MinorityPostdoc.org is the premier web portal on the minority postdoctoral experience especially in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) disciplines. We feature articles, resources, & events about career advice, professional development, jobs, funding, fellowships, mentoring, and diversity issues. Unless indicated otherwise, all website content is authored by the Editor.
MinorityPostdoc.org is published by the non-profit, DiverseScholar, a project of the fiscal sponsor Community Partners. Our sponsors and partners are listed below. DiverseScholar offers a number of services to diversify the doctoral workforce:
- The Job listings page has many postdoctoral and professional job/opportunity advertisements for all employment sectors: academia, industry, government, non-profit, etc. Potential clients can read our advertisement rate information.
- We accept Institutional Subscriptions for access to our unique Doctoral Directory of diverse doctoral job candidates. This opt-in Directory is derived from individuals in our email contact list who have responded to our internal demographics/career survey. Check out our Postdoc Spotlight feature (below left) of prospective candidates for open positions.
- We maintain an opt-out, internal contact list of over 1,100 diverse postdocs. Client advertisement info is included in our monthly email announcements to this contact list.
- The MinorityPostdoc.org Resources list publicizes for free many opportunities to help doctoral graduate students transition to the postdoctoral stage and both grads/postdocs transition to their first professional position in academia, industry, and other careers.
- We organize or participate in many diversity-related Events. Our professional development sessions educate and mentor doctoral trainees. Our policy and advocacy activities connect institutional diversity stakeholders to the difficult-to-find minority postdoctoral population. Slideshows from some of our past activities are archived on the Presentations page.
- We publish original written works under the brand DiverseScholar. Please submit article ideas by email.
Those interested in diversity postdoctoral issues are encouraged to contact us. Questions regarding any topics including advertising and publishing on this website should be directed to: .
To promote the recruitment, mentoring, and success of minority postdocs thereby catalyzing the diversification of the doctoral workforce.
Minority Postdoc Summit overview
Our inaugural event was the 2004 Minority Postdoc Summit. Postdoctoral research is a critical step in a scientific career. However this stage is often poorly defined resulting in a vulnerable part of a scientist’s career development. Can current diversity postdoctoral fellowships serve as a model for enhancing the training for all postdocs? The 2004 Minority Postdoc Summit provided a forum for postdocs, funding organizations, professional societies, academic institutions, corporations, and other stakeholders to discuss issues, solutions, and outcomes concerning the postdoctoral experience. The long-term goal is to improve the recruitment, mentoring, and success of minority postdocs thereby facilitating the diversification of the scientific workforce. The short-term objective of the Summit was to network and brainstorm among participants to create annual career development opportunities for minority postdocs. The summary of the Diversity breakout session at the 2004 COSEPUP convocation served as talking points for the Summit. Read about the event.
Meet Current MinorityPostdoc.org Team Members
Alberto I. Roca, Ph.D. Founder & Editor, MinorityPostdoc.org & DiverseScholar.org;
Executive Director, DiverseScholar, a project of Community Partners.
Dr. Roca was a Project Scientist in the Biochemistry Department at the University of California, Irvine where he was formerly a UC President’s Postdoctoral Fellow. His research involves using biophysical and bioinformatic approaches to understand the molecular mechanism of recombinational DNA repair. Dr. Roca is a first-generation Peruvian-American born in Houston, Texas. He received his Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has received FASEB/MARC travel awards to present his work at the annual meetings of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, the International Society for Computational Biology (ISCB/ISMB), and the Biophysical Society. At the 2010 ISMB conference, his work received second place in the inaugural Killer App Award competition. The award recognized a novel bioinformatic method for visualizing large multiple sequence alignments.
Dr. Roca received an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation grant that allowed him to organize postdoctoral activities at the SACNAS conference (including the Minority Postdoc Summit) and to create the web portal MinorityPostdoc.org. He founded the SACNAS Postdoc Committee (2005), served on the 2008 SACNAS Program Committee, and co-founded the Diversity Committee of the National Postdoctoral Association (NPA; 2003). Dr. Roca has co-chaired many postdoc-related activities at the SACNAS conferences from 2003 to present. He has been an invited speaker on minority postdoctoral issues at the following conferences: the Compact for Faculty Diversity’s annual Institute on Teaching and Mentoring; the Howard University/UTEP Institute on Preparing for Postdoctoral Experiences in STEM; and the COSEPUP Second Convocation on Enhancing the Postdoctoral Experience. In recognition of his achievements, Dr. Roca has received the UC-Irvine Chancellor’s Living Our Values Award, the SACNAS Distinguished Service to the Society Award, and was a semi-finalist for the Echoing Green Fellowship in 2013, 2014, and 2015. Dr. Roca has volunteered as a FASEB/MARC Peer Mentor and as an Advisor for the NPA and the Understanding Interventions Conference. Since 2010, Dr. Roca has been working full-time helping graduate students transition to postdoc training and helping grads/postdocs transition to professional positions. He accomplishes these activities by working with trainees directly as well as with institutional diversity stakeholders. Finally, Dr. Roca has been writing and editing/publishing original articles under the DiverseScholar brand.
