The Karl S. Pister Award was presented to Rinker by Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) in honor of his 15 years of active support for the program at UC Santa Barbara. The annual award is named for the chancellor emeritus of UC Santa Cruz and the former dean of the UC Berkeley College of Engineering.
A nationally recognized scholar in chemical engineering with professor emeritus status, Rinker is the principal investigator for the college-level MESA Engineering Program (MEP) and kindergarten-through-high school MESA Schools Program (MSP). He has provided opportunities for MEP students to pursue undergraduate research projects and to enter graduate school.
"I am honored to be associated with MESA," said Rinker. "It is one of the most effective programmatic models to encourage disadvantaged students to pursue math, engineering and science careers."
"MESA students have benefited greatly from Rinker's involvement," said MESA Statewide Executive Director Michael Aldaco. "He has promoted MESA's mission and programs throughout the UC system and within the high tech industries."
Rinker received his Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering from the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in his home town of Terre Haute, Indiana in 1951. He received Master of Science and Ph.D. degrees from the California Institute of Technology in 1955 and 1959 respectively and was a member of the Cal Tech faculty from 1959 to 1965. He joined the faculty at UC Santa Barbara in 1965 as the university's first Dean of the Chemical Engineering Department.
MESA supports over 21,000 students from elementary through university levels to excel in math and science and attain four-year degrees in math-based fields. MESA programs are located at 49 sites throughout California.