Advancing excellence through faculty diversity

Fellows in the news

Asmeret Asefaw Berhe nominated to lead the Department of Energy Office of Science

Asmeret Asefaw Berhe, a Biogeochemist at UC Merced, has been nominated by President Biden to be the director of the Department of Energy’s Office of Science. Dr. Berhe researches the interactions between organic matter in the soil and environmental shifts such as climate change. In addition to Berhe’s climate expertise, Biden’s announcement also highlights Berhe’s commitment to diversity and equity in the geosciences. In 2018, the National Academies selected her as a member of its first cohort of  New Voices in Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The initiative engages outstanding early-career Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (SEM) leaders to provide new perspectives on issues and public communication modes for the National Academies, and to help identify and try out activities designed to expand the diversity of expertise that is engaged in the convening and advisory functions of the National Academies. In 2019, the Carnegie Corporation named her as one of its Great Immigrants, an honor it awards annually to naturalized U.S. citizens for their contributions to “the progress of American society.” Pending Senate confirmation, Dr. Berhe will be the first person of color to lead the Office of Science.

Read more about Dr. Berhe here.


Photo Courtesy of UC Merced

Cecilia Menjívar elected President of the American Sociological Association

Cecilia Menjívar was recently elected president of the American Sociological Association (ASA).  The ASA is a professional organization with more than 12,000 members that seek to advance the science and profession of sociology.  Currently president-elect, Dr. Menjívar will assume the new office in August 2021. 

Professor Menjívar is also the 2014 recipient of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Guggenheim Award that supported the writing of her book, Living with the Law in Arizona: Immigrants’ Everyday Encounters With and Through Law, based on her longitudinal study of Central American immigration to Phoenix, Arizona. 

In 2017, Professor Menjívar was named an Andrew Carnegie Fellow. The Andrew Carnegie Fellows Program recognizes a select group of extraordinary scholars and writers who receive philanthropic support for high-caliber scholarly research in the humanities and social sciences that addresses important and enduring issues confronting our society.  Professor Menjívar holds the Dorothy L. Meier Social Equities Chair in the Department of Sociology at UCLA. 

Read more about Dr. Menjívar here.


Photo Courtesy of UC Davis

David Stein co-authors Op-ed with Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley

Op-ed: The Fed has a ‘responsibility’ to help reduce high unemployment in the Black community. “As we assess the economic and social crisis that started this fire, we must also confront the history, the kindling and the institutions that have fanned its flames.” Ayanna Pressley is serving as the U.S. Representative for Massachusetts's 7th congressional district since 2019.  David Stein is a UC President’s Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of African American Studies at UCLA. He is the author of the forthcoming book, Fearing Inflation, Inflating Fears: The Civil Rights Struggle for Full Employment and the Rise of the Carceral State, 1929-1986.  

Read the full article co-authored by David Stein.

David Stein

Jeanelle K. Hope examines Black Anti-Facism in ESSENCE

Jeanelle K. Hope is an activist-scholar and Assistant Professor of Comparative Race and Ethnic Studies. She writes and conducts research on Black social movements, Afro-Asian solidarity, Black girlhood, and Black art and cultural production. Dr. Hope’s article, “Black Antifa AF: The Enduring Legacies of Black Anti-Fascism” appeared in ESSENCE (June 2020 issue). “As Black people waging a battle for our very lives, we must remember that our freedom is tied to the fall of fascism, and that many antifa protestors are working alongside our movements as allies.” 

Read the full article by Jeanelle Hope.

Jeanelle Hope

Photo courtesy of UC Davis

Amrah Salomón J. discusses Indigenous politics and border abolition on popular radio podcasts

President's Postdoctoral Fellow Amrah Salomón J. is featured on several recent podcasts discussing Indigenous political issues. Salomón critically questions the rising popularity of Indigenous Land Acknowledgments in the Podcast Acknowledge This!  She also speaks to Indigenous Action Media in a zine and a podcast and Counter Spin Radio on the topic of Indigenous Peoples' Day and how Indigenous activists use the day for direct action to address ongoing colonialism versus how the holiday is being branded as a depoliticized symbol of cultural celebration. Salomón J. also spoke to The Red Nation about the movement to protect O'odham sacred sites and communities from border violence.

Amrah Salomón J.

Sassoum Lo featured in UC Davis Plant Breeding Center newsletter

Sassoum Lo, UC Davis Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellow in Plant Sciences is featured in the Plant Breeding Center Post Doc Spotlight.  As a plant geneticist, Dr. Lo’s research focuses on the development of climate-resistant cowpea (Vigna unguiculata), one of the most important food and nutritional security crops. To date, nine lines resulting from Dr. Lo’s research have been tested for yield performance in California and Senegal. “I realized that improving agricultural efficiency could improve the lives of smallholder farmers, whose livelihoods depend fully on crop production. I decided then to pursue a career in agricultural research."

Read more about Dr. Lo and her research.

