Monday, December 30, 2013

Kudos to USDA's Carolee Bull

Carolee T. Bull, USDA researcher and mentor extraordinaire, received the Secretary of Agriculture’s Honor Award, the highest award given by the Secretary.

Bull received the award for outstanding mentorship and "cultivation" of students in the Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) disciplines.

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the award on December 11 at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. The Secretary’s Honor Award is the “highest award in agriculture for service to the Nation.”

Bull works at the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Crop Improvement and Protection Research Unit in Salinas. ARS is USDA’s chief intramural scientific research agency. Here's one story I wrote about her work.

Bull’s program is designed to inspire students—from kindergarten through the university level—about agricultural science in general, with an emphasis on plant pathology. Bull worked in tandem with Hartnell College and California State University Monterey Bay, to develop a successful program for identifying promising underrepresented minority and women high school and college students and mentoring them to become among the most well-prepared and sought-after graduate students in agricultural research.

Six of Bull’s former undergraduate students are now in graduate programs in plant pathology. Three of these Salinas natives are National Science Fellows in Ph.D. programs and one is also a Borlaug Fellow. Bull multiplies her outreach efforts by instilling in her students the need to give back and reach out to other members of the community.

Based on her experience with underrepresented minority students, Bull developed and presented a series of mentorship workshops (“How to Mentor Yourself” and “Mentoring Up and Down the Ladder of Success”) at national and international scientific conferences, to American Phytopathological Society members, and to university departments and institutes.

One of Bull's goals is “to make the Salinas Valley as well known for producing scientists as it is for producing lettuce.” Sounds like she's way on her way for doing it.

Congratulations, Dr. Bull! We've known you rock for years!

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