Celebrating our undergraduate and high school student researchers

Posted on

UGRec07small 0

On August 3, 2017, the department hosted a reception for all undergraduate and high school students who conduct research in faculty labs. 

The student researchers gathered with their faculty mentors, graduate student and postdoc mentors, and other faculty and students at the reception in the Young Hall Student Center. Department Chair Professor Catherine Clarke thanked the researchers for the outstanding research they have been conducting at UCLA.

The department has more than 90 undergraduate students, recent graduates, and high school students participating in research this summer. Many of the students are here all year long and others are here only for the summer through various summer research programs, fellowships, or internships.

UGRec07 7

Department Chair Professor Catherine Clarke gave the welcoming remarks at the event.

This summer we have several visiting undergraduate summer researchers through the UCLA Summer Programs for Undergraduate Research (SPUR) including six Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Scholars; seven Amgen Scholars; four CARE Science, Engineering and Mathematics (CARE SEM SPUR) Scholars; and one UC Leadership Excellence through Advanced Degrees (UC LEADS) Scholar. 

UGRec07 4 0
(Left) Amgen Scholar Jerika Chiong with graduate student mentor Marcus Jellen. (Right) Professor Jeffrey Zink and Chair Professor Catherine Clarke with Zink’s two high school researchers sisters Jodie and Annie Chen.

We have several undergraduate summer research scholars visiting through fellowships they received from their home institutions including seven Cross-disciplinary Scholars in Science and Technology program (CSST) scholars visiting from several Chinese universities, four TANMS Scholars, four Santa Monica College/UCLA Summer Research Scholars, and two IROP Scholars visiting from Imperial College London. 

Several recent graduates are continuing to conduct research in our faculty labs this summer and we have several current undergraduates conducting research here throughout the year including four Clare Boothe Luce Undergraduate Research Scholars, one HHMI Pathways Scholar, and one Society of Chemical Industry Scholar.  

UGRec07 3

(From left) (back row) Professor Albert Courey (Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the UCLA Division of Physical Sciences); HBCU scholars Janet 


, Emanuel Demissie, Tyree Thompson, Toyosi Falegan, and Danae Sanders; Professor Steven Clarke, (front row) Graduate Student Advisors Annie Carpenter, Justyna Wojtach and Nick Baerg, Undergraduate Student Advisor Tim Mahlanza.

We also have 25 UCLA scholars who were able to conduct research this summer thanks to the following 2017 Departmental Summer Research Fellowship Awards: Alpha Chi Sigma Undergraduate Summer Research Fellowship, Alumni Undergraduate Summer Research Fellowship, Daniel Kivelson Undergraduate Summer Research Fellowship, Whitcome Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship, and Raymond & Dorothy Wilson Research Fellowship.  

DSC 6763 0
(Front row) Jose Rodriguez group members – graduate student mentors Calina Glynn, Marcus Gallagher-Jones, and Ted Zee, (back row) undergraduate researchers Raymond & Dorothy Wilson Research Scholar James Ziegenbein, CARE SEM Scholar Evelyn Hernandez  and SMC Summer Scholars Kevin Canton Mancia and Carlos Santiago.
Not only is summer research experience typically one of the most meaningful parts of an undergraduate education, it also enables students to pursue science research rather than having to accept a summer job in an unrelated field (e.g. Starbucks, etc.).  For many students, experiencing research in a lab is a real game-changer — many who previously thought they were headed to pharmacy, medical, or dental school, realize how exciting research is, and begin to consider research as a career.   By conducting research during the summer, students gain skills that help them in their lab courses and, as a result, they excel in classes they may have previously dreaded. They develop a network of friends and colleagues who can be very helpful when looking for employment and discovering other opportunities.  

“My summer research experience has been absolutely phenomenal!” said John Kozlowski, 2017 Alumni Undergraduate Summer Research Fellow, conducting research in Prof. Daniel Neuhauser’s group. “Being given the opportunity to focus on my work with Dr. Neuhauser has really allowed me to achieve the goals I’ve set for myself as a researcher. I’m excited to see how much I will accomplish with the remainder of the summer!”.

It was thanks to the generosity of our alumni and friends that the department was able to support so many undergraduate summer research fellows this year. We would love to continue to grow these funds and award even more fellowships next summer in 2018. Contributions of any amount are welcome, and will be matched (1:1) by Department Jung funds! An award of $3000 supports one UCLA undergraduate for an entire summer of research. For more information please see http://www.chemistry.ucla.edu/support-us


“The undergraduate summer fellowship program allowed me to explore the possibility of labwork as a career, and was an invaluable introduction to the life of a graduate student” said Abby Thurm, 2017 Raymond & Dorothy Wilson Research Fellow, conducting research in Prof. William Gelbart’s group. “I was fortunate enough to work with fantastic faculty and student mentors who emphasized independent work, and by the end of summer I was given sole responsibility to develop and work on a new project. The opportunity to focus only on research in a workplace environment allowed me to become comfortable with a range of technical and professional skills that will help me through the rest of my undergraduate and graduate studies. This program showed me how much I enjoy the methodical problem-solving employed in labs, and has led me to consider science graduate work instead of purely professional options post-graduation.”
On Thursday, August 17, 2017 a poster session for the UCLA Summer Programs for Undergraduate Research (SPUR) will take place from 2:00-5:00pm (Session A: 2-3 PM, Session B: 3:30-4:30 PM) in Young Hall 4222. This poster session will be the culminating experience for our eight week visiting student researchers in SPUR programs. The poster session for SPUR students in the 10 week program will take place on Wednesday, August 30 from 2:00-5:00pm (Session A: 2:00-3:00 PM, Session B: 3:00-4:00 PM, Session C: 4:00 – 5:00 PM) in Young Hall 4222.  Please be sure to stop by and support our visiting summer undergraduate researchers!

DSC 6752 0
(From left) Amgen Scholar Claire Page, Raymond & Dorothy Wilson Research Scholar Miles Savage, Alumni Research Scholar John Kozlowski, Clare Boothe Luce Scholar Selena Hernandez, and Guan Wang, Raymond & Dorothy Wilson Research Scholar. 

UGRec07 2
(Left) Chair Catherine Clarke with CSST Scholars Hongya Zhu and Jiaqi Shen. (Right) Professor Anne Andrews with 2017 Whitcome Research Scholar Xinyi Cheng.

UGRec07 1
(Left) Vice Chair of Undergraduate Education Professor Yung-Ya Lin speaks with CSST scholars Jianghan Wu, Yunqi Yang, and Honghao Song. (Right) Sarah Tolbert Lab members – TANMS Scholar Courtnee Plumbar, graduate student mentor Ty Karaba, and TANMS Scholar Connie Valles.
DSC 6769 0

Visiting CSST scholars with Professor Sarah Tolbert (center) Ziwei Yu, Xing Yuan, Yaqing Huang, and Keyu Zeng.

UGRec07 6

(Left) Professor Ken Houk (center) with visiting CSST Scholars Wenjing Wei and Hao Yu.  (Right) Chair Catherine Clarke talks with visiting CSST Scholars Yao Yan and Yunqi Yang

DSC 6739

Professor William Gelbart visits with (from left) CSST Scholars Xincheng Xu, Changhao Xu, Sichen Yang, Honghao Song, and Wei Wenjing.

Photos by Penny Jennings, UCLA Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.