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Alyson Rodriguez | College of Engineering | April 5, 2022

UTEP Senior Research Scientist receives the Dr. Marian Wilson-Comer LSAMP Service and Leadership Award

UTEP Senior Research Scientist receives the Dr. Marian Wilson-Comer LSAMP Service and Leadership Award


Senior research scientist at The University of Texas at El Paso, Denise Y. Yates, MA, has been given the honor of receiving the Dr. Marian Wilson-Comer Service and Leadership Award, due to her extensive contributions to the Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP) program.

Yates is a behavioral scientist and has been working with marginalized students for the past twenty years. She retired from the University of Illinois in Chicago and began working at UTEP in July 2021. One of her greatest achievements of her career is having the opportunity to work with students fostering inclusion and awareness around multicultural education.

“Denise Yates is a culture bearer for the NSF LSAMP program and we are very pleased that she has come to UTEP to expand her groundbreaking work within the UT System LSAMP.  The award she is receiving from the national STEM education community is a timely recognition of her many contributions to inclusivity and equity in STEM,” added Ben Flores, Ph.D., PI and Director, UT System Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation.

The Dr. Marian Wilson-Comer Award is a leadership and service award, and it is typically awarded to outstanding individuals who work with traditionally underrepresented students, both at the undergraduate and graduate level, who are majoring in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). This award is named after Dr. Marian Wilson-Comer who had a flourishing and extensive career at Chicago State University and left a legacy of helping underrepresented students.

Winning this award holds a very special place in Yates’ heart because Dr. Wilson-Comer was her mentor. “Receiving this award is very special to me because it is an acknowledgement of all of the work I have done, and I am humbled by it. I worked with Dr. Wilson-Comer fifteen years ago, at the time we wrote a proposal for the first LSAMP bridge to the doctorate at the University of Illinois in Chicago. She was one of my mentors and she was an amazing woman who was the epitome of mentorship and caring,” said Yates.

LSAMP is an alliance-based program that assists universities and colleges in diversifying the STEM programs by increasing the number of degrees awarded to students in these fields. It is a National Science Foundation funded initiative that spreads across the entire country. It provides students with preparation and training for graduate school.

“LSAMP gives us all an opportunity to give back to students and help the next generation of scientists to realize their full potential and to give them the confidence, motivation and encouragement to pursue their dreams of becoming professionals in the STEM workforce,” said Yates.

Yates was awarded the Dr. Marian Wilson-Comer Service and Leadership award in Chicago, Illinois on February 25th at the LSAMP Annual Research Symposium.

For more information about LSAMP initiatives, please visit:

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