Nov 17, 2020
#BlackInChem logo
UCLA graduate students launch crowdfunding campaign to raise $100K to endow an annual UCLA lectureship series to celebrate Black chemists and biochemists.
 
The goal of the annual lectureship is to invite one of the world’s top Black scientists to UCLA each year to give a special lecture. The lecture series would be open to the public, celebrating and learning about the incredible work being done by Black scientists.
 
Support this exciting initiative by making a donation on the UCLA SPARK #BlackInChem campaign website. All donors who give $10+ during the first week of the campaign (November 16-21) will receive a special Bruin facemask (pictured below).
 
“Being a Black scientist can feel quite lonely,” said #BlackInChem co-founder UCLA chemistry graduate student Samantha Mensah (pictured right). “When you look around the lab, there aren’t many people who look like you. Our primary goal for fundraising is to have supporters that step up and say, ‘You aren’t alone’.” 
 
Black Americans account for 6.5% of the California population but for only about 1% of professors in the UCLA physical sciences division and 3% of graduate and undergraduate students at UCLA.
 
“As the Dean of the Physical Sciences at UCLA, an active Chemistry faculty member, and a person of color myself, I have seen firsthand the need to have opportunities that foster and encourage Black scientists, making the UCLA Division of Physical Sciences more welcoming to Black students and faculty,” said Professor Miguel Garcia-Garibay. 
 
(Left) The campaign’s six different giving levels. (Right) All donors who give $10+ during the first week of the campaign (November 16-21) will receive a special Bruin facemask.
 
Thanks to Mensah and #BlackInChem’s six other co-founders, the #BlackInChem movement was launched in August 2020 with a week of virtual events on social media that facilitated networking, sharing stories and exploring the challenges faced by people of color while studying and working in chemistry and biochemistry, and related fields. Read more about Mensah and the event here
 
The SPARK campaign has six different giving levels (see above), although donations of any amount are appreciated. All donors who give $10+ during the first week of the campaign (November 16-21) will receive a special Bruin facemask (pictured above). The maximum giving level of $10,000 covers the cost of one lecture—including honorarium, travel expenses, and catering, to create a sense of community and the celebration of research excellence.
 
Penny Jennings, UCLA Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, penny@chem.ucla.edu.