Friday, February 17, 2012
Cooper Receives AAAS 2011 Mentor Award
Dr. Rory A. Cooper
QoLT Co-Director Rory A. Cooper, Ph.D. - a renowned expert in rehabilitation and assistive technology - has been awarded the 2011 Mentor Award of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) “for his dedication and successful efforts to increase the number of women and persons with disabilities with doctoral degrees in rehabilitation science.”
According to AAAS, the Mentor Award was established by its Board of Directors in 1996 and “honors AAAS members who have mentored significant numbers of underrepresented students (women, minorities, and persons with disabilities) towards a Ph.D. degree in the sciences, as well as scholarship, activism, and community building on behalf of underrepresented groups in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields. The award is directed towards individuals in the mid-stage of their careers, defined by roughly 25 years or less of mentoring experience.
“I am honored to be recognized by this prestigious organization,” Dr. Cooper said. “I strongly believe that we need to support the efforts of students who want to learn about and contribute to rehabilitation science, particularly those who have personal knowledge of the needs of people with disabilities.”
Dr. Cooper is a distinguished professor and FISA-Paralyzed Veterans of America Chair, Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences (SHRS) at the University of Pittsburgh. Within the QoLT Center, he oversees the QoLTbots Testbed Systems. He is the director of the Human Engineering Research Laboratories at Pitt and the Rehabilitation Research and Development Service of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, where he and his colleagues conduct clinical research and explore rehab strategies using advanced engineering techniques with the aim of improving mobility and function for people with disabilities.
“The selection committee was impressed by Dr. Cooper’s ability to create a working environment where every person’s talents, skill and contributions are recognized and valued,” said Yolanda S. George, deputy director of Education and Human Resources at AAAS. “He also has a strong track record as a community-builder through his involvement with a broad array of civic organizations.”