PhD student co-founds BlackInChem movement

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Mensah Samantha headshot

PhD student Samantha Mensah (Andrews/P Weiss labs) co-organizes #BlackInChem week to create dialogue and amplify the work of other Black researchers on Twitter.

#BlackInChem was organized by six graduate students, postdocs and professionals from around the country. The movement includes a week of virtual events that facilitate networking, sharing stories, and exploring the challenges people of color face while studying and working in chemistry and related fields. Everyone is encouraged to engage, amplify, and support Black researchers during this week-long celebration.

A 3rd 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. She received a master’s degree in materials chemistry in 2019 from UCLA. 

Mensah Samantha Twitter

Mensah and fellow chemistry graduate student Priera Panescu (Maynard group) recently wrote an Op-ed piece about the need for diversity and representation in the Physical Sciences, which was published in the UCLA student newspaper the 

Daily Bruin


Several high profile people have tweeted about #BlackInChem week including Nobel Laureate Francis Arnold, music legend MC Hammer, and actor Michael B. Jordan.

From ACS Axial:

Elevate Black Voices in Chemistry During #BlackInChem Week

A group of black scientists is coming together to create conversation and elevate the work of other black researchers on Twitter during #BlackInChem week. ACS Publications encourages everyone to engage, amplify, and support black researchers during this week-long celebration.

Each day of the event has a particular focus. Join in the #BlackinChem conversation by logging onto Twitter between August 10 and 16, and participating in any of the following themed discussions.

Monday, August 10: Analytical Chemistry

Discuss your favorite analytical technique and share your research using the hashtags #BlackinChem and #BlackinAnalytical.

Tuesday, August 11: Biological Chemistry

Talk about your favorite protein and share your research using the hashtags #BlackinChem and #BlackinBiological. Then students can join the #Undergrad101 discussion at 5 P.M. ET. RSVP at

Wednesday, August 12: Inorganic Chemistry

Have a conversation about your favorite transition metal and share your research using the hashtags #BlackinChem and #BlackinInorganic. Relax in the evening with a favorite beverage and join the hashtag #BlackChemWineDown at 6 P.M. ET. RSVP at:

Thursday, August 13: Organic Chemistry

Tell the world about your favorite purification technique and share your research using the hashtags #BlackinChem and #BlackinOrganic. Then at 5 P.M. ET, join in an elevator speech contest. A winner will receive a complimentary registration to the ACS Fall 2020 National Meeting. RSVP here:

Friday, August 14: Physical Chemistry

Trade your favorite equations and constants and share your research using the hashtags #BlackinChem and #BlackinPhysical.

Saturday, August 15: Finale

Finish the week with a Zoom call discussion, which you can live tweet with the hashtags #BlackinChem and #BlackChemJourney. RSVP here:

The event is being co-organized/co-founded by Emory University Ph.D. Student Ayanna Jones, Marie Curie Research Fellow Dr. Natércia Rodrigues Lopes, UCLA Ph.D. Candidate Samantha T. Mensah. NSBP Associate Kathleen Muloma, Ohio State University Ph.D. Candidate Devin Swiner, NASA-GSFC Intern Ashley Walker, and Heidi Nelson-Quillin, Research Scientist at Azimuth Corporation.


Penny Jennings, UCLA Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry,