the Center of Excellence in Product Design and Advanced Manufacturing at North Carolina Agricultural and State University, received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM) earlier this month.

The recognition celebrates the outstanding efforts of STEM mentors who “encourage the next generation of innovators developing a science and engineering workforce.” As a recipient of this prestigious award, Desai will collaborate with government, academia and industry on taskforces focused on solutions for challenges and opportunities facing our society.

“As educators, we play an important role in influencing students’ lives by being inspiring role models,” said Desai. “I am humbled by this honor and am cognizant of the fact that it brings along a genuine commitment to STEM education and outreach excellence.”

Throughout his academic career at N.C. A&T, Desai has conducted research and developed educational and outreach programs to enhance the recruitment and retention of students in the fields of nano-, micro- and bio-manufacturing.

Desai leverages experiential learning opportunities for A&T students by providing training prior to entering the workforce, and mentors undergraduate and graduate students, as well as post-doctoral fellows and faculty colleagues. He also coordinates outreach events with the Greensboro Science Center, Guilford County Schools district and the North Carolina Science Festival to promote engineering to K-12 students.

Desai describes the presidential award as one that recognizes the mutually beneficial mentor-mentee relationship, which empowers the mentee to reach their highest potential and encourages competitiveness in the workforce for science, math and engineering.

As an engineering educator, Desai advocates for a holistic education plan that leverages pedagogical and longitudinal assessment strategies to prepare students beyond the classroom. To him, this plan begins with providing young minds with opportunities to see themselves as engineers, providing current engineering students with opportunities to see themselves as professionals, and helping corporations see the bigger picture of global needs.