Graduate student voice in the news

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Materials chemistry PhD student Samantha Theresa Mensah’s interview with Professor Davita Watkins of the University of Mississippi is featured in Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN).

Mensah’s article titled “ONE ON ONE WITH DAVITA L. WATKINS – Grad student Samantha Theresa Mensah talks with this supramolecular chemist about the collaborations central to her chemistry” was published in the February 22, 2021 issue of the weekly news magazine published by the American Chemical Society.

“It was really an honor to get to interview and highlight Professor Davita Watkins, a true heroine of supramolecular chemistry,” said Mensah. “The interview made me even more confident that Black women will continue to be an integral part in the progression of chemistry and the sciences as a whole.”

A fourth-year materials chemistry graduate student, Samantha T. 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. 

Mensah is co-founder of #BlackInChem, which is a group of graduate students from around the nation working to amplify the voices of Black scientists. This #BlackinX movement was a runner-up for Science’s 2020 Breakthrough of the Year.  She and other UCLA staff have organized a fundraising campaign to raise $100K to endow an annual UCLA lectureship series to celebrate Black chemists and biochemists.  In August 2020, C&EN featured an article about #BlackInChem week.  Mensah can be followed on Twitter at @blackinthelab.

Penny Jennings, UCLA Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry,