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May 1, 2015

Erika Aranguré, Project Coordinator for the Life Sciences Summer Institute (LSSI), was honored by Athena San Diego with a Pinnacle Award for Individual in Education.

Athena San Diego’s Pinnacle Awards recognize extraordinary women, men, companies/organizations and educators who personify Athena San Diego’s mission of fostering the personal and professional growth of women through mentoring, education, recognition, and leadership training thereby enhancing competitiveness and opportunity for women in the San Diego business community.

Awards are presented to the individual or company/organization who has had a significant role in the development and advancement of skilled and talented women within their organization or the San Diego community. The award categories are: Life Sciences, Technology, Services, Education, and Company/Organization.

The winners were announced in a special evening dinner and auction on April 30 to a crowd of 600+ attendees.

Aranguré was recognized for her leadership of LSSI. LSSI is a program of the San Diego Workforce Partnership that nourishes a passion for science and math in our next generation of scientists, connecting upper-level high school students as well as high school teachers with leading San Diego life sciences companies through three programs—student internships, teacher externships and an introductory course.

In its inaugural year, 38 students applied to LSSI. Five years later 305 applied, and the most recent year saw 320 applicants. Through Aranguré’s leadership, the program has supported 408 student interns, 197 teachers and 79 low-income students to-date. The teacher externship alone has benefited 33,437 students. Nearly 60 percent of the LSSI participants are young women.

In 2009 LSSI won the Theodore E. Small Workforce Partnership Award grand prize by the National Association of Workforce Boards and represented achievement of innovative partnerships with the business community. LSSI continues to be showcased as a national model for other industries seeking career pathways initiatives that develop long-term careers.

“I am truly honored to receive a Pinnacle Award,” says Aranguré. “The personal recognition is wonderful, but having the spotlight shown on LSSI was the most satisfying part of the evening. Our program has made a real difference in students’ lives – showing them a career pathway through hands-on learning. I have seen students, who didn’t think they were college bound, apply for college and move on from poverty because of the window to possibilities LSSI provided them. I am very proud of what I do each day.”

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