Professor Isiah M. Warner of the Louisiana State University, recipient of the 2013 ACS Stanley C. Israel Regional Award

Professor Isiah M. Warner of the Louisiana State University (right) receiving the Dr. Kofi Lomotey Trailblazer Award. In 2013 Prof. Warner was honored with the ACS Stanley C. Israel Regional Award. Photo from the official webpage of the Louisiana State University.

Professor Isiah Warner of the Louisiana State University is a distinguished scholar recognized for research in the field of analytical chemistry and for his leadership in creating mentoring programs that promote inclusiveness in science and engineering. For his mentoring efforts, Dr. Warner was recognized with the Stanley C. Israel Regional Award, Southwest region, in 2013.

Dr. Warner discussed his “hierarchical mentoring” model  at the San Francisco ACS National Meeting (2014). This mentoring model fuses research, education, and mentoring to give undergraduate students an opportunity for advancement in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines. This model has transformed the Louisiana State University Chemistry Department. Before its implementation, the LSU chemistry department produced few African-American chemists, and an even smaller number of these students pursued a Ph.D. degree. Today, after implantation of the mentoring program, LSU is now ranked first in the nation in the production of African-American PhDs in chemistry. At any given year more than 30 underrepresented minority students are enrolled in the LSU Chemistry Graduate Program.

The impacts of Dr. Warner’s mentoring efforts go beyond statistics; many of his past students praise his guidance. Dr. Chanel Fortier described Dr. Warner as a mentor and a role model during her undergraduate years at LSU. Dr. Fortier described her mentor as “one of the great impacts of my life still today in terms of my career choice and pursuit of excellence in chemistry.” She believes that Dr. Warner “has touched the lives of many chemists in the past and present regarding recruitment, retention, and graduation of a diverse set of students”, and counts herself as one of the lucky ones to be guided by his mentoring. Dr. Marsha Cole, a recent graduate of the LSU Ph.D program, described Dr. Warner as a “shepherd of scientists”, guiding graduate students like herself into rewarding careers in chemistry. Dr. Krystal Fontenot described Dr. Warner as a global mentoring figure at LSU who “expected the most and the best” from all students, not just the ones in his research group. Dr. Fontenot described the LSU environment as one that encouraged personal and professional growth -very nurturing- thanks in great part to Dr. Warner’s mentoring initiatives.

His success as a mentor has been widely recognized with a number of awards, including the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring; the AAAS Lifetime Mentor Award; and the American Chemical Society Award for Encouraging Disadvantaged Students into Careers in the Chemical Sciences.

Dr. Warner is highlighted in the fifth episode Spellbound titled “A Born Chemist: Isiah Warner, Ph.D.” Spellbound is a video series produced for the 2011 International Year of Chemistry.

As part of this series of blog posts the Committee on Minority Affairs will highlight past Stanley C. Israel award recipients. For a full list of past awardees and more information on the award visit the Stanley C. Israel Award page.