UCSB Symposium Showcases ‘Next Generation' Research In Science and Engineering by Outstanding Minority Students

This weekend (March 1 and 2) UC Santa Barbara will host the 2008 UC LEADS Research Symposium, a prestigious annual event that showcases the academic research of advanced undergraduate researchers from across the University of California system.

The UC LEADS program – the name stands for University of California Leadership Excellence through Advanced Degrees – provides educational and research opportunities for underrepresented minority students pursuing careers in science, technology and engineering, and mathematics. Students accepted into the program work with a UC faculty mentor to develop original and meaningful scientific research. At this weekend's conference, more than 100 students will present their research findings to their peers, professors, and other leaders in the UC academic and scientific community.

The event, which is sponsored by the KORET Foundation, will be held in Corwin Pavilion on the UCSB campus.

The conference's keynote speakers include Camellia Owens, National Institutes of Health Science and Technology Policy Fellow, and Stephen Mayo, professor of biology and chemistry at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech).

"I'm very excited to be able to present my research in public," said UCSB student and UC LEADS participant Christian Cortes. "We have all worked so hard on our projects over the last year; it will be nice to share our research findings with other UC students and faculty."

Monique Limón, director of the UC LEADS program at UCSB, is also excited about the chance for students to network with UC professors in their respective fields. "UC LEADS is a fantastic program for the students, and the Annual Symposium is a wonderful event. In addition to the workshops that will help these student scholars prepare for graduate school and professional careers, I'm especially excited about our keynote speakers, who can provide students with an example of people of color at the top of their fields in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics."

Keynote speaker Camiella Owens is a Science and Technology Policy Fellow at the National Institutes of Health, the primary federal agency for conducting and supporting medical research. After receiving a doctorate at the University of Delaware in chemical engineering, Owens held several prestigious positions including Visiting Scholar in the Doyle Group for Chemical Engineering at UCSB, and a U.S. Congressional Science and Engineering research fellowship. Her current research focuses on models of engineering education as it pertains to recruitment and retention of high school and middle school children.

Stephen Mayo, a member of the Caltech faculty since 1992, heads the Mayo Lab for Research in Biology and Chemistry and is a former Miller Fellow at UC Berkeley. In 2004, Mayo was elected to the National Academy of Sciences for his pioneering contributions to the field of protein design. Mayo has worked for the last several years on a system for designing, building, and testing proteins with novel biochemical properties.

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