Honoring Dr. Samantha T. Mensah

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Samantha Theresa Mensah

Earlier this year, the department was saddened to announce the passing of Samantha T. Mensah. Sammy was an amazing person and did many remarkable things during her time at UCLA.

We are pleased to share that Sammy will receive her Ph.D. degree posthumously. The diploma will be presented to Sammy’s brother, sister and nephew at the 2023 UCLA Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry Commencement Ceremony, taking place on Saturday, June 17. The ceremony will be live streamed starting at 4:30 pm tomorrow. Click here to view.

In addition, in discussions with Sammy’s family, the department has established the Samantha T. Mensah Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Awards for graduate students. The inaugural Mensah DEI awards were presented at the UCLA Chemistry & Biochemistry Departmental Awards Ceremony, which took place on May 31, 2023.

Inaugural Samantha T. Mensah Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Awardees (from left to right):
Zerina Mehmedović, Hayden Montgomery, Arismel Tena-Meza, AJ Addae, and Caitlyn Fick.

Sammy was a tremendous advocate for diversity and was a co-founder of BlackInChem. To honor Sammy and what she stood for, the UCLA Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry and the UCLA Division of Physical Sciences have committed the funds to establish an endowment to support the types of initiatives Sammy had started here at UCLA. The funds generated from the endowment will be available in perpetuity to host lectures and symposia and to improve the recruiting, supporting, mentoring, and honoring of Black students and researchers.

Sammy is deeply missed by us all and the UCLA Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry is committed to continuing Sammy’s efforts and honoring her legacy.

Office of the Chair, UCLA Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, chair@chem.ucla.edu