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UC LEADS Undergraduate Research Program Celebrates 20th Anniversary

Photo of UC LEADS participants at their annual symposium
Tuesday, February 25, 2020 (All day)

Two Decades Strong

This year, the University of California Leadership Excellence through Advanced Degrees (UC LEADS) program celebrates its 20th anniversary with the 20th Annual Koret UC LEADS Research and Leadership Symposium on March 7 at UC Irvine, and two reunions. The reunions will take place June 27 in northern California and July 18 in southern California.

In 1999, the University of California followed recommendations from a report of the UC Outreach Task Force to strengthen the extent and quality of UC’s outreach resources for its graduate and professional programs. UC LEADS was proposed as a vehicle for investing in UC undergraduates as a strategy to enhance the diversity of the UC graduate student body, and focused on undergraduates pursuing degrees in science, mathematics, or engineering. The inaugural cohort of UC LEADS scholars was selected in the year 2000.

Each year, each campus chooses on average five undergraduates as UC LEADS scholars. They embark upon a two-year program of scientific research and graduate school preparation guided by individual UC faculty mentors, graduate student mentors, and the local UC LEADS coordinator. UC LEADS scholars have the unique opportunity to spend their second summer of the program conducting research in a lab at another UC campus.

To date, over 1,060 scholars have participated in the UC LEADS program. An impressive 98% of UC LEADS scholars graduate with their undergraduate degree. Of the scholars who have graduated, 73% have either earned degrees in a master’s or doctoral program or are currently enrolled in graduate school.

“We’re really excited for our 20th Anniversary,” says Michele Johnson, the UC LEADS Statewide Director. “Alumni have been asking for ways to remain connected and give back to UC LEADS, and these reunions will be our first step in building an alumni network. Alumni and scholars have so much to share with and learn from each other, so we’re eager for this networking opportunity.”

New Award Announced

In addition to the 20th anniversary reunions, the 20th Annual Koret UC LEADS Research and Leadership Symposium will recognize the first Graduate Deans’ Leadership Awards, funded by the deans of the 10 UC Graduate Divisions. The goal of these awards is to recognize extraordinary leadership exhibited by students during their tenure as UC LEADS scholars.

“We see this anniversary as an opportunity not only to celebrate the tremendous successes of the program but also to recognize and purposely build the UC LEADS community,” said Dr. Carol Genetti, Dean of the UC Santa Barbara Graduate Division and Chair of the systemwide UC LEADS Steering Committee. “Scholars who have gone before succeeded in graduate school, and moved into careers serve as wonderful role models for current scholars. The UC LEADS alumni form a powerful network that supports all and helps junior scholars advance.”

For more information about UC LEADS or the 20th Anniversary celebrations, visit the systemwide UC LEADS website.

For information about the UC Davis UC LEADS program, visit the UC Davis UC LEADS website.

About Graduate Studies

Graduate Studies at UC Davis includes over 100 dynamic degree programs and a diverse and interactive student body from around the world. Known for our state-of-the-art research facilities, productive laboratories and progressive spirit – UC Davis offers collaborative and interdisciplinary curricula through graduate groups and designated emphasis options, bringing students and faculty of different academic disciplines together to address real-world challenges.
UC Davis graduate students and postdoctoral scholars become leaders in their fields: researchers, teachers, politicians, mentors and entrepreneurs. They go on to guide, define and impact change within our global community.

For information on Graduate Studies’ current strategic initiatives, visit the Graduate Studies strategic plan page.