              Sassoum Lo

Giovanni Batz defends Central American Indigenous communities

Giovanni Batz is a President’s Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Native American Studies at UC Davis and author of the forthcoming book tentatively titled The Fourth Invasion: Decolonial Histories, Mega Projects, and Ishio Maya Resistance in Guatemala. Giovanni Batz discusses Indigenous Communities on the Frontline as Two Climate Change-Fueled Hurricanes Slam Central America in the aftermath of Hurricane Iota and Hurrican Eta in an interview hosted by Democracy Now! “It’s caused a lot of damages to the most vulnerable peoples, which tends to be Indigenous peoples, Afro-descendants and Black communities all across Central America,” says Batz, who has been in touch with people reeling from Hurricane Eta.

Listen to the full interview by Giovanni Batz.

Giovanni Batz

Christina Termini awarded Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center Dr. Eddie Méndez Award

Christina M. Termini, President's Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Hematology and Oncology at UCLA, is one of nine recipients of the 2020 Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center Dr. Eddie Méndez Award, for “substantial contributions to both research and to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in science”. The Fred Hutchinson Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion honored Dr. Termini at a symposium where she presented her research detailing the identification of a novel regulator of hematopoietic stem cells. 

Read more about Dr. Termini’s work.

               Christina Termini

Vivian U provided first access to NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope

Vivian U is a member of one of 13 teams being afforded access to NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope.  As the successor to the Hubble Space Telescope, Webb is expected to be the world’s premier space science observatory once it is launched into orbit in 2021.  U will use the telescope’s advanced, high-resolution infrared capabilities to peer through the shroud of dust created by merging galaxy systems.  “I’m interested in delving into the detailed interplay between the supermassive black hole and its surrounding stars, gas and dust in nearby merging and active galaxies, and assessing the role that this interaction plays in deciding how galaxies evolve.”  Vivian U is an Assistant Research Scientist in Physics and Astronomy at UC Irvine.

Read More About Dr. U’s work.


Alex Frañó awarded Cottrell Scholar Award

Alex Frañó is the recipient of the 2021 Cottrell Scholar Award.  The Cottrell Scholar Award honors and helps to develop outstanding teacher-scholars who are recognized by their scientific communities for the quality and innovation of their research programs and their academic leadership skills.  Professor Frañó’s proposal objective is to create an analogous lattice using X-ray beams that modify electrons at the Angstrom scale.  Additionally, the project will support the development of creative approaches to undergraduate physic education and focus on a new format for a graduate admissions test.

Read more about Professor Frañó's work.


     Photo Courtesy of UC San Diego

Nicole Sparks named 2021 NIH Mosaic Scholar

Nicole Sparks is named amongst first cohort of the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB) scholars for the Maximizing Opportunities for Scientific and Academic Independent Careers (MOSAIC) K99/R00 program.  An initiative funded by the National Institutes of Health,

MOSAIC facilitates the transition of promising postdoctoral researchers from diverse backgrounds into independent faculty careers at research-intensive institutions.  Dr. Spark’s postdoctoral research is focused on the changes in stem cell fate due to toxicant exposure that associates with skeletal developmental toxicity. 

Read more about Nicole Sparks' work.


    Photo Courtesy of NIH

Marissa Tremblay receives Geological Society of America award

Marissa Tremblay is the recipient of the 2020 Doris M. Curtis Outstanding Woman in Science Award granted by the Geological Society of America.  The award is bestowed to a woman who has impacted the field of geosciences in a major way based on her Ph.D. research.   Additionally, Dr. Tremblay is the 2020 recipient of the Marion Milligan Mason Award for Women in the Chemical Sciences by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.  The Mason award supports early-career scientists who are selected for the potential of their research to advance knowledge and understanding in their field and beyond and to benefit society.

Read the Citations Here and Here.


Photo Courtesy of The Geological Society of America

Maywa Montenegro documents the food system in the pandemic

Maywa Montenegro, Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies at UC Santa Cruz, is featured in a UCSC News article highlighting a new project documenting the role of the food system in the pandemic and exploring how lessons from the abolition movement could position agroecology to bring about transformative change. Her findings are now published in The Journal of Peasant Studies.  “In bringing people together and joining communities that often are siloed across urban and rural boundaries, we can actually recognize that they have shared commitments and shared ideas about building a better world,” she said. “That’s so exciting to me. It's that kind of thing that I want to carry forward, and it definitely is going to affect my future work.”

Read more about Dr. Montenegro's work here. 


Photo Courtesy of UC Santa Cruz

Yve Chavez, Tongva Historian joins UC Faculty

Yve Chavez, one of two Tongva descendents to receive a PhD from UCLA joins UC as an Assistant Professor in History of Art and Visual Cultural Department (HAVC) at UC Santa Cruz.  Dr. Chavez’s work focuses on the Chumash and Tongva artistic legacies in southern Californian missions. “Native people were doing a lot of important work in the missions and what is seen in terms of the architecture and the art could very well be the product of native hands….California architecture is very unique and not a carbon copy of what you see in Spain. I’m trying to break down that whole Spanish fantasy heritage that infiltrated the study of mission art.” 

