David Ernst, professor of physics at Vanderbilt and an adjunct professor at Fisk University, has won the 2011 Distinguished Professional Mentor Award from the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS).
Ernst was cited for his efforts at mentoring individual students, particularly minority students, and for his work with the National Society of Hispanic Physicists (NSHP), with SACNAS, with the National Society of Black Physicists (NSBP), and with the Fisk-Vanderbilt Masters-to-Ph.D. Bridge Program.
Ernst is a co-founder, long-term secretary and has gone through the presidential line of the National Society of Hispanic Physicists. For SACNAS, he has organized sessions, served as a mentor and coordinated NSHP’s role in the SACNAS annual conference since 1996.
In addition to being a fellow of the National Society of Black Physicists, he built the alliance between NSBP and NSHP that led to their Joint Annual Conference. And he is a co-founder and leader of the Fisk-Vanderbilt Masters-to-Ph.D. Bridge Program, which is making Vanderbilt the No. 1 producer of minorities who receive a Ph.D. in physics, astronomy or material sciences and has already made Fisk the No. 1 producer of minorities receiving master’s degrees in physics.
Ernst will receive his award at the SACNAS Annual Conference to be held in San Jose, Calif., in October.