Stanford University
Bay Area students listening to a Stanford scientist

Jenny Saltzman honored as a 'mentor of mentors'

BY Mandy Erickson
ClockApril 08, 2015

The Association for Women in Science (AWIS) (Northern California Chapter) has selected Jennifer Saltzman, director of outreach education at the Stanford School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences, to receive the organization’s 2015 Sherrie Wilkins award.  

Saltzman runs science-based programs on the Stanford campus for students from first grade to high school. She raises funds for stipends, allowing students who would otherwise need to work a summer job to take internships. Each summer Saltzman also hosts teacher trainings on campus.  And in February, she brought the Sea Lion Bowl, a regional ocean sciences quiz competition for high school students, to Stanford.

Jonathan Payne, associate professor of Geological Sciences at Stanford, nominated Saltzman for her instrumental role in creating the History of Life internship program in collaboration with his research group.  “This program more than doubled the number of high school interns that we are able to host each year,” Payne wrote in a nomination letter to AWIS. “Jenny has actively recruited a diverse body of students from around the Bay Area, with a focus on schools serving low-income and minority populations.”

Another nominator called Saltzman “an extraordinary connector, rainmaker and mentor of mentors.”

“Jenny creates new outreach programs, drums up the financial support to make them viable, connects mentors with protégées, and collaborates to advance new programs and opportunities for young scientists.” said Susan Bernhard, senior manager of regulatory affairs at the biopharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences. Bernhard and Saltzman co-chaired the AWIS mentoring committee together for several years.

Saltzman said she enjoys providing students with learning experiences and connecting them with understanding science and the natural world. She holds a PhD in oceanography from the University of Rhode Island.

 The award is named for the late Sherrie Wilkins, former president of the Palo Alto chapter of AWIS. Presented annually, the award recognizes a scientist who is not tenure-track but who is committed to mentoring others.

Saltzman will be honored at a recognition banquet April 20 in San Francisco. Christine Smolke, an associate professor in bioengineering at Stanford, will also receive an award at the event.

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