As a Latina and Native American, I am fully aware of the importance of diverse role models in the lab for broadening participation in STEM research. I continue to develope a reputation for providing extensive near-peer mentoring for my research assistants. This commitment results in over half of my research assistants being a member of an underrepresented racial minority in STEM (American Indian, Black, and Hispanic). This is particularly noteworthy considering that racial minorities only represent 10% of the student population at the University of Utah. Furthermore, I facilitate research excellence in my research assistants, three of which received substantial awards to support independent projects in psychology and anthropology. I also encourage both cultural celebration and professional development by supported many of my RAs in successfully applying and securing funding to present research at the International SACNAS conference, the largest national organization aimed at advancing diversity in STEM.
Additionally, I am developing a long and fruitful track record of STEM outreach. I am the President and Founder of the Diversity Graduate School Application Advisory at the University of Utah. We aimed to help traditionally underrepresented students in STEM (female, minority, LGBTQ, and non-traditional students) apply to graduate school. We develope innovative ways to support students, including online fundraising and establishing partnerships with Kaplan and ETS to fully fund underrepresented students’ test costs, Kaplan online test preparation courses, and graduate school application fees. For my outreach efforts and leadership skills, I was elected as the Vice President of the main campus SACNAS Chapter at the University of Utah. In this position, I facilitate monthly academic workshops to teach predominately first generation students valuable higher education success skills that they may not have learned in the home. For all of this work, I was appointed as one of the 2017/2018 National Science Foundation STEM Ambassadors.