FEEL GOOD FRIDAY | Teacher of the Year

Professor Colon gives the perfect formula for mentoring.

Professor Colon gives the perfect formula for mentoring.

On this Good Friday I want to put the spotlight on mentors. They’re very hard to find and too valuable to lose. You have a better chance of finding that all elusive needle in the haystack than getting someone to take you under their wing. Believe me, I’ve tried.

It doesn’t mean its impossible. Actually, it’s magical when it does happen–I can vouch for that too–and helps evaluate your strengths and weaknesses.

For better or worse everyone’s first mentor is a teacher. And if you’re lucky enough to find a good one that is more interested in molding minds, rather than padding their pockets, make sure to hold tight.

Like University of Buffalo students are for professor Luis Colon. The chemistry teacher was awarded an excellence in science mentoring award from President Obama.

Former students of Colon say it’s well deserved for pushing minorities to break into the mostly white field of science and engineering. For 20 years he’s recruited undergrads in his native Puerto Rico to enroll in his research program at UB.

According to UB reporter, Colon has mentored 27 PhD’s, 14 masters students and 35 undergrads. Most of whom have gone on to pursue careers in major pharma companies like Eli Lilly and Company, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer and Bristol-Meyers Squip.

“He was a great role model for me. He set an example by working hard,and I know that he has worked hard to open the door for young people, especially underrepresented minorities, to go into his lab and get their hands on some fun experiments and learn what it is to be a scientist.”

Even if it meant setting him back some coins. The UB Reporter reports Colon shelling out his own money to cover students travel expenses to research conferences. But, the payback couldn’t be sweeter.

“My students are successful.” Colon told the site.”That to me is very rewarding–that they are successful.”

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