Edward Krug, Ph.D., Volunteer Advisor and past Project Director, NSF grant
Dr. Krug is both an educator and basic science researcher using emerging analytical technologies to study early heart development and the administrator overseeing postdoctoral policies at Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC). He is an Associate Professor in the Department of Regenerative Medicine and Cell Biology at the Medical University of South Carolina, where he also serves as Associate Dean for Postdoctoral Affairs. Originally from Indiana, Dr. Krug is proud of the Cherokee spirit that he inherited from his great grandmother. Dr. Krug received his doctorate in biochemistry from Purdue University, with postdoctoral training in cell and developmental biology at both Texas Tech University and the Medical College of Wisconsin. Dr. Krug is in charge of all training in the Responsible Conduct of Research for summer undergraduates and health professionals, graduate students, and postdocs at MUSC. He leads two postdoctoral career development programs designed to provide undergraduates at HBCU/MSI institutions direct interaction with mid-stage researchers. The IRACDA program (funded by the MORE Division of NIGMS) is a specific collaborative effort between MUSC and Claflin University, but the PACD program is open to postdocs at any of the three research-intensive institutions in South Carolina matching scholars to any of 5 undergraduate HBCU/MSI campuses. Both programs combine a traditional postdoctoral research experience with the development of pedagogical and time management skills through teaching assignments at a minority-serving institution. Dr. Krug has led numerous career development sessions at MUSC, teaches a grant writing course to graduate students and postdocs, and has presented various best practices talks and posters at conferences such at SACNAS and the National Postdoctoral Association. In 2010, Dr. Krug was Project Director on a grant from the National Science Foundation that supports activities organized by the volunteers listed on this page. Dr. Thompkins has been a presenter at multiple DiverseScholar sessions such as at professional development activities at SACNAS.
Emil T. Chuck, Ph.D., Volunteer Advisor
Dr. Chuck is Director of Admissions of the School of Dental Medicine at Case Western Reserve University. Previously, he was the Health Professions Advisor and Term Assistant Professor of Microbiology and Molecular Biology at George Mason University. An active member of the National Association of Advisors in the Health Professions, Dr. Chuck oversees and advises over 350 undergraduate students, post-baccalaureates, and alumni who intend to pursue careers in health professional careers. Dr. Chuck is originally from Shreveport, Louisiana, and is of Chinese descent. He received his bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering at Duke University and his doctoral degree in cell biology from Case Western Reserve University. In his postdoctoral training at Metrohealth Medical Center, Duke University Medical Center, and Mt. Sinai Medical Center, he has been interested in the maintenance of electrical function in the heart during embryonic development and in heart failure models. More recently, Dr. Chuck has been working as an advocate in scientific education and workforce development and is a frequent presenter at regional and national conferences focusing on graduate and professional training. He founded postdoctoral researchers’ organizations at Case Western Reserve University and Duke, and has been an active participant with the Science Careers Forum (advisor from 2008-2010). In 2007, Dr. Chuck was co-chair of the Diversity Committee of the National Postdoctoral Association and served on the Postdoctoral Core Competencies working group. Dr. Chuck organized the career development panel “Tell Me About Yourself: The One Minute Biosketch” at the SACNAS national conference.
Sibby Anderson-Thompkins, Ph.D., Volunteer Advisor
Dr. Thompkins serves as Director of Postdoctoral Affairs at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She brings more than fifteen years experience in academic advising and student affairs administration. Her expertise is in serving and supporting the success of women, internationals, and underrepresented minority undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdoctoral scholars. Previously, Dr. Thompkins served as Assistant Dean of Students and Assistant Dean in the Office of Student Academic Counseling at UNC. In addition, she served as an associate dean of student affairs at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts. Prior to her return to UNC, she served as a clinical faculty member in education and as the Assistant Dean of the College at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia. Dr. Thompkins is a third generation college-educated African-American raised in North Carolina, with a long family legacy of Black educators. Presently, Dr. Thompkins serves on UNC’s Provost Council on Diversity Pipeline Programs and the Provost Committee on LGBTQ Life. On the national level, she has been an active member of the National Postdoctoral Association (NPA) serving on the Diversity Committee, the NPA’s first Diversity Officer, and the Advisory Group for the NPA ADVANCE Project: From Postdoc to Faculty: Transition Issues for Women Scientists. Dr. Thompkins has been a presenter at multiple DiverseScholar sessions such as professional development activities at SACNAS and postdoctoral advocacy talks at the NPA.
Cynthia-Lou Coleman, Ph.D., Volunteer Advisor
Dr. Coleman is a Professor of Communication at Portland State University in Oregon. Her research is on how science is communicated in mass media channels and with a special interest in how issues that engage indigenous peoples reveal social values. Coleman’s research examines native perspectives and mainstream scientific discourse that unfold in such controversies as the unearthing of Kennewick Man, fishing rights in the U.S. Pacific Northwest, and mine construction on Indian lands. She has held fellowships at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and serves as an associate editor for the journal Science Communication. Coleman teaches theory and research methods and is currently chair of the Department of Communication. She is an enrolled member of the Osage (Wah-sha-she) Tribe. Dr. Coleman spoke on the panel “Broadening the Participation of Underrepresented Populations in Online Science Communication & Communities” at the ScienceOnline2012 conference as well as on “Blogging and Twitter Fundamentals: Promoting Your Science Online” at the SACNAS 2012 conference. In 2014 & 2015, Dr. Coleman served as a reviewer for the DiverseScholar Science Communication (SciComm) Diversity travel fellowship.
