Summer 2022

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Donale Richards, Leslie Holland, and Manika Clemente participating in a panel.
From left, Donale Richards BS'17; Leslie Holland, assistant professor of plant pathology; and Manika Clemente, who has a master's degree in biotechnology from UW, participate in a panel discussion during the MAN-RRS X MOSAIC 2022 forum on the UW campus. The panel was titled "My Perfectly Imperfect Non-Linear Career in Agricultural Science." Photo by