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Tony Quinn Inclusive Excellence Award

Nominations open until 9/1/2022

The Tony Quinn Inclusive Excellence award is to honor the work and contributions of the late Dr. Anthony Quinn. Among his many roles on this earth, Dr. Quinn served as a researcher, professor, faculty mentor, and champion of broadening participation of underrepresented minority students in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) at The University of Toledo.

Dr. Quinn passionately embraced the vision of the National Science Foundation for inclusive excellence. He was beloved by students for his holistic approach to mentoring, and by colleagues for his leadership and significant contributions in increasing student success on the UT campus. Dr. Quinn’s contributions include co-developing a summer bridge program for incoming students, mentoring many individual students, supporting the We are STEMM initiative, and being involved with Brothers on the Rise, among other groups.

Anthony Quinn
Figure 1. The late Dr. Anthony "Tony" Quinn (1958-2018)

Today, his legacy lives on through the Tony Quinn We Are STEMM Initiative at the University of Toledo. The program strives to recruit and retain underrepresented minority students in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine through student fellowships, professional education, and mentoring programs.

The Tony Quinn Inclusive Excellence award is given annually to an individual who embodies Dr. Quinn’s commitment to mentoring students and his passion for increasing the participation of URM students in STEM. Awardees are nominated by peers and mentees and the nomination cycle opens on January 1 and closes on August 1 annually. The LSMRCE awards committee makes the final selection. Recipients of the award are recognized at the LSMRCE annual conference and presented the award during the awards ceremony. In addition, recipients will be listed on the LSMRCE website and reported in the Center’s annual report to the National Science Foundation.

Nominations now open until 9/1/2022 at 5pm.

Nominate an individual who you feel exemplifies excellence in mentoring and a commitment to increasing the participation of underrepresented students in STEM. In your application narrative, please provide 2-3 examples of how this person impacts the success of URM STEM students.

If possible, please provide the CV of the nominee in the submission.



Contact Deb Cole at
Or call 317-278-4753

Past Winner

2021 Award Winner
Cammi Valdez, PhD, Assistant Professor of Chemistry, Northeastern State University; OK-LSAMP Alumnus

As a Latina and woman in science, Dr. Cammi Valdez has a lived experience and understanding of the pressures and challenges facing women and people of color. Dr. Valdez’s passion for diversifying the landscape of higher education is evidenced by the many leadership roles she has held in academia, professional organizations, and in local communities. While at Harvard, Dr. Valdez served as President of the Harvard Graduate Student Council, where she was able to implement policy changes such as Parental Leave for graduate students.

She also developed the first ever orientation program to create a sense of community amongst the 600+ graduate students based at Harvard Medical School. For this work, Dr. Valdez was recognized at the state-level by the professional organization for Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education with the Richard F. Stevens Outstanding Graduate Student Award.

Following her graduate work, Dr. Valdez served as the Assistant Director of Undergraduate Research and Fellowships at Harvard College. In this role, Dr. Valdez started the Harvard Amgen Scholars Program and co-directed the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship working with diverse students pursuing a graduate education. Her other roles include serving as the inaugural Director of the Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program at Wellesley College, and as president of the McNair Association of Professionals.

Dr. Valdez gives of her time to mentor to undergraduate students inside the classroom and in her laboratory. She regularly travels with her students to present at research conferences around the country. Collectively, Dr. Valdez has individually mentored more than 225 undergraduates and published more than 15 student co-authored conference publications

Currently, Dr. Valdez is an Assistant Professor at Northeastern State University where she conducts research and serves as a professor, mentor, and advisor for undergraduate and post-baccalaureate students. She holds several leadership positions in professional and local communities, as a member of the Harvard Graduate School Alumni Association Council, a trustee for the Southwestern Oklahoma State University Foundation, and immediate past-president of the McNair Association of Professionals. In addition to her important work as a scientist and mentor, Dr. Valdez has equally important responsibilities as a partner, a mother, and an empowerer of diverse STEM innovators.

2020 Award Winner
Luis Cedeño-Rosario, PhD, University of Toledo

Luis is a doctoral candidate studying cancer cell signaling in the Department Biological Sciences at the University of Toledo. Luis' commitment to inclusive excellence is demonstrated by his impact through community outreach and by mentoring students from underserved populations. In 2014, Luis established a Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science chapter at the University of Puerto Rico, Humacao Campus to increase diversity and participation of underrepresented students in science.

As a graduate student at Johns Hopkins University, Luis joined the STEM Achievement in Baltimore Elementary Schools Program to improve educational outcomes in science, focusing on community engagement in three predominantly Hispanic/Latino and African American neighborhoods. Luis developed the Puerto Rico Science Heroes outreach program, which provides children and youth who are in orphanages opportunities to explore scientific disciplines such as biology, chemistry, and nanotechnology, while also exposing them to science history and their heroes. He also established the Natural Sciences and Mathematics outreach mentoring program at the University of Toledo College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. The program provides virtual tutoring and mentoring to help underrepresented undergraduate students in STEM. Most recently, Luis was selected to The Advanced Leadership Academy at The University of Toledo.

2019 Award Winner
Lesley Berhan, PhD, University of Toledo

As the Associate Dean of Diversity, Inclusion and Community Engagement, Dr. Berhan leads the development and execution of initiatives and programs to assess, increase, and support all forms of diversity within the College of Engineering, and fosters an atmosphere of inclusiveness, equity, and respect among students, faculty, and staff. She is committed to cultivating and maintaining a culture of inclusive excellence in the college and to ensuring that all students, faculty, and staff have the opportunities and resources they need to be successful.

Her duties also include developing and facilitating relationships between the college and community stakeholders to increase the interest in, and exposure to, engineering to residents of Toledo and NW Ohio.

Dr. Berhan is also an Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical, Industrial, and Manufacturing Engineering at The University of Toledo. She received her BS. in Civil Engineering from the University of the West Indies in St. Augustine, Trinidad in 1994. She worked as a civil engineer in Trinidad for one year before beginning her graduate studies. In 1997 she received her M.S. in Civil Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, after which she worked for two years as a structural engineer at Albert Kahn Associates in Detroit, Michigan. In 2003 she received her Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She taught for one year at the University of Detroit Mercy before joining the MIME department in Fall 2004.