Anthony DePass, Ph.D., Volunteer Advisor
Dr. DePass is a Professor of Biology at Long Island University, where he serves as PI and Director of the LIU MBRS RISE (NIH), and the LIU ADVANCE (NSF) programs. He is also Co-PI of LIU’s Noyce Teacher Scholarship program and PI for the project on Understanding Interventions that Broaden Participation in Research that is funded by a T36 grant from the NIH. Dr. DePass has over 20 years of leadership experience as PI and Co-PI on grants and programs aimed at the development of talent at all levels for scientists towards a diversified scientific workforce. On the national level, Dr. DePass served as PI of the American Society for Cell Biology’s T36 MARC grant while Chair of that organization’s Minorities Affairs Committee. In those capacities, Dr. DePass led the implementation of several training and career development activities spanning the undergraduate to the professional levels for participants from over 140 institutions. Dr. DePass Co-Chaired the NRC committee on Interventions that Encourage Minorities to Pursue Research Careers. The activities associated with that committee’s work has since translated into him leading annual conferences on Interventions that Broaden Participation in Science Careers. These conferences serve as venues for the dissemination of scholarship and training related to Interventions research and evaluation. More recently, Dr. DePass served on a similar committee within the NRC that examined the status of Minority Women in Academia. Dr. DePass is the lead author on assessment for the recently published Vision and Change in Undergraduate Education- A Call to Action. This work addresses the needed improvement of biology education to address 21st century challenges. He currently leads a group (DePass Academic Consulting) that works with institutions in areas of professional development, grantsmanship, grantsmanship training, and program evaluation.
Sheri Dunn Berry, Liaison to Community Partners
Ms. Dunn Berry is the Director of Programs at Community Partners, where she oversees the organization’s fiscal sponsorship program, grantmaker partnerships, and strategic consulting with nonprofits and civic institutions. Prior to joining Community Partners, for five years Ms. Berry served as the Executive Director of the Los Angeles United Methodist Urban Foundation, which provides training and small grants to leaders of faith-based organizations working to improve urban communities throughout greater Los Angeles. Ms. Sheri also served as the Executive Director of the National Community Building Network, a national peer-to-peer learning organization whose members worked to improve economic conditions and solve community problems in low-income neighborhoods across the country. She has held research and policy positions at organizations throughout California and Washington, DC, including the Urban Strategies Council, Children Now and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Ms. Berry received her undergraduate degree in Public Affairs from the University of California, Berkeley and holds a Masters in Public Administration from the University of Southern California. Ms. Dunn Berry is the liaison between DiverseScholar/MinorityPostdoc and the fiscal sponsor, Community Partners.
Diana Crow, Assistant Editor & Contributing Writer
Ms. Diana Crow is a Tennessee-based freelance science journalist with a BA in biology from Bard College. She is currently splitting her time between freelancing for outlets such as Scientific American, editing the History & Philosophy of the science webzine Lateral, and blogging. Born in Rhode Island but raised in Oak Ridge, Tennessee (site of Manhattan Project’s uranium purification facility), she has always been fascinated (and sometimes horrified) by how science and technology shape cultures. As a science writer, she hopes to draw more attention to issues where science leadership either ignores or overrides the concerns, needs, and objections of marginalized communities, as well as spotlight the accomplishments of scientists from diverse backgrounds. She is also deeply committed to supporting and promoting diversity in science-centric newsrooms. Ms. Crow’s writings appear on several platforms around the web, including her blog at DianaCrowScience.com. In 2016, Ms. Crow is helping edit and prepare articles for the online DiverseScholar magazine.
Tara Haelle, Volunteer
Tara Haelle graduated with a Masters in journalism and photojournalism from the University of Texas at Austin and is an adjunct instructor of journalism at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois. Ms. Haelle is a full-time freelance science journalist and photojournalist who specializes in vaccines, pediatric and maternal health, parenting, nutrition/obesity, mental health, medical research, environmental health, marine science, and the social sciences. Born in Oakland, California, to a career Navy father, she was raised partly in the Philadelphia area and mostly in north Texas by two parents of German heritage. Her work has appeared in Scientific American, Washington Post, Slate, Politico, Muse Magazine, HealthDay, Scuba Diving Magazine, NOVA, and various Frontline Medical Communications brands. She also blogs at UT’s Science and the Sea blog, her own science mom blog at Red Wine & Apple Sauce and occasionally at Tara Incognita. Ms. Haelle is health editor at Double X Science and is writing an evidence-based parenting book with Emily Willingham for Perigee Books (Penguin Random House). She is a professional photographer, and she previously taught English, journalism, and photojournalism in a north Texas Title I high school, where she earned the district’s Most Outstanding First-Year Teacher Award and two grants for a school reading club. Ms. Haelle is a member of various professional organizations, including NASW, AHCJ, ASJA, SEJ, and PIEA. In 2014 & 2015, Ms. Haelle served as a judge for the DiverseScholar SciComm Diversity travel fellowship.
