Fulbright College’s Paul Adams Honored as a Minority Access National Role Model
The goals of Minority Access Inc. are to draw attention, recognize and honor role models to “inspire others to emulate them, and thereby increase the pool of scholars and professionals who will find cures for illnesses or solve technological problems or address social disparities.”
Adams was recommended for nomination by professor Wes Stites, former chair of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, who noted that Adams was an obvious candidate for such an award because of his tremendous scholarship and extensive mentorship.
Since his arrival to the University of Arkansas, Adams has excelled as an advisor and mentor for over 70 graduate, undergraduate and honors students, many of whom came from historically underrepresented or low-income communities.
Adams, who also teaches in the U of A’s interdisciplinary cellular and molecular biology program, earned a B.S. in biochemistry from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and a Ph.D. in biophysical chemistry from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.
Adams’ research and scholarly activities have garnered more than $3 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the Arkansas Biosciences Institute, the Arkansas Science and Technology Authority, and the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Foundation.
The many honors and awards he has received include: the Dr. Nudie L. Williams Outstanding Faculty Award for Diversity from the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences (2010); the Case Western Reserve University African American Alumni Association Rising Star Award (2012); the Presidential Award for Excellence in STEM Research and Mentoring from the National Organization of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE) (2013); and, the Northwest Arkansas Democratic Black Caucus Lifetime Achievement Award for service to the field of education and the community (2015).
Since 2017, Adams has served as principal investigator of an NSF grant that funded the Path to Graduation program, which recruits talented high school students from underrepresented populations to help them thrive and succeed at the university. Forty percent of these students became honors students and 100% of them graduated.
Adams’ nomination, submitted by Anna Zajicek, stated “He has shined as a true, dedicated, and enthusiastic role model committed to and providing opportunities for students from the underprivileged backgrounds to become future scientific leaders in science, technology, engineering, and math.”
Zajicek said that Adams has achieved excellence in his research, teaching, and service, and that he’s been “an amazing STEM leader, mentor and a true inspiration not only to his students but also his colleagues.”
A version of this story also appeared in the U of A’s Newswire publication.