Read more about Dr. Chavez’ work.

     Yve Chavez

Photo Courtesy of UC Santa Cruz

Dwight McBride appointed President of The New School

Dwight A. McBride has been appointed as the ninth President of The New School.  A leading scholar of race and literary studies, Dr. McBride has published award-winning books, essays, articles, and edited volumes that examine connections between race theory, black studies, and identity politics. He is a two-time Lambda Literary Award winner as well as the recipient of the Monette/Horowitz Trust 2003 Achievement Award for independent research combating homophobia. His research has been supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Prior to his appointment at The New School, Dr. McBride was the provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs at Emory University.

Read the full announcement about Dwight McBride.

Dwight McBride

Photo courtesy of The New School

Caitlin “Katie” Keliiaa identified as a UC Berkeley Native Leader and Scholar

Caitlin “Katie” Keliiaa receives distinction as a UC Berkeley Native Leader and Scholar for her contributions to support Native and underrepresented students in the Cal community.  Dr. Keliiaa, attended UC Berkeley as an undergrad and as a PhD student in Ethnic Studies. She was also a member of the Native American Recruitment and Retention Center.  As a graduate student, Dr. Keliiaa served as a Program Organizer for Pathways to Success mentorship program, served as a Writing Coach for the Jumpstart Program, and is a former member of the Native American Student Development Advisory Board.  Dr. Keliiaa is currently Assistant Professor of Feminist Studies at UC Santa Cruz.

Read more about Dr. Keliiaa’s work.

Caitlin “Katie” Keliiaa

Photo courtesy of UC Berkeley

Aomawa Shields has research on terrestrial climates featured in NOVA

Professor Aomawa Shields, Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy at UC Irvine, is featured in an AAS Nova article highlighting a new study on terrestrial climates. Dr. Shields uses detailed 3D global climate models, to determine how the climate of an Earth-like planet orbiting a host start is affected by the type of star the planet orbits.  Read the NOVA article here or read the American Astronomical Society journal article here.  

"As we continue to discover more planets around a variety of stars, a constant question is whether these distant worlds have the potential to support life. Understanding how these planets’ global climates are shaped by their host stars is an important part of this exploration!” Dr. Shields’s exoplanet climate research is also featured in Adler Planetarium’s Online Exhibit “Life on Other Worlds.”

Aomawa Shields

Photo courtesy of UC Irvine

Justin Dunnavant featured on HULU’s “Your Attention Please”

Justin Dunnavant is featured on HULU’s “Your Attention Please”.  In the episode, Dr. Dunnavant discusses his path to archeology, his field work in the African diaspora and how by studying articfacts from the past, “…we have to completely reconfigure and re-think how it is that we understand Black history in America.” Dr. Dunnavant states, “Once we uncover what it is that has been damaged, distorted, or lost, we can begin to think about restoring some of those things. And for me that’s the exciting part.” Dr. Dunnavant is an Assistant Professor in Anthropology at UCLA. 

Watch Dr. Dunnavant beginning at 24:27, or the full episode here.

Justin Dunnavant

Stacy Copp Receives NSF Grant to Develop Nanomaterials

Stacy Copp, Assistant Professor of Materials Science & Engineering and Physics & Astronomy at UC Irvine, has received a research grant from the National Science Foundation to develop new fluorescent nanomaterials for applications in noninvasive deep tissue imaging.  Copp proposes to develop brightly fluorescent biolabels that release NIR light by exploiting a class of promising tunable nanomaterials called DNA-templated silver clusters. “I am very enthusiastic to launch this research effort at UCI and am especially excited about the potential to translate our materials innovations into enabling tools for biomedical research.” 

Read more about Dr. Copp’s research.


Photo courtesy of UC Irvine

Renee Hudson awarded Woodrow Wilson career enhancement Fellowship

Renee Hudson, Assistant professor of English at Chapman University, is a 2020 recipient of the Woodrow Wilson Career Enhancement Fellowship. Dr. Hudson specializes in Latinx and Multiethnic American literature and is currently at work on a project that considers the hemispheric role of revolution in shaping Latinx literature. Funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and administered by the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, the fellowship seeks to increase the presence of minority junior faculty members and other faculty members committed to eradicating racial disparities in core fields in the arts and humanities.

Read more about Dr. Hudson.


Photo courtesy of University of Michigan

Ayana Flewellen and Justin Dunnavant featured in SCIENCE and National Geographic

SCIENCE features the research of Dr. Ayana Flewellen and Dr. Justin Dunnavant for their work on preserving the lived experiences of enslaved Africans on Estate Little Princess in St. Croix.  Eventually, Dunnavant and Flewellen plan to document every step in the lives of the enslaved Africans who lived at Estate Little Princess, beginning with the ships that brought them to the port of Christiansted.  National Geographic features their work with the Slave Wrecks Project, researching maritime heritage sites related to the Transatlantic Slave-Trade through Diving with a Purpose. 

