DIVERSITY STATEMENT

The faculty, staff, and students of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry are strongly committed to promoting equity, inclusion, and diversity.

We are cognizant of the challenges faced by those hoping to pursue study in the sciences that result from discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, citizenship status, religion, disability, veteran status, gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation. We strive to make all students aware of the intellectual and student life opportunities that abound in our department, the university, and the community. We are committed to the establishment of programs that provide access to the study of science for students in groups that are underrepresented in STEM. We promote research opportunities for individuals historically excluded from scientific disciplines on the basis of social identity. We demand a classroom environment where diversity is welcomed, fostered, and celebrated. We mentor students from underrepresented groups and at-risk students to ensure a welcoming and positive academic experience, to provide university resources when needed for retention, and to serve as transformative role models for those who may not yet understand their real potential in an academic environment. We engage and encourage members of student clubs, private organizations, and community groups whose mission includes service, education, or extending opportunity to disadvantaged people.

DIVERSITY NEWS

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DIVERSITY AWARDS

Because increasing diversity and creating a culture where all students feel welcome require the participation of the entire departmental community, we have recently created a series of student, staff, and faculty diversity awards. The purpose of the awards is to acknowledge the efforts of individuals to build a more diverse community and to make it clear that the department values these efforts. The student awards are named for the late Dr. Samantha Mensah, a graduate student in our department who started Black in Chem and was the recipient of a number of DEI-related awards.

The inaugural year of departmental DEI awards consisted of the following:

  • 2023 Samantha T. Mensah Graduate Student Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Awards (pictured below): Zerina Mehmedović, Hayden Montgomery, Arismel Tena-Meza AJ Addae, and Caitlyn Fick
  • 2023 Staff Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Award: Stephanie Hotz
  • 2023 Faculty Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Award: Jorge Torres

Inaugural Samantha T. Mensah Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Awardees (from left to right): Zerina Mehmedović, Hayden Montgomery, Arismel Tena-Meza, AJ Addae, and Caitlyn Fick.

These departmental awards complement a long history of student and faculty diversity awards, including a large number of UCLA-wide awards as well as awards from professional societies received during the past few years:

  • 2023-24 UCLA Graduate Council Diversity Fellowship: AJ Addae
  • 2022-23 Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Faculty Award for Student Development: Al Courey
  • 2022-23 Graduate Student Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Award: Hayden Montgomery
  • 2022 Community Service and Praxis Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Award: Spokoyny
  • 2022 UCLA DEI Research Award: Steve Clarke
  • 2021 Graduate Student Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Award: Samantha Mensah
  • 2021 Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC): Inclusion & Diversity Prize: Samantha Mensah
  • 2020 UCLA Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Research Award: Juli Feigon
  • 2020 Cell Press 100 Inspiring Hispanic/Latinx Scientists in America: Jorge Torres
  • 2020 Cell Press 100 Inspiring Hispanic/Latinx Scientists in America: Jose Rodriguez
  • 2019 Graduate Student Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Award: Jesus Iñiguez
  • 2019 Community Service and Praxis Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Award: Sarah Tolbert
  • 2019 Student Development Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Award: Jorge Torres
  • 2019 ASCB Prize for Excellence in Inclusivity: Jorge Torres
  • 2019 ASBMB Kirschstein Diversity in Science Award: Jorge Torres
  • 2018 UCLA Faculty Student Development Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Award: Heather Maynard