Jun 10, 2021
Samantha Theresa Mensah
PhD student Samantha Mensah (Andrews/P Weiss labs) is one of the six co-founders of #BlackInChem to receive the RSC’s 2021 Inclusion & Diversity Prize.
 
From the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) award announcement:
 
#BlackInChem - Winner 2021 Inclusion & Diversity Prize
 
For the creation of a platform to amplify Black voices, celebrate Black excellence in chemistry, and build a global community of Black chemists and their allies.
 
 
#BlackInChem is a grassroots effort to help increase the visibility of Black chemists across the globe. The group is made up of women, femmes and allies from across the US and the UK and is led by a leadership team of Ashley Walker, Dr. Devin Swiner, Kathleen Muloma, Dr. Natércia Rodrigues Lopes, Ayanna Jones and Samantha T. Mensah, who work to address the marginalisation that Black chemists often face in science.
 
The group is devoted to creating a community among those within the African Diaspora in the chemical sciences and their allies, with an emphasis on increasing diversity. As well as raising the profile of and celebrating Black excellence in chemistry, #BlackInChem also provide networking, outreach, and professional development opportunities to members to support them in their ultimate career goals. They also run the successful Black in Chem Week, which is returning for a second year.
 
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About Samantha Theresa Mensah
 
A fourth-year materials chemistry graduate student, Mensah is working in the labs of Professors Anne Andrews and Paul Weiss. She studies biosensors that can detect neurotransmitters in vivo. Mensah received her bachelor’s degree in chemistry, with a minor in nanoscience, from the University of Central Florida in 2017. She received a master’s degree in materials chemistry in 2019 from UCLA. 
 
Earlier this year Mensah received the UCLA Academic Senate's 2021 Graduate Student Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Award and Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN) featured Mensah's interview with Professor Davita Watkins of the University of Mississippi.
 
In 2020, Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN) featured an article about #BlackInChem week and Mensah and other UCLA graduate students kicked off a fundraising campaign to raise $100K to endow an annual UCLA lectureship series to celebrate Black chemists and biochemists (for which we are still fundraising – click here to give).  
 
Mensah can be followed on Twitter at @blackinthelab.
 
Penny Jennings, UCLA Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, penny@chem.ucla.edu.