Dr. Ayana Flewellen, PPFP Fellow in Anthropology at UC Berkeley, is also the recipient of the 2019 Wenner-Gren Anthropology Research Grant to continue her work at Estate Little Princess.  View Dr. Flewellen’s talk on Black Feminist Archelogy of Adornment at the National Museum Of Women In The Arts here.

Dr. Dunnavant, former PPFP Fellow and current Academic Pathways Postdoctoral Fellow at Vanderbilt University, is also featured in the Netflix TV series “Explained” discussing the relationship between pirates and the slave trade. Dr. Dunnavant will begin his position as Assistant Professor of Anthropology at UCLA next year while Dr. Flewellen will begin her new position as Assistant Professor of Anthropology at UC Riverside in the Fall.

Ayana Flewellen and Justin Dunnavant

Ayana Flewellen and Justin Dunnavant

Kelly Lytle Hernández named MacArthur Genius

UCLA professor Kelly Lytle Hernández, an award-winning author and scholar of race, mass incarceration and immigration, was announced... [today] as a recipient of a prestigious MacArthur Fellowship from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

Lytle Hernández, who is a professor of history and African American studies, is the director of UCLA’s Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies, which under her leadership has focused on supporting research into two critical themes in the modern black world — work and justice.

“As a scholar, I both work deeply alone and deeply in community, but until very recently the scholarly communities I’ve worked in — immigration and the carceral state — have been fairly separate,” said Lytle Hernández, who holds the Thomas E. Lifka Chair in History at UCLA. “I hope my work has helped people understand immigration as another aspect of mass incarceration in the United States and that my award further helps people understand that these two regimes are intertwined. This award will help us continue this work across communities and shine a light on this kind of thinking that unites these two crises that others often see as distinct.”  Read the full story about Kelly Lytle Hernandez. (Courtesy of UCLA Newsroom) 

                   Kelly Lytle Hernández   

Photo: John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation - used with permission

Roxanne Beltran asserts field courses can diversify STEM

Roxanne Beltran has published research that reveals taking a field course dramatically improves academic achievement among undergraduates who are underrepresented minorities, first-generation college students, or face financial need.  If such undergraduates took a field course, the study finds, they are more likely to graduate and earn degrees in biology than peers who took only lecture courses.  The findings point to field classes as a much-needed means to diversify STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields. "Diversity in STEM fields is critical," said Beltran. "Scientists can help solve global challenges like disease outbreaks and climate change. But we can't do that without the diversity of ideas that comes from diverse experiences. Our success is tied unequivocally to the diversity of the scientists doing the work.”  Roxanne Beltran will join the UCSC faculty as an Assistant Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.

Read more about Roxanne Beltran on UCSC newsroom

Roxanne Beltran

Photo Courtesy of National Geographic

Ma Vang awarded 2020-21 Whiting Public Engagement Fellowship

Ma Vang, Assistant Professor of History and Critical Race and Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Merced, is the recipient of the 2020-21 Whiting Public Engagement Fellowship.  The Whiting Public Engagement Fellowship supports ambitious public-facing humanities projects with $50,000 to support a public facing project.  Professor Vang will use the fellowship to launch the Refugee Teaching Institute, a series of public workshops facilitated by scholars and educators that will bring high school teachers together with refugee communities to collaborate on lesson plans that reflect refugees’ histories and culture.  The work will also incorporate the dispossession of indigenous Miwok and Yokut peoples and the relocation to the region of African-Americans from the U.S. South.

Read more about Professor Vang’s project here

Ma Vang

Adeyemi Adebiyi proves current climate models underestimate global warming

Adeyemi Adebiyi has published research in the journal Science Advances asserting current climate models significantly underestimate the amount of dust particles in the air that contribute to global warming.  His research shows there are about four times more large dust particles in the atmosphere than most climate models currently simulate. These large, coarse particles absorb radiation coming in from the sun and leaving the Earth, trapping that radiation on our planet. “Models have been an invaluable tool for scientists,” Adebiyi said. "But when they miss most of the coarse dust in the atmosphere, it underestimates the impact that this type of dust has on critical aspects of life on Earth, from precipitation to cloud cover to ocean ecosystems to global temperature.”  Dr. Adeyemi Adebiyi is a PPFP Fellow in the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at UC Los Angeles.

Read more about Adeyemi Adebiyi’s findings here

Adeyemi Adebiyi


Steven Pan teaches How to study less and learn more

Steven Pan, Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellow at UCLA is featured in a University of California news article about his memory research.

Working with Tim Rickard, who heads up the Cognition and Cognitive Neuroscience Lab in the UC San Diego Department of Psychology, Pan recently completed his dissertation on what learning science calls “retrieval practice.” In plain English, “retrieval practice” translates to something like “quizzing yourself” or “testing your own memory.” That appears to be one of the most effective things you can do.

