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  Name:   Dr. Margaret Ellen Mayo Tolbert
Month: August/September 2003
Schools: Tuskegee University B.S.
Wayne State University M.S.
Brown University Ph.D
Organization: National Science Foundation
Title: Senior Advisor

Dr. Margaret Ellen Mayo Tolbert earned her doctorate degree (1974) in Biochemistry from Brown University. Her M.S. degree (1968) was earned in Analytical Chemistry from Wayne State University. In 1967, she received her B.S. degree in Chemistry with a minor in Mathematics from Tuskegee University. On September 22, 2002, she officially began her tenure as Senior Advisor in the Office of Integrative Activities (OIA). OIA supports the Office of the National Science Foundation (NSF) Director in carrying out a number of cross-organizational activities and provides policy support for these activities. Dr. Tolbert serves as a senior-level agency spokesperson to further promote NSF efforts to increase the participation of underrepresented minority groups, women, and persons with disabilities in science and engineering research and education particularly across all NSF centers and facilities programs. She provides leadership in the oversight of the Congressionally-mandated Committee on Equal Opportunity in Science and Engineering while acting as its Executive Secretary and as NSF's Executive Liaison to the Committee. As Senior Advisor, Dr. Tolbert provides leadership and oversight for mission-critical NSF-wide programs. She manages the multi-million dollar Science and Technology Centers Program (NSF 03-550). She is also responsible for ensuring that policies and procedures focus on enhancing customer service and program performance and that activities support objectives of the Government Performance and Results Act.

Prior to joining the NSF staff, Dr. Tolbert was the first African American and the first female to serve as Director of the U.S. Department of Energy's New Brunswick Laboratory. This laboratory is located in Argonne, Illinois, and it is a nuclear analytical chemistry laboratory, which has a predominance of chemists on its staff. Her work involved management functions and policy issues pertinent to the U.S.A. nuclear energy programs. She was responsible for directing the laboratory in its various functions (i.e., to prevent the spread of nuclear materials, prepare and certify nuclear reference materials for use in the standardization of instruments, evaluate the measurement capabilities of different nuclear laboratories worldwide, and measure the amount of nuclear material in samples from various sources throughout the world). From May to August of 2001, she served as Acting Associate Director of the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Laboratory Operations and Environment, Safety and Health. Among Dr. Tolbert's other significant accomplishments are the following: the first African American female to serve as Director of the Division of Educational Programs at Argonne National Laboratory; the first African American to serve as Special Assistant to the Vice Chairs of the Presidential Committee on Education and Technology of the Federal Coordinating Council for Science, Engineering, and Technology; the first female to serve as Director of the Research Improvement in Minority Institutions Program of NSF; and the first female to serve as Director of the Carver Research Foundation of Tuskegee University, which is the research foundation established in 1940 by Dr. George Washington Carver. From 1988 to 1990, she was the highest-ranking African American female employed at the BP America Research Center at Warrensville Heights in Ohio. There she served as Senior Planner and Senior Budgets & Control Analyst. In academia, she has served as Visiting Associate Professor of Medical Sciences (Brown University), Professor of Chemistry and Associate Provost for R&D (Tuskegee University), Instructor in Mathematics and Science (Opportunities Industrialization Center in Providence, R.I.), and Associate Dean of the School of Pharmacy and Professor of Pharmaceutical Science (Florida A&M University). For a short period, she was assigned by TeleSec, Inc. to the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (Chevy Chase, Maryland) to review scientific proposals submitted to its International Program. Prior to and following this tenure, she served on proposal review panels and Committee of Visitors to several Federal agencies (e.g., National Science Foundation) and private sector organizations (e.g., National Research Council). Also, she has served as Guest Scientist at the International Institute for Cellular and Molecular Pathology in Brussels, Belgium. Dr. Tolbert has completed tours of duty in such countries as Ghana, Liberia, Libya, Sudan, South Africa, Senegal, Austria, and Belgium. For scientific and educational purposes, she has established national and international linkages among scientists, science administrators, and educators.

Dr. Tolbert is a member of the American Chemical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), New York Academy of Sciences, Sigma Xi, the Institute of Nuclear Materials Management, and the Chicago Chemists' Club.

She has received numerous awards for her contributions to society. The AAAS honored her with an appointment of AAAS Fellow in 1988. Also included among her awards are the following: Women of Color in Government and Defense Technology Award in Managerial Leadership (July 2001); Letter of Congratulations on Winning the Award in Managerial Leadership (Secretary Spencer Abraham - July 13, 2001); Performance Awards for fiscal years 1999, 2000, and 2001 from the Chicago Operations Office of the U.S. Department of Energy; Chicago-Tuskegee Alumni Club President's Merit Award (1999); Secretary of Energy Pride Award for Community Service (1998); and Certificate of Distinguished Service to the Federal Reserve System and excellent contributions to the Bank and to the economic progress of the Sixth Federal Reserve District (1987).

Her biography appears in several publications including Who's Who in America, US Black Engineer & Information Technology, Notable Black American Scientists, Black Women Scientists in the United States, Journal of College Science Teaching, American Men and Women of Science, Outstanding Young Women of America, Journal of Nuclear Materials Management, and Distinguished African American Scientists of the 20th Century. From January until March of 2000, she was included among the scientists in the Black Creativity Exhibit titled "African American Women in Science and Technology" held at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, Illinois. Additionally, she was featured in a Chicago Tribune article titled "Lab Coats and Space Suits". Dr. Tolbert has served as invited speaker at numerous conferences and meetings and has published papers on scientific as well as non-technical topics in peer-reviewed journals (e.g., Journal of Biological Chemistry, Metabolism, Journal of Nuclear Materials Management, Journal of the National Technical Association, and Journal of College Science Teaching). She continues to serve as a mentor for students interested in science and mathematics. Dr. Tolbert was born in Suffolk, Virginia, to the late Mr. & Mrs. Clifton J. Mayo.

Dr. Margaret Ellen Mayo Tolbert
Senior Advisor
Office of Integrative Activities
National Science Foundation
4201 Wilson Blvd., Room 1270
Arlington, Virginia 22230

Telephone Number: 703-292-4216
Email: mtolbert@nsf.gov

 

 

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