The department has been awarded a substantial grant to fund a UCOP-HBCU initiative that will bring talented students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities to the department over the summer.
For three years, starting July 2016, we will collaborate with Howard University, Spelman College, and Clark Atlanta University to invite six students each summer (two from each campus) to participate in the program.
In addition to offering the experience of lab work and participation in scientific research, the grant will provide co-academic programming including workshops on communication, graduate school admissions, exposure to university teaching, and faculty research. The visiting students will also travel to Santa Barbara to visit chemistry labs at UCSB and explore research partnerships with Amgen and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena.
Students will also be able to take advantage of all that the UCLA campus has to offer from mentoring by the Graduate Division to visits to the Hammer Museum and other various recreation facilities.
The proposal was a project of Chair Miguel Garcia-Garibay, Vice Chair Neil Garg, and Director of Graduate Programs and Initiatives, Thomas Cahoon. Cahoon explains the goal of the HBCU pathways program, “The overarching theme of our summer research and graduate admissions pathways program is to build a cohesive relationship between academic and student affairs: working in unison for the goal of diversifying our graduate student population… The significance of our proposal is that African American students are lacking in the STEM majors at an alarming rate, more than other disciplines. At UC, we need programs such as ours to combat this disparity.”
As previously reported, the department launched a pilot program for summer 2015 to determine the viability of the project in the future. Four HBCU students are conducting research in departmental labs. Several chemistry and biochemistry faculty have expressed support for the program and indicated they would welcome future HBCU students to their groups.
The Graduate Admissions Pathways Program is designed to provide participants with a comprehensive view of graduate student life at UCLA. Upon satisfactory completion of the summer program, the department will encourage participants to apply for the Chemistry and Biochemistry, Molecular and Structural Biology programs.