With his faculty mentors’ and the department’s blessing, Pan has developed workshops for undergraduate students and a how to effectively study web page on the department website.  Pan also created a one page handout on how to study less and remember more.

“Although effort is very important, it’s not enough to study harder—it’s also important to study smarter,” Pan said. “With effective learning techniques, you can study more efficiently and get better results.”

Read more about Steven Pan’s research.



Christopher Bartley and Lauren Whitehurst awarded UCSF 2019 Grand Rounds Trainee Research Award

President’s Postdoctoral Fellow Christopher Bartley and Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellow Lauren Whitehurst were selected to present their scholarship and research at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Department of Psychiatry Grand Rounds.  The UCSF Psychiatry Grand Rounds Trainee Research Award annually selects trainees conducting notable and advanced research through a competitive application process.  In addition to presenting their scholarship and research at Grand Rounds events, the recipients will receive additional mentorship and guidance from faculty, the opportunity to discuss their work with department leadership, and special recognition at graduation.

Christopher M. Bartley, MD, PhD (fourth-year resident physician in the Adult Psychiatry Residency Training Program, mentored by Samuel Pleasure, MD, PhD) research is entitled, "Identification of Neurotropic Autoantibodies in Humans With Inflammatory and Non-Inflammatory Behavioral and Neuropsychiatric Syndromes".  Lauren Whitehurst, PhD (postdoctoral research scholar, mentored by Wendy Berry Mendes, PhD, and Aric Prather, PhD) research is entitled, "The Impact of Psychostimulants on Sleep-Dependent Memory in Healthy Adults".

Learn more about their research here.


Marie Heffern awarded NIH MIRA R35 Grant and Hartwell Foundation Award

Marie Heffern, Associate Professor in the Department of Chemistry at UC Davis, was recently awarded a NIH MIRA R35 Grant through the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS).  NIGMS-funded scientists investigate how living systems work at a range of levels from molecules and cells to tissues and organs, in research organisms, humans, and populations.

Professor Heffern also earned The Hartwell Foundation 2018 Individual Biomedical Research Award to study metal micronutrient status as a biomarker and treatment target for obesity and metabolic disease. The award supports innovative, early-stage, cutting-edge biomedical research with the potential to benefit children of the United States.  

The NIH MIRA R35 and Hartwell grant supports Professor Heffern’s work on the role of metals in the endocrine system, a field of research she calls metalloendocrinology. “My hypothesis is that metal status might be an early indicator of metabolic disorders,” said Heffern. 

Read UC Davis College of Letters and Science article on Professor Marie Heffern.




Andrea Headley discusses police accountability and profiling by proxy on University of California Television

Andrea Headley, former UC President’s Postdoctoral Fellow at the UC Berkeley Goldman School of Public Policy discusses police accountability and profiling by proxy on UCTV’s In the Arena with Jonathan Stein.  Headley’s research focuses on criminal justice and the relationship between police and the communities they serve.   Dr. Headley states, “The Ideal state for police community relations, is one that is symbiotic in nature.  It’s based on mutuality and mutual respect, trust and cooperation and one in which the community and police are working collaboratively together.”  Andrea Headley is Assistant Professor in the John Glenn College of Public Affairs at The Ohio State University. 

Watch Andrea Headley’s episode.



Leisy Abrego co-authors an examination on the dynamics that shape the life chances and wellbeing of immigrants and their families

Leisy J. Abrego has published her second book entitled Immigrant Families co-authored with Cecilia Menjívar and Leah Schmalzbauer and delves deeply into the structural conditions contextualizing the diverse experiences of contemporary immigrant families in the United States. Immigrant Families highlights the hierarchies and inequities between and within immigrant families created by key axes of inequality such as legal status, social class, gender, and generation. Drawing on ethnographic, demographic, and historical scholarship, the authors highlight the transnational context in which many contemporary immigrant families live, exploring how families navigate care, resources, expectations, and aspirations across borders. Ultimately, the book analyzes how dynamics at the individual, family, and community levels shape the life chances and wellbeing of immigrants and their families.

Leisy Abrego is Professor of Chicana/o Studies at UC Los Angeles where her research and teaching interests are in Central American immigration, Latina/o families, the inequalities created by gender, and the production of “illegality” through U.S. immigration laws.

Immigrant Families is published by Polity Press, 2016




Corey Baker featured on NBC News Learn and Louisville, KY Spectrum News

Corey Baker, Assistant Professor of Computer Science at the University of Kentucky was featured on NBC News Learn profiling his research in opportunistic communication, creating connectivity and establishing connectivity when the internet or the cloud is unavailable. 

In addition to his research at Kentucky University, Professor Baker devotes his time to a new graduate campus visit program he created, that is focused on recruiting underrepresented minorities from across the country to enroll at Kentucky to become future engineers.  Baker asks, “How can we create a diverse sustainable environment; not just for one year or two years, but continue this so that we can solve better engineering problems around the world?”  

View Corey Baker’s segment here.



