By JACKIE HAUSLER
Published March 7, 2023
Luis Colón, SUNY Distinguished Professor, A. Conger Goodyear Professor and associate dean for inclusive excellence, College of Arts and Sciences, has been selected to receive the Research Corporation for Science Advancement’s (RCSA) inaugural Robert Holland Jr. Award.
The Holland award is given in recognition of research excellence and contributions to diversity, equity and inclusion. Colón is one of six scientists across the nation who were selected for this prestigious award.
Award winners become part of the community of Cottrell Scholars, a RCSA program that champions scientists dedicated to excellence in research and teaching in the fields of chemistry, physics and astronomy.
“There is an extraordinary value in embracing and advancing representation in our scientific pursuit,” says Colón. “This award brings a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction that the work of many years of intentionally investing and promoting diversity in my research laboratory resonates at a national level. Others are following it.”
Colón is regarded as one of the “unsung heroes of chemistry” for the outsized impact of his programs on the increase in underrepresented minority faculty hired in chemistry departments in recent years. Beyond establishing a successful research program in separation science, including seminal contributions to ultra-high-pressure liquid chromatography and selective separations, he is a committed teacher and mentor who is deeply engaged in the education and professional growth of students.
The pipeline program Colón designed more than 25 years ago to engage Puerto Rican students in research was replicated at multiple institutions and has inspired scores of students to pursue doctoral degrees in chemistry. He is a fellow of the American Chemical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Royal Society of Chemistry. In 2015 he was honored by President Barack Obama with the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring.
“It is very rewarding to see graduate students who were recruited to our department through programs initiated by Professor Colón from underrepresented groups go on to have successful careers in industry and academia,” says Javid Rzayev chair and professor in the Department of Chemistry. “Our department has benefited tremendously from their presence, intellectual contributions and their perspectives, and the STEM community has been rewarded with an excellent and growing cohort of future leaders and innovators.
“The inaugural Holland Jr. award is a tremendous and well-deserved honor for Professor Colón, and we are proud to call Luis a colleague,” Rzayev adds.
Holland award recipients will attend the annual Cottrell Scholar conference July 19-21 in Tucson, Arizona. They also are eligible to take part in Cottrell Scholar Collaborative projects to improve STEM education and scientific careers at colleges and universities in the U.S. and Canada.
The Holland award honor the late Robert Holland Jr., an engineer and corporate executive who served on RCSA’s board of directors. For more information on the awards, visit the Research Corporation for Science Advancement website.
Congratulations, Luis! So well deserved for all that you've done to advocate for underrepresented students and scholars.