Science Graduate Students Set up Mentorship Program

Program that helps students at La Familia Continuation High School in Thermal will launch on Jan. 17

Two students sitting in front of a computer

The UC Riverside chapter of the Association for Women in Science is kicking off a mentorship program with La Familia Continuation High School in Thermal with an event on Jan. 17.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (www.ucr.edu) — The University of California, Riverside chapter of the Association for Women in Science (AWIS) will kick off a mentorship program with La Familia Continuation High School in Thermal with an event from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 17 at UC Riverside.

“This is an effort to promote STEM fields in underrepresented communities and to provide underprivileged youth with tools to continue on to higher education,” said Shirin Mesbah, vice president of the UC Riverside AWIS chapter who is a Ph.D. student in bioengineering.

The Jan. 17 event, which will be held in 302 Highlander Union Building (HUB), will start with a keynote speech by Judge Raquel Marquez-Britsch, the first Latina judge in Riverside and San Bernardino counties.

Then, the 20 high school students and their parents will meet the UC Riverside graduate student mentors and have the chance to ask questions from faculty panelists and college admission representatives. The students will also receive tours of the campus, residence halls and research laboratories.

After the event, the college and high school students will remain in communication via e-mail, Skype and the phone. In addition, mentors will travel to the school once per month to run practical workshops such as SAT/ACT preparation courses and help with college or job applications.

In addition to Mesbah, organizers of the event include Devon Ehnes, a Ph.D. student in cell, molecular and developmental biology; Ana Quezada, a Ph.D. student in bioengineering; Maryam Sarhang Nezhad, a masters student in mechanical engineering; Stefani Andrews, a Ph.D. student in environmental toxicology; and Ariana Elaine Nguyen, a Ph.D. student in material science and engineering.

The event is sponsored by three UC Riverside organizations: the Graduate Division, Office of Student Affairs and the Graduate School of Education.

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