Douglas Haynes names UC Irvine’s first Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

Douglas M. Haynes, former Vice Provost for Academic Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and has been appointed as the inaugural Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at the University of California, Irvine. As the campus’s Chief Diversity Officer, the Vice Chancellor leads UC Irvine’s quest to be a national model of inclusive excellence.

The Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion serves as Irvine’s senior executive responsible for providing a holistic and integrated vision for all major equity, diversity and inclusion activities on campus and at UC Irvine Health. Dr. Haynes will lead a comprehensive effort to conceptualize, define, assess and cultivate inclusive excellence as an ongoing institutional value and educational asset.

“Doug Haynes has already enriched UCI as Vice Provost with his commitment to recognizing that true excellence honors diversity through not only education and acceptance, but also affirmation,” said Chancellor Howard Gillman. “I have every confidence that as Vice Chancellor, Doug will continue to elevate the Office of Inclusive Excellence and advance diversity and inclusion as fundamental to the objectives of the university.”

Read UC Irvine's press release Vice Chancellor Douglas Haynes.



J. Reid Miller discusses the criminalization of racialized bodies and his new book on Ethics and Race

Professor J. Reid Miller, Associate Professor of Philosophy at Haverford College was joined by famed political activist, author, and scholar Dr. Angela Y. Davis at UC Berkeley’s Chevron Auditorium to discuss the criminalization of racialized bodies and Miller’s recent book Stain Removal: Ethics and RaceStain Removal argues that our perception of a person's actions always entails judgments of the body. It, therefore, challenges modern moral theory's premise that a subject's deeds and not its bodily traits count as primary objects of evaluation. Dr. Miller traces the long history of thought suggesting that embodiments like race can and do signify ethical qualities. He argues that these qualities do not "attach" to subjects from the outside-like a stain on innocent and unraced beings-but are instead what allows us to see people as distinct ethical individuals. The objective of ethics, he shows, is not to determine whether race is good or bad but to illustrate how our "unique" personal traits emerge through our multiple relations to others. The consequence is that it is only through judgments of "skin" and other bodily features that the ethical "content" of subjects can be recognized.

Stain Removal: Ethics and Race is published by Oxford University Press, 2016. 




UC Santa Barabara’s Nadège T. Clitandre provides a full-length interpretive literary analysis on Haitian author Edwidge Danticat

Nadège T. Clitandre has published her first monograph, Edwidge Danticat: The Haitian Diasporic Imaginary.  The book offers a comprehensive analysis of Danticat’s exploration of the dialogic relationship between nation and diaspora.  Using the echo trope to approach Danticat’s narratives and subjects, Dr. Clitandre effectively navigates between the reality of diaspora and imaginative opportunities that diasporas produce. Ultimately, Clitandre calls for a reconstitution of nation through a diasporic imaginary that informs the way people who have experienced displacement view the world and imagine a more diverse, interconnected, and just future.

Nadège Clitandre is an Associate Professor of Global Studies at UC Santa Barbara where she works on theoretical framework s of the African Diaspora, migration and displacement, and transnationalism with a particular focus on Haiti and Haitian diasporic literature.

Edwidge Danticat: The Haitian Diasporic Imaginary is published by University of Virginia Press, 2018.


  Edwidge Danticat coverNadège T. Clitandre

Padmini Rangamani awarded a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientist and Engineers

Padmini Rangamani, Associate Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at UC San Diego, was awarded the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), the highest honor bestowed by the United States Government to outstanding scientists and engineers, acknowledges the contributions made to the advancement of science, technology, education, and mathematics (STEM) education and to community service as demonstrated through scientific leadership, public education, and community outreach.

Rangamani was recognized for her exceptional research accomplishments in the advancement of Theoretical Biophysics in physical biology and medicine, and for fundamental contributions to the physical understanding of lipid bilayers. She was nominated by the Department of Defense.

Read UC San Diego’s press release about Professor Rangamani’s PECASE award.


            Padmini Rangamani

Adela de la Torre Appointed President of San Diego State University

Adela de la Torre has been appointed as the President of San Diego State University. De la Torre becomes the ninth permanent president of SDSU and the first woman to serve in that role. Before joining SDSU, de la Torre served in various leadership roles, at UC Davis culminating in her role as Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs. Adam Day, chair of the SDSU search committee and vice chair of the CSU Board of Trustees, stated that, “Adela is a skilled, student-success focused administrator, and most importantly is a visionary leader. She emerged from a deep pool of candidates as the perfect person to lead the university.”

Read the full story about Adela de la Torre. (Courtesy of SDSU News Center)


             Adela de la Torre

Physicist Flip Tanedo discusses Dark Matter and Dark Energy with

Flip Tanedo participated in a “Facebook Live” interview to discuss the NOVA Wonders episodeWhat’s the Universe Made of?” The discussion, primarily centered on dark matter and dark energy, was live streamed on’s Facebook profile to over 2.6 million Facebook followers. Tanedo’s discussion focused on dark matter – the gravitationally inferred type of matter thought to account for approximately 80 percent of the universe’s mass – as well as his participation in the episode. At UCR, Tanedo spends the bulk of his time thinking about dark matter and theorizing about ways in which new symmetries could be used to understand and search for particles that account for most of the mass in our galaxy.