Tara Horn, Social Sciences & Survey Consultant
Tara Horn received her Masters in Applied Anthropology and Participatory Development from The Australian National University in 2004 and has over a decade of experience in applied social research and organizational development. She is currently Principal at The Praxis Department, a consultancy that helps start-ups and non-profits drive positive cultural change in the workplace and community using agile research and participatory processes. She founded The Praxis Department in 2015 with the belief that everyone should be able to participate in the systems that affect them, and have access to work that allows them a full and meaningful life. Previously she worked at Portland State University, doing contracted research, data analysis, and program evaluation for a range of clients, including university faculty, community organizations, and public agencies. Born and raised with her family in St. Louis, MO, she is of German descent. She first left home to study anthropology at the University of Montana and to see the world, teaching English in Japan for a year before attending grad school in Australia, then living and working in Thailand before eventually landing in Portland, Oregon. She worked with community-based refugee and activist organizations in Southeast Asia, and is particularly proud of her Ignite Portland 5 talk on How to be a Refugee. She is passionate about helping others engage, solve problems, and do good work in the world. Ms. Horn co-led a discussion on diversity in Open Source Software communities at the 2016 Open Source Bridge conference. She is conducting DiverseScholar’s first formal survey of its EquitableTech talent pool.
Danielle Lee, Ph.D., Contributing Writer and Volunteer
Danielle N. Lee is a postdoc at Cornell University who studies animal behavior and behavioral ecology. Dr. Lee was a NSF Graduate STEM Fellow in K-12 Education at the University of Missouri - St. Louis. Her dissertation research was on individual differences on exploratory behavior of field mice. As an African-American female and a native of Memphis, Tennessee, she encourages students from under-represented groups to study science and pursue science careers. Her activities in outreach to underserved groups, particularly African-Americans and girls, includes mentoring undergraduate and high school students, participating in after-school science programs, and speaking to youth groups about careers in science and ecology. She also shares her experiences at her blog on the Scientific American Network, The Urban Scientist, where she discusses urban ecology and evolutionary biology with a hip hop flare. In 2009, her self-published blog, Urban Science Adventures!, received the Black Weblog Best Science Blog Award; and, she also received the Diversity Scholars Award from the American Institute of Biological Sciences for her contributions to science and for promoting diversity within the field. Dr. Lee has been a featured panelist at Blogging While Brown, a co-moderatator at ScienceOnline, and a presenter at the first annual International Public Science Events Conference. Since 2011, Dr. Lee has collaborated with DiverseScholar on publishing the Diversity in Science Blog Carnivals (which she founded) and on organizing social media professional development panels at SACNAS conferences. In 2014 & 2015, Dr. Lee served as co-Director of a grant from the National Association of Science Writers (NASW) as well as a judge for the DiverseScholar SciComm Diversity travel fellowship.
Sarah Roy, Ph.D., Manager of Doctoral Relations;
Staff Scientist of Computational Biology
Sarah Roy received her Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of California, Irvine in 2016. She is broadly interested in using computational techniques to model the in-host population dynamics of viral infections, and is particularly interested in modeling the interactions between Human Immunodeficiency Virus and the immune system. Dr. Roy especially enjoys mentoring undergraduate students as they navigate the education and career planning process. She is also passionate about science education and bringing active learning techniques to the classroom, with the goal of making introductory biology more accessible to diverse learners. Dr. Roy has been an instructor of record teaching biology at UC-Irvine. Born and raised in Northern California to parents of Czech and French heritage, she spent eight years living and working in Orange County starting in 2008 on her Bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences. She is looking forward to relocating home to the Bay Area in fall 2016. Dr. Roy is currently updating the Doctoral Directory database and is gathering data on MinorityPostdoc.org alumni.
Past Team Members
(incomplete list; current status may be out of date)
Nancy Aguilar-Roca, Ph.D., Volunteer
Dr. Aguilar-Roca is on faculty at the University of California, Irvine in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. She was an NIH Biomedical Informatics Trainee at UC-Irvine working with Dr. Al Bennett and Dr. Tony Long on the evolutionary genomics of experimentally derived strains of E. coli. She then trained as a Lecturer/ Project Specialist at the HHMI-UCI Professor Program. Dr. Aguilar-Roca is a second generation Mexican-American from Los Angeles. She received her Ph.D. in marine biology from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC-San Diego where she studied the physiology of air breathing fishes. Her B.A. is in biology from Occidental College in Los Angeles, CA. Throughout her graduate work, she was very active in K-12 education and outreach through the Birch Aquarium at Scripps. She was a mentor for the Minority Science Program in biological sciences at UC-Irvine. Dr. Aguilar-Roca has been a SACNAS member since 1994 and a crucial volunteer for all postdoc events before 2009.
Roberto M. Aguilar, Ph.D., Volunteer
Dr. Aguilar was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Irvine in the Reeve-Irvine Research Center working under the guidance of Dr. Oswald Steward in the area of Neural Regeneration. His research will attempt to identify novel ligands to utilize for axonal regeneration as well as identifying their molecular mechanisms. By identifying new ligands, he plans to provide new therapeutic avenues for people living with spinal cord injuries. Dr. Aguilar is a first-generation Mexican-American whose roots go back to Jalpa, Zacatecas, Mexico. He was the first in his family to go to college. Dr. Aguilar obtained his doctoral degree in 2006 from the University of Texas at San Antonio in Biology with an emphasis in neuroscience under the guidance of Dr. Luis S. Haro. Dr. Aguilar’s siblings, six brothers and four sisters, have all succeeded academically due to the importance of education implanted in them by their parents. Dr. Aguilar has been a member of SACNAS since 1996. He has served on SACNAS’s Board of Directors as a Graduate Student Representative. Dr. Aguilar served as a catalyst to initiate the SACNAS Chapter Organizations nation-wide. He has also served on SACNAS’s Membership Committee.
