SAC Professor Dan Dimitriu Receives Prestigious Presidential Honor

July 17, 2018

Russell Guerrero - Public Information Officer

Dr. Dan Dimitriu, program coordinator for engineering at San Antonio College, has received the highest U.S. honor given to teachers and mentors in the STEM fields. The White House Office for Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), with the National Science Foundation (NSF), announced Dimitriu received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM).

According to the OSTP, "PAESMEM recognizes the critical roles mentors play outside the traditional classroom in the academic and professional development of the future STEM workforce. Colleagues, administrators, and students nominate individuals and organizations for exemplary mentoring sustained over a minimum of five years."

Dimitriu traveled to Washington D.C. to receive his honor at an awards ceremony. During his trip, he also participated in discussions on STEM and STEM education priorities led by OSTP and NSF. He also received $10,000 from the NSF which manages the PAESMEM program on behalf of the White House.

At the ceremony, Dimitriu was cited for helping build an impressive mentorship and support system at SAC. In 2001, when he arrived at SAC, there were only 164 students with a declared major in engineering. Eleven years later, SAC had 687 declared engineering majors.

During the same period, engineering graduates have gone from one to two each year to 50 by 2014. The number of engineering students from an underrepresented minority also grew to more than 65 percent in that time frame.   

Dimitriu has received grants and awards from NASA, NSF, and the Department of Education to support his mentoring activities. And in 2006, he received the 2006 National Award for Excellence in Teaching from the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development, an organization representing educators from U.S. community and technical colleges.