Read the full story about Flip Tanedo. (Courtesy of UCR Today)


            Flip Tanedo

Speeding the microbial research of genetic engineering

MIT Professor Cullen Buie has long been a part of the micro- and nanotechnologies fields. Following a B.S. in mechanical engineering at Ohio State, Professor Buie was drawn to renewable energy research as a graduate fellow at Stanford and researched carbon nanotube enabled energy devices as a 2008 UC President’s Postdoctoral Fellow. Recently, Professor Buie, the current director of MIT’s Laboratory for Energy and Microsystems (LEMI), has developed a faster way to electroporate cells which makes it possible to insert DNA into bacterial cells 10,000 times faster than the standard procedure. This increase allows genetic engineering researchers to run through variations of their experiments several times faster. Read the full story about Professor Cullen Buie (courtesy of the MIT Technology Review).


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Theresa Jean Ambo one of the first women of Tongva descent to be awarded a UCLA Ph.D.

The graduating class of 2017, nearly 100 years after the founding of UC Los Angeles, sees the first women of Tongva descent awarded UCLA Ph.D.s.  This is a milestone for the campus which was built upon ancestral Tongva land.  Among the awardees is 2017-18 UC President’s Postdoctoral Fellow Theresa Jean Ambo.  This Fall, Ambo will be joining UC San Diego's Department of Education to research "California Tribes and the University: Decolonizing Institutional Relationships and Responsibility".

Read the full story about Theresa Jean Ambo (courtesy of the UCLA Newsroom)

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Professor Aomawa Shields, UC Irvine: Astrobiology’s rising star  

New UC Irvine faculty member Aomawa Shields studies the climate on distant planets. Her aim: find those most likely to host alien life. The UCLA alum is a classically trained actress, a secret "superpower" that helps her make science accessible.

Shields is among a bumper crop of 24 new hires to come to UC this year from the University of California President’s Postdoctoral Fellowship Program, which helps prepare outstanding Ph.Ds for faculty careers. The program has been lauded as a national model for expanding faculty diversity.

She talked to UC Newsroom about the search for ET, the link between art and astrophysics, and her work mentoring middle school girls to create a new generation of star scientists.

Read the full story about Professor Aomawa Shields (courtesy of UC Newsroom)



UC President's Postdoctoral Fellows Symposium Series hosted by UC Merced  

The UC President's Postdoctoral Fellows Symposium Series, hosted by UC Merced, has concluded; however, these wonderful presentations from President's and Chancellor's Postdoctoral Fellows may be revisited at the links listed below.

The President’s and Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellowship Programs are very thankful to UC Merced and, especially, Professors Tanya Golash-Boza and Robin DeLugan for supporting our programs and these outstanding scholars.

UC President's Postdoctoral Fellows Symposium Series - Latina/o & Latin American Studies

UC President's Postdoctoral Fellows Symposium Series – Sustainability

UC President's Postdoctoral Fellows Symposium Series - Indigeneity & Settler Colonialism

UC President's Postdoctoral Fellows Symposium Series - Human Health

UC President's Postdoctoral Fellows Symposium Series - Gender & Sexuality


President Napolitano visits CERN and President's Postdoctoral Fellow Indara Suárez

In February 2016, President Janet Napolitano visited CERN and the Large Hadron Collider. President Napolitano was joined on her tour by President's Postdoctoral Fellow Indara Suárez who shared her research on searching for new physics with same-sign Di-lepton signature at the Large Hadron Collider.


Growing diversity with a fast track to tenure 

The highly successful President's Postdoctoral Fellowship Program was established in 1984 with the aim of increasing the number of women and minority students pursuing academic careers.  It has since become a model for programs at a dozen other colleges and universities, including Harvard, MIT, University of Pennsylvania and other top-tier public institutions.

Today, there are 170 PPFP scientists and scholars among UC faculty.  Roughly 75 percent of all participants have gone on to tenure track positions at a college or university, with more than half joining a UC campus.

Read the full story about PPFP scientists and scholars (courtesy of UC Newsroom)



Fellowship Program Attracts Diverse Postdocs 

The UC San Diego Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellowship Program for Academic Diversity, an extension of the University of California President’s Postdoctoral Fellowship Program, began in 2010 to provide research opportunities, professional development and networking events for outstanding women and underrepresented scholars whose research and service contributes to greater understanding, engagement and access. The program connects diverse postdocs with academic communities that benefit from their diverse perspectives.

An essential goal of both the Chancellor’s and President’s Fellowship programs is to encourage postdocs to seek faculty positions at the University of California; in the past decade, more than 100 have been appointed to tenure-track positions. A hiring incentive is offered—up to five years of salary supplement—to help diversify faculty at all UC campuses.