Lola Aleru, Liaison to SACNAS
Ms. Aleru was the SACNAS Membership Manager and former staff liaison for the SACNAS Postdoc Committee from 2004-2005. She had been with SACNAS for six years. Ms. Aleru was born in Fresno, California and is a first generation African-American whose parents are from Nigeria. Her B.A. is in business management and economics from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her future goal is to be an executive director of non-profit organization. Toward that end, she is interested in pursuing an MBA in non-profit administration.
Alessandra L. Barrera, Ph.D., Volunteer
Dr. Barrera was a FIRST Postdoctoral Fellow (Fellowships in Research and Science Teaching) at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Her research was the structural determination of a bacterial protein-RNA complex that is fundamental in metabolism. In 2005 Dr. Barrera taught a course at Spelman and Morehouse Colleges. Dr. Barrera is a second-generation Spanish/Mexican-American born in Laredo, Texas. She earned her B.S. in Biochemistry from St. Edward’s University in her hometown of Austin, Texas and her Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois. Currently, Dr. Barrera is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology at Georgia Gwinnett College. She is a member of many organizations, such as SACNAS and the American Society of Microbiologists.
Cassandra Brooks, M.S., Contributing Writer
Ms. Cassandra Brooks (Native American, Abenaki) has worked in marine science and public outreach for more than a decade. Her writing and research focuses on marine resource exploitation worldwide, from local New England Rivers to the remote reaches of Antarctica. She has a M.S. in marine science from Moss Landing Marine Labs and a graduate certificate in Science Communication from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She now works as the News Director for the Last Ocean Project, and as a freelance science writer and marine scientist. Ms Brooks began working with MinorityPostdoc.org in 2010 as a science writer covering events at the national SACNAS meeting.
Joan Esnayra, Ph.D., Volunteer
Dr. Esnayra received her B.A. in philosophy from the University of Washington in Seattle and her Ph.D. in biology (genetics) from the University of California, San Diego. Dr. Esnayra is a Yaqui Indian who lives openly with severe mental illness. She was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. Dr. Esnayra is vice president of the Washington, D.C., American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) professional chapter and chariman of the board for the Psychiatric Service Dog Society, a nonprofit organization devote to psychiatric service dog education, advocacy, research, and training facilitation. During her tenure as a former SACNAS Board member, Dr. Esnayra proposed the idea of SACNAS Special Interest Groups. This idea was the motiviation for the creation of a postdoc virtual community where Dr. Esnayra served as the first moderator.
Meda Higa, Ph.D., Volunteer
Dr. Higa was an NIH IRACDA Postdoctoral Fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Robert W. Doms in the Department of Microbiology at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research is focused on Hantaviruses (specifically Puumala and Sin Nombre viruses), and understanding how their entry is facilitated by virally encoded glycoproteins. Through the IRACDA teaching training program, Dr. Higa also teaches at Rutgers-Camden, The State University of New Jersey. The first in her family to earn a doctoral degree, Dr. Higa completed her thesis at the University of Utah in Oncological Sciences where she studied the roles of nuclear pore proteins in nuclear export and nuclear envelope breakdown. She earned her B.A. from the University of California, Santa Cruz where she was also a Regents Scholar. Dr. Higa was born and raised in Seattle, Washington and is proud to have a rich and diverse ethnic background. In addition to her involvement with SACNAS, Dr. Higa has served as the Diversity Chair of the Biomedical Postdoctoral Council at Penn and is a product of The Leadership Alliance. In 2009, Dr. Higa served on the SACNAS Program Committee and chaired the annual conference panel “Fellowships and Opportunities for a Successful Postdoc Experience”. She was chair of the SACNAS Postdoc Committee during 2010.
Michelle Juarez, Ph.D., Volunteer
Dr. Juarez was an NIH IRACDA Postdoctoral Fellow working for Dr. William McGinnis in the Department of Cell & Developmental Biology at the University of California, San Diego. IRACDA is a teaching training grant run jointly with San Diego State University. Her current research uses developmental genetics to study the epithelial wound response in Drosophila melanogaster. Dr. Juarez is a fourth generation Mexican-American from Los Angeles, CA and the first in her family to earn a doctoral degree. She received a Ph.D. in Genetics from SUNY-Stoney Brook in December 2004, conducting her experimental work at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. Since graduate school Dr. Juarez has been actively involved in outreach college programs. She has been a SACNAS member since 2002 and an active member of the Postdoc Committee. Dr. Juarez was responsible for the successful postdoc exhibition booth and Jorge Cham book signing at the 2005 SACNAS annual conference.
Rachel Kaufman, Contributing Writer
Ms. Kaufman is a freelance science, tech, and business journalist hailing from outside Minneapolis, Minnesota and currently based in the Washington, DC area. She has written for National Geographic News, Scientific American, and more (see clips at ReadWriteRachel.com). She has an English/journalism degree from Adelphi University in New York and hopes to someday visit space — or at least take a zero-g ride in a “vomit comet”. For DiverseScholar, Ms. Kaufman covered a Workshop on Ethnic Diversity in Materials Science and Engineering.
