Dr. Melissa Simon, the George H. Gardner Professor of Clinical Gynecology and member of the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine Program in Public Health, has received the National Science Foundation’s Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring.
The award, the highest honor in the field, recognizes outstanding efforts of mentors in encouraging the next generation of scientists and developing a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) workforce that reflects the diversity of America.
“This is truly a once-in-a-lifetime, monumental honor,” said Dr. Simon, also vice chair for clinical research in the department of obstetrics and gynecology and a professor in the departments of preventive medicine and medical social sciences. “Mentoring students from minority and underrepresented backgrounds and helping people achieve health from all backgrounds are the two main reasons I entered into medicine. I’m forever grateful to all my students, trainees and mentees for being so amazing and having the courage to not just lean in but charge forward to reach for their dreams and make a difference in this world.”
Dr. Simon, who was recognized during a recent ceremony in Washington, DC, is one of 27 individuals and 14 organizations across the country who received the award this year. The presidential award was first established by the White House in 1995.
“This award highlights the remarkable impact Melissa has had on the lives of the students she’s mentored, and on the next generation of scientists overall,” said Dr. Eric G. Neilson, vice president for Medical Affairs and Lewis Landsberg Dean. “I am pleased to congratulate her on this well-deserved honor.”
Dr. Simon is also co-leader of the Cancer Control and Survivorship Research Program at the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University and principal investigator for the Chicago Cancer Health Equity Collaborative (ChicagoCHEC), a National Cancer Institute-funded initiative to reduce cancer disparities in Chicago’s low-income neighborhoods.