Read the full story on UC San Diego News Center (courtesy of UC San Diego News Center)



In memoriam: Professor Inés M. Talamantez

On September 27, 2019, Inés M. Talamantez, Professor of Religious Studies at UC Santa Barbara passed away from the effects of rapid onset cancer.    Throughout Dr. Talamantez’s 40 year career, she persisted in fighting for full recognition for herself and for minority peoples in the academy.  Her path breaking scholarship, passionate teaching, and dedicated mentoring set a standard for the now firmly established field of Native American Religions in the US. Dr. Talamantez founded a unit in Native American Religious Traditions within the American Academy of Religion (AAR) upon the passing of American Indian Religious Freedom Act in 1978. This legacy would lead her to her place as a Centennial Scholar and leader within the AAR. She was also a founding member of the Society for the Study of Native American Religious Traditions, a collection of scholars from around the globe who work together to advance the scholarship and recognition of Native peoples in academia.  Over the course of her career, Professor Talamantez has been recognized as a uniquely impactful scholar, receiving awards and recognition for both her community activism and scholarly contributions.

Read a tribute to Professor Inés Talamentez here




In memoriam: Professor Saba Mahmood

Saba Mahmood, Professor of Anthropology at UC Berkeley, passed away on March 10, 2018, from pancreatic cancer.  Professor Mahmood specialized in Sociocultural Anthropology and was a scholar of modern Egypt. Her work is best known for its interrogation of liberal assumptions about the proper boundary between ethics and politics, freedom and unfreedom, the religious and the secular, and agency and submission.  

Mahmood made path-breaking contributions to contemporary debates on secularism, opening up new ways of understanding religion in public life and contesting received assumptions about both religion and the secular.  Against an increasingly shrill scholarship denouncing Muslim societies, she brought a nuanced and educated understanding of Islam into discussions of feminist theory, ethics and politics.  As a scholar and teacher, she embodied and followed strong moral and political principles, offered keen analyses of colonial and capitalist power in her account of secularism’s modernity, and formulated new ways of understanding the subject of feminism, relational subjectivity, religious freedom, religious injury, the rights of religious minorities, and comparative legal analysis of religious and secular family law and sexual regulations.

Read Professor Saba Mahmood's Obituary here




In memoriam: Professor Mark Sawyer  

Mark Q. Sawyer was a Professor of Political Science and African-American Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. He earned his B.A. from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and his Ph.D. in 1999 from the University of Chicago. Dr. Sawyer was a devoted and compassionate advocate for civil rights, justice and equality. He joined the UCLA Department of Political Science in 1999 and co-founded the Race, Ethnicity, and Politics Program. He also played a critical role in the establishment of UCLA’s Department of African American Studies in 2014.

His first book, “Racial Politics in Post-Revolutionary Cuba,” published by Cambridge University Press in 2006, earned critical acclaim and garnered major prizes in his field, including the Ralph J. Bunche Award from the American Political Science Association and the W. E. B. DuBois Award from the National Conference of Black Political Scientists.

His essays have appeared in SOULS, the Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, Journal of Political Psychology, the DuBois Review, Perspectives on Politics, and the UCLA Journal of International and Foreign Affairs.

A champion for access and diversity, Professor Sawyer was also a long-time President’s Postdoctoral Fellowship Program supporter and member of our Faculty Advisory Committee.

Read the full story about Professor Mark Sawyer (courtesy of the UCLA Newsroom)


In memoriam - Professor Horacio Roque Ramírez  

Horacio Roque Ramírez was an Associate Professor of Chicana and Chicano Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He earned his B.A. and M.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles, and his Ph.D. was awarded in Comparative Ethnic Studies from UC Berkeley. Professor Roque Ramírez was a UC President's Postdoctoral Fellow in 2001-2003 (working with Karen Brodkin at UC Los Angeles).

Professor Roque Ramírez’s scholarship focused on the Central American experience in the U.S. He was a scholar of queer sexuality, and a proponent of oral history, a story-teller of the forgotten histories of the marginalized in society, a scholar of the invisible. In recent years, he served as a Los Angeles-based Independent Scholar in the fields of LGBT and Latina/o Studies, with a focus on Central American cultures and immigrations. Professor Roque Ramírez was regarded as an expert on the topic of political asylum with an underlying and consistent focus on gender identity, sexuality, and HIV status as well as domestic and gang-related forms of persecution and violence. Professor Roque Ramírez’s forthcoming single-authored book, Queer Latino San Francisco: An Oral History, 1960s-1990s is the culmination of a decade's worth of oral history and archival research, an ethnographic historical study of the formation and partial destruction of queer Latina and Latino community life in San Francisco for about four decades.

Professor Roque Ramírez was a devoted supporter of the President’s Postdoctoral Fellowship Program, attending Spring Retreats and providing countless hours of advice and humor to new and former fellows.

Read the UC Santa Barbara, Department of Chican@ Studies memorial