Stephanie Miller, Contributing Writer and Volunteer
Ms. Miller is a New England native and attended Mount Holyoke College for her undergraduate education. Currently she is a Ph.D. graduate student in the biophysics program at the University of Maryland, College Park. While at Mt. Holyoke she researched surface chemistry and catalysis using computational methods with Dr. Bret Jackson at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Ms. Miller completed an internship with the NASA Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, CA researching the spectroscopic and chemical properties of lunar dust. Ms. Miller identifies as a queer Mexican-American of mixed race. Ms. Miller helps with MinorityPostdoc.org activities by researching potential postdoc candidates, taking notes, attending diversity conferences, and serving as a liaison with the LGBTQ community.
Sachiko Murakami, Liaison to Community Partners
Ms. Murakami as a Program Associate supports Community Partners’ program team in all activities pertaining to the management, support, and training of fiscal sponsorship projects. Born in Los Angeles, her family is of Japanese descent. Her parents were born and raised in Paraguay; and, they immigrated to the United States shortly after their marriage. Ms. Murakami is a graduate of the University of Southern California, where she received a dual B.A. in comparative literature and international relations focusing on the East Asian region. It was there that she became interested in how nongovernmental organizations shape public policy and their important role in maintaining a consolidated democracy. Prior to Community Partners, she interned with the Pacific Council on International Policy, Assembly Member Chu, and Congresswoman Hilda Solis. Ms. Murakami was the liaison between DiverseScholar/MinorityPostdoc and the fiscal sponsor, Community Partners from 2012 to 2013.
Arti C. Patel, Ph.D., M.P.H., Volunteer
Dr. Arti Patel was Director of Global Health Development at CTIS, Inc. Previously she was a postdoctoral fellow in the Cancer Prevention Fellowship Program in the Division of Cancer Prevention at the National Cancer Institute. She received her undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Patel was born in Columbus, Ohio and spent the remainder of her formative years in North Carolina, where her parents, originally from India, now reside. Dr. Patel’s research focuses on the development and implementation of interventions that combine immune-stimulating diets, chemopreventive agents and cancer vaccines to enhance the host’s immune response to cancer. Additionally, Dr. Patel has been an advocate for improving postdoctoral training by, for instance, chairing the Young Investigator’s Association at the National Cancer Institute. Dr. Patel was a member of the Steering Committee that conceived and wrote the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation proposal that created the National Postdoctoral Association in 2003. She is a former NPA Excecutive Board and was also a member of the Diversity Committee. Dr. Patel was a co-moderator of the Minority Postdoc Summit (2004).
Edward Ramos, Ph.D., Volunteer
Dr. Ramos earned his Ph.D. in Genetics at the Pennsylvania State University. He was a postdoc at Emory University. Previously, Dr. Ramos was a NRSA Fellow at Johns Hopkins University where he worked in the lab of Dr. Victor Corces studying the role of insulator proteins in higher-order chromatin organization. Specifically, Dr. Ramos studied the role of Suppressor of Hairy wing [Su(Hw)] at the global Drosophila level. He was born and raised in Texas and received his B.S. from the university of North Texas. Dr. Ramos is a first generation Mexican-American and the first in his family to earn an advanced degree. He was involved in many mentoring programs and is co-founder of MInDS (Mentoring to Inspire Diversity in Science), a mentoring organization at Johns Hopkins dedicated to the recruitment and retention of minorities and women in science. He was also a co-coordinator of the HHMI-RISE program at Johns Hopkins, a program who’s aim is to expose high school students to biological research. Dr. Ramos was in charge of the 2006 SACNAS Postdoc Committee exhibition booth.
Edward Ramos, Ph.D., Volunteer
Edward Ramos, Ph.D. is a Science Policy Analyst and a Research Fellow at the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), National Institutes of Health (NIH). Dr. Ramos has a role in the Office of the Director of NHGRI as well as the new trans-NIH Center for Research on Genomics and Global Health (CRGGH). He is involved in projects focused on understanding the role of genomics in health disparities, identifying the societal implications of genomics, and analyzing the health care and science policies relevant to these issues. Dr. Ramos received a doctorate in molecular biotechnology from the University of Washington in 2006 followed by a Genetics and Public Policy Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Office of U.S. Senator Barack Obama. Dr. Ramos then joined Senator Obama’s professional staff to advise on health and science policy as a Legislative Assistant. Dr. Ramos also serves as Federal Liaison to the SACNAS Board of Directors as he continues to support and create opportunities for underrepresented minorities in the sciences. Dr. Ramos was a former co-chair of the SACNAS Postdoc Committee during 2008.
Juana Ines Rudati, Ph.D., Volunteer
Dr. Rudati is currently a Research Scientist at Xradia. She received her Ph.D. in atomic physics from Stony Brook. Her postdoc was at Argonne National Laboratory. However, her research project was conducted at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center as part of the SPPS collaboration (producing the shortest x-ray pulse in the world). Her research interest is on the interaction of intense light fields and atoms. During her graduate years, Dr. Rudati was a student board member at SACNAS, an undergraduate student mentor, a Turner Fellow, and an active AGEP affiliate. She was also a member of the Diversity Committee of the National Postdoctoral Association. Dr. Rudati was born in Argentina and in 1988 emigrated to Florida where her family resides. Dr. Rudati’s outreach goals are to mentor students and to make the scientific environment more inviting for everyone. Dr. Rudati was a co-moderator of the Minority Postdoc Summit (2004).
