New York City – El Paso Community College (EPCC) Biology Professor Dr. Maria Alvarez was honored with the 2018 National William H. Meardy Faculty Member Award by the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT).
Dr. Alvarez received the award during their annual leadership congress held in New York City. ACCT recognized her for her excellence in teaching and in scientific research.
“Our faculty provide the foundation of success for our students,” Steve Smith, EPCC Vice President of Instruction and Workforce Education said. “Dr. Maria Alvarez is an example of an outstanding professor, mentor and role model who has transformed STEM education, secured more than $13.2 million dollars of grant funding and has created extraordinary experiences for our students.”
One of many programs Alvarez has initiated and developed at EPCC is the Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement (RISE) Program which gives students opportunities to conduct research and other opportunities.
As a result of her efforts, hundreds of minority and underrepresented students have had the opportunity to engage in high-level scientific projects.
In addition, her students have gained tools needed to succeed in college and take the opportunity to continue their education by earning transfer baccalaureate, master and doctoral degrees and ultimately pursue STEM careers.
Her students say she helps students understand that they can aspire to be anything because and thank her for mentoring them on a pathway to achieving their dreams.
“I became not only the first in my immediate family to finish college, but also the first in my extended family to obtain a doctoral degree,” said Salvador Muñoz, who earned his Ph.D. and was post-doctoral fellow at the University of Rochester after studying with Dr. Alvarez. “She makes the improbable possible for many young minds.”
Through the programs she has developed and through more than 20 grant-funded projects, she has created opportunities for her students to be involved in hands-or research in state-of-the-art facilities. Under her guidance her students have completed scientific research with real-world implications and impact.
“The outstanding results Dr. Alvarez has achieved demonstrates her tireless efforts to find innovative ways to engage her students,” EPCC Board Chair Art Fierro said.
Each year ACCT recognizes faculty members from community colleges across the nation for their outstanding leadership.