A Pipeline of Future Scientists

Since 2007, three cohorts of six Project GRAD Scholars have participated in UCLA’s Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Pre-college Science Education Program. This pioneering program engages underrepresented minority high school students in an intensive, experiential curriculum to learn cell and molecular biological research while working closely with UCLA professors and Ph.D. students who serve as both teachers and mentors.

HHMI_Scholars.jpg(Project GRAD HHMI Fellows on their way to the AAAS meeting. Photo by Eliana Mendoza)

Components of this two-year program include a course taught by a faculty member in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, an in-class laboratory session where students practice molecular biology techniques, and a take-home, kitchen-style laboratory project where students can work with their families to demonstrate a particular scientific concept.

As a capstone activity, the students present a scientific poster in a judged student competition held at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Pacific Division meeting each year.

At this year’s meeting held at UC Riverside this past weekend, Project GRAD Scholars Sierra Balatan and Nancy Silva received a Student Award of Excellence, taking Second Place in the Cell and Molecular Biology Section. Sierra is heading up to Cal this fall while Nancy will be attending UCLA. Congratulations to Sierra and Nancy!

Project GRAD Los Angeles is proud to partner with UCLA’s School of Dentistry and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

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