Jose Saenz, Freelance Multi-Media Journalist
Jose Saenz recently graduated from California State University, Northridge with a double major in Journalism and Chicana/o Studies (2015). Mr. Saenz’s nascent career includes work in both journalism and television production. Mr. Saenz worked as an associate producer for some of the programing at Film On TV. Previously, Mr. Saenz was employed at KNBC in Los Angeles as a sports production intern; and, he was also the morning producer and anchor for the morning news show at KCSN Radio. While in school, Mr. Saenz covered multiple events as a student journalist from sporting events to hard news. He was a producer for an entire year for the award winning student produced news show Around and About Orange County News and Noticiero Latino del Condado de Orange at Santa Ana College. Mr. Saenz also contributed as writer for an award winning student newspaper El Don at Santa Ana College. Mr. Saenz has also worked on shooting and editing music videos, short films, short documentaries, commercials and live sporting events. Mr. Saenz was the play-by-play commentator for the CSUN Men’s and Women’s soccer teams for the 2014 season. Mr. Saenz is a member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. He helped create the first video mini-doc for DiverseScholarTV.
Everett C. Salas, Ph.D., Volunteer
Dr. Salas was a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Earth Science Department at Rice University. He studies the influence that physical surface properties have on bacterial adhesion and biofilm formation, as well as the impact that bacterial physiology has on surface corrosion and weathering. Dr. Salas is a first-generation Mexican-American from Riverside, California. He received his Ph.D. in Geological Sciences from the University of Southern California. He is a past recipient of a Graduate Fellowship from the NIH Centers for Excellence in Genomic Sciences. Dr. Salas organized the 2009 SACNAS Postdoc Committee Exhibit booth and served on the 2010 SACNAS Program Committee.
Andrea Stith, Ph.D., Contributing Writer and Volunteer
Dr. Stith was a consultant with organizations like the American Association for the Advancement of Science, MinorityPostdoc.org, and the Asian Women’s Leadership University Project. Her interests include postdoctoral training, broadening participation in STEM, and the internationalization of higher education. Prior to this she was a research fellow at the Graduate School of Education of Shanghai Jiao Tong University in Shanghai, China. Her research focused on national and institutional policies that impact the career prospects of postdoctoral researchers. Previously, she studied science/techonology and higher education policies as a German Chancellor Fellow at Humboldt University in Berlin and Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich. Prior to her fellowship, Dr. Stith held a number of program management positions at non-profit organizations in the Washington, DC area, including the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. In 2002-2003 she was an AAAS/NSF Science and Technology Policy Fellow in the Office of Legislative Affairs at the National Science Foundation. Dr. Stith is African American and a 5th generation descendent of Wiley Stith (born 1825, Brunswick County, Virginia) and was raised in West Point, NY. In 2001, she received her doctorate in Biophysics from the University of Virginia; and, she received her bachelor’s degree in Physics from the University of Delaware in 1995. She has served as a Board member of the Association for Women in Science.
Manuel J. Torres, Ph.D., Volunteer
Dr. Torres was a Postdoctoral Associate at the Plant Genome Mapping Laboratory in The Center for Applied Genetic Technologies at the University of Georgia in Athens, GA. He works with Dr. Andrew Paterson on constructing and characterizing physical and genetic maps of crop plants in the genus Brassica and also works on a database to advance comparative genomic analysis of the Brassica. In his research, Dr. Torres examines the properties of plant polyploidy (genome doubling), the concomitant phenomenon of gene duplication, and the evolution of genes, gene families, chromosomes, and genomes following genome doubling in angiosperms. His parents came to this country from Mexico, with no education and no prospects for work. He is bicultural, bilingual, and the first in his immediate family to graduate from college and to earn a graduate degree (University of California, Davis). Dr. Torres is active in community outreach and committed to working with public service partners to increase the numbers of underrepresented minorities in college. Dr. Torres presented a poster about SACNAS Postdoc Committee activities at the 2006 NPA annual meeting.
Ivonne Vidal Pizarro, Ph.D., Volunteer
Dr. Vidal Pizarro earned her A.A. (English) from Miami Dade Community College. She then transferred to Florida International University, where she received a B.A. (English) and a B.S. (Biology). She continued her scientific interests in graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania and earned her Ph.D. (Neuroscience). She secured a predoctoral grant to support her thesis on spinal cord regeneration from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. She went on to be a postdoctoral researcher at Penn, studying multiple sclerosis and neuroimmunology. Ivonne is passionately committed to minorities in science and looks forward to making this her full-time career. She has worked with several organizations (SACNAS, The Leadership Alliance, Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students, and the National Postdoctoral Association among others). She was a former co-chair of the SACNSA Postdoc Committee during 2008. Dr. Vidal Pizarro is an American born, first generation Colombian-American and the first in her family to complete not only college, but also graduate school.
David Vigerust, Ph.D., Volunteer
Dr. Vigerust is a Research Scientist in the Department of Veteran Affairs in Nashville, TN. He was formerly Postdoctoral fellow both at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center and at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis Tennessee. His research involves elucidating the mechanisms of viral-bacterial synergism and the innate immune response to Influenza. Dr. Vigerust was born and raised in El Paso, Texas and is a first generation Mexican-American. He received an M.Sc. in Microbiology and Immunology from Texas Tech University and his Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University. During his graduate years, Dr. Vigerust was an Elizabeth Glazer Pediatric AIDS Student Award recipient, FASEB minority peer mentor, adjunct faculty in microbiology at a local community college; and, his work was recognized by AAI and ASCB. He was a member of the St. Jude postdoctoral executive committee and the National Postdoctoral Association. Dr. Vigerust was responsible for the well-received postdoc reception at the 2005 SACNAS annual conference, was Chair of the SACNAS Postdoc Committee in 2009, and served on the 2010 SACNAS Program Committee.
