CGSO Spotlight

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UCLA Organization for Cultural Diversity in Chemistry was the featured Chemistry Graduate Student Organization (CGSO) in the August 2014 issue of the ACS Graduate & Postdoctoral Chemist.

Excerpts from the article

What are the goals and objectives for your CGSO? 
[UCLA Organization for Cultural Diversity in Chemistry (OCDC)] is a group of graduate students with a vision and passion to lead and promote diversity in the science. Our purpose is to provide an all-inclusive community of highly educated individuals to advance to influential science related positions in industry and academia, while simultaneously mentoring the younger generation of underrepresented minorities. Through our partnership with Procter & Gamble, OCDC provides invaluable networking opportunities by providing student-organized diversity seminars. We continue to build scale within our UCLA chapter by implementing innovative and sustainable outreach programs spanning K-12 to graduate level education, while maintaining excellence in our research careers.”


What are some of the main activities of your CGSO? 
Throughout a representative year, we are engaged in many diverse activities:
1) Our quarterly seminar series, sponsored by Proctor &Gamble, involves OCDC members selecting a professor based on their scientific success and status as a traditionally underrepresented minority to give a research seminar and a diversity seminar at UCLA. The addition of a diversity talk gives the speaker a unique opportunity to describe his/her journey to professorship and any hurdles they have had to overcome to arrive at their present position. This program has brought over 40 professors to UCLA and continues to be one of the most popular seminars and is attended by both faculty and students.
2) We are actively involved in our Los Angeles community through our quarterly community college outreach days. This is a day-long event at UCLA with a group of community college students and OCDC members. The day begins with a session by the Center for College Center Programing (CCCP) on transferring to a four-year college and offers insight into the “life of a transfer student” at UCLA. Following this information session, there are two research talks given by UCLA undergraduates who are currently participating in research and were once transfer students themselves. OCDC then gives laboratory tours of their facilities and ends the day with a panel of graduate and undergraduate students. This program is only one year old and has already brought in four community college groups.
3) We are also partnered with Culver City Middle School and provide in-class chemistry demonstrations to their middle school students. This is a bi-yearly event that allows OCDC members to engage in the K-12 community in Los Angeles. 

The full article is available in the August 2014 issue of the Graduate & Postdoctoral Chemist.

The podcast to the interview is available here.