SF State News {University Communications}

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Bayliss awarded President's Medal

May 20, 2010 -- One of just 20 educators this year to receive a mentoring award from President Barack Obama, Frank Bayliss has built a pathway to lead hundreds of underrepresented students to the frontiers of science. For his career mentoring and opening doors for students in the sciences, Bayliss was honored by President Robert A. Corrigan with a President’s Medal at SF State's Commencement on May 22.

A photo of Frank Bayliss.

Professor of Biology Frank Bayliss.

Bayliss came to SF State in 1975 to assume the first directorship of what is now the Center for Biomedical Laboratory Sciences. In the early 1990s, Bayliss turned his activities to training and mentoring students. At the time, Bayliss noticed a shortage of students -- particularly underrepresented minorities -- in the sciences who went on to complete master's and doctoral degrees. He founded the Student Enrichment Opportunities (SEO) office in 1992 to reverse that trend. The office provides financial support and mentoring to students in the sciences.

The results have been astounding. From 1984 to 2003, 155 students with bachelor's degrees from SF State received doctoral degrees in biology or the physical sciences. Only one was awarded to a student from an underrepresented minority group. From 2004-07, after more than a decade of concentrated efforts, 21 underrepresented minorities who attended SF State completed doctorates in the sciences, with another 73 on track to complete doctorates in the next five years. Twenty four students who received assistance from the SEO office will graduate Saturday -- 10 of whom will go on to doctoral programs next fall.

To date, more than 800 SEO-funded students have benefited from the office's mentoring, scholarships, classes and seminars. The successful efforts by Bayliss and his staff have now become a national model for educating future generations of scientists.

"The programs Frank Bayliss has put in place are bringing the University's mission of excellence and social justice to life in ways that resonate not just for our students, but for their future students at colleges and universities across the country," Corrigan said. "His work is a perfect example of the transformative possibilities available at San Francisco State."

-- Michael Bruntz


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