Greg Villareal, Ph.D., Volunteer
Dr. Greg Villareal received his Bachelor of Science degree as a MARC scholar from the University of Texas at San Antonio in 1998. In 2006, he earned his doctoral degree in the department of neurobiology at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) where he utilized electrophysiology and imaging techniques to understand fundamental elements underlying learning and memory. While at UCLA, Dr. Villareal played a seminal role in establishing a SACNAS chapter and volunteered for many years at a highly regarded local public radio station. In 2007, Dr. Villareal continued his career in neuroscience by joining Galenea Corporation, a biotechnology company located in Cambridge, Massachusetts where he focused on developing novel techniques and therapeutics to treat patients suffering with schizophrenia. Outside of the laboratory, Dr. Villareal involvement with SACNAS has included serving on the Chapter, Membership, and Postdoc Committees. Importantly, he helped rejuvenate the Industry Advisory Committee whose long-term goal is to increase the participation and visibility of the private sector within SACNAS and to create more job opportunities for SACNAS members. In January 2008, Dr. Villareal was elected the youngest professional Board member in the history of SACNAS. He is a second-generation Tejano from San Antonio, Texas and still an avid Spurs fan.
Marcelo Vinces, Ph.D., Contributing Writer and Volunteer
Dr. Vinces was a AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow at the National Science Foundation engaging in exciting work at the intersection of scientific research and government policy. He joined the Division of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences (MCB) at the NSF after 4 years as a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University and the Katholieke Universiteit in Leuven, Belgium, where he used brewer’s yeast to study the biological function of highly mutable repetitive “junk” DNA sequences. He received his Ph.D. in Molecular Microbiology at Tufts University in Boston, writing a thesis on transcription factors that regulate the morphological switches of the pathogenic yeast Candida albicans. He pursued the doctoral degree after completing studies at Cornell University, where he discovered a love for microbiology. When not studying yeast in the lab, he made a home in the classroom, teaching biology to a wide range of students, in elementary school, college and medical school. Besides fulfilling his duties within the MCB Division at NSF, such as organizing meetings to gather input from the scientific community on emerging topics in molecular and cellular biology, Dr. Vinces dedicates his time to policy issues such as increasing diversity in STEM fields and improving networks for scientists in “diaspora” communities. Dr. Vinces was born in Ecuador and grew up in Brooklyn, New York and is very interested in how diaspora scientists can serve as resources to both their adopted and ancestral homes. Dr. Vinces has organized professional development panel sessions at the 2010 SACNAS annual conference, participated in the SACNAS Summer Leadership Institute, and contributed to the Diversity in Science Blog Carnivals.
Jeremy B. Yoder, Ph.D., Contributing Writer
Dr. Yoder is a Postdoctoral Associate at the University of Minnesota using genome-scale genetic data to examine the interaction between plants and rhizobial bacteria, as part of the Medicago Hapmap Project. His research seeks to understand the forms of coevolutionary selection created by interactions between species-plants and pollinators, hosts and parasites, predators and prey-and the importance of this selection over the evolutionary history of life on Earth. His doctoral dissertation work with Olle Pellmyr at the University of Idaho applied theoretical, phylogenetic, and population genetic approaches to examine the origins and evolutionary trajectories of species interactions, with particular focus on the yucca-yucca moth mutualism. Dr. Yoder received his Ph.D. from University of Idaho in 2011. Because he considers public outreach an important part of doing science, Dr. Yoder frequently discuss science on his blog “Denim and Tweed” and at invited guest postings at other blogs. Dr. Yoder has hosted a Diversity in Science Blog Carnival.
Lidia Ceballos Yoshida, Ph.D., Volunteer
Dr. Yoshida, Ph.D. was an Academic Coordinator for Outreach and Research Training in Minority Science Programs at the University of California, Irvine. She was a former co-chair of the SACNAS Postdoc Committee during 2005. Dr. Yoshida is a second generation Mexican-American from Los Angeles, CA. She received her Ph.D. in botany from the University of California, Riverside, M.S. in biology from California State University, Los Angeles and B.A. in Biology from Immaculate Heart College. Before receiving advanced degrees she received a California Teaching Credential from California State University Los Angeles and taught high school science and biology for six years. She coordinates activities for research training programs (MBRS and Bridges to the Baccalaureate) and outreach programs with local middle and high schools. Dr. Yoshida is also a former SACNAS Board member.
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National Science Foundation (2010-2011)
Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed on this website are those of the authors/speakers and do not necessarily reflect the views of NSF.
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology Office of Public Affairs (2004)
Website design: David Chien
Flyer design (2004): Jen Frazer
Logo design: John Mezzasalma
Periodical & flyer (2011) design: Suzanne Hunter
Image Credits: Unless indicated otherwise, photos are by the Editor. Small graphics and icons are from the following:
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last updated 18-Oct-2016