News & Events

Faculty Highlights

President Obama honors Tilak Ratnanather with presidential mentoring award

March 30, 2015

BME associate research professor Tilak Ratnanather

Tilak Ratnanather is an expert in brain mapping and a champion of people with hearing loss

Among the 14 winners of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM) is Johns Hopkins Department of Biomedical Engineering Associate Research Professor Tilak Ratnanather. The PAESMEM is awarded by the White House to individuals and organizations to recognize the crucial role that mentoring plays in the academic and personal development of students studying science and engineering-particularly those who belong to groups that are underrepresented in these fields.

Ratnanather, who is also faculty within the Institute for Computational Medicine (ICM), has devoted himself to recruiting and mentoring an unprecedented number of deaf and hard-of-hearing (HOH) individuals in the United States and abroad into science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. His motivation to recruit and retain deaf and HOH individuals in STEM is built on the certainty that these individuals can contribute a unique perspective in STEM, specifically in auditory-related sciences and medicine.

Dr. Ratnanather has a simple yet powerful objective for his mentoring programs: to provide opportunity in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) for deaf and HOH individuals who may not have otherwise been exposed to STEM, and to achieve this objective through extensive and involved networking, allowing his protégés to serve as mentors in turn.

When announcing the awards President Obama stated, “These educators are helping to cultivate America’s future scientists, engineers and mathematicians. They open new worlds to their students, and give them the encouragement they need to learn, discover and innovate. That’s transforming those students’ futures, and our nation’s future, too.”

In addition to being honored at the White House, recipients receive awards of $10,000 from the National Science Foundation.

By offering their expertise and encouragement, mentors help prepare the next generation of scientists and engineers while ensuring that tomorrow’s innovators represent a diverse pool of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics talent throughout the United States.

The Department of Biomedical Engineering congratulates Dr. Ratnanather on the receipt of this prestigious award, and thanks him for his efforts.

More information

White House Press Release, March 27, 2015