The 2014 William A. Hinton Research Training Award has been presented to Maria F. Lima, Ph.D., Meharry Medical College, Nashville, Tennessee. Given in memory of William Hinton, one of the first African Americans to join ASM, this award honors an individual who has made outstanding contributions toward promoting the research training of underrepresented minorities in microbiology. Lima, who is highly involved in outreach to diverse students interested in pursuing a career in science, has made it her goal to increase the number of students from underrepresented groups that pursue careers in biomedical research.
As Dean of the School of Graduate Studies and Research at Meharry, Lima has obtained innovative and substantive funding from the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation to enhance graduate training. Under her leadership, the School of Graduate Studies, according to "Diverse Issues in Higher Education", has consistently been among the top five U.S. institutions in graduating the highest number of African American Ph.D. students in Biomedical Sciences each year.
"It is fair to say that Lima has been the guiding force behind the achievement of at least 100 Ph.D. students, not only by personal assistance, but by her example and leadership. She has worked continuously to make Meharry a place that values and supports graduate student research and education." says Roger Chalkley, Vanderbilt University. "She is a student advocate and her interaction with students and fostering their career development are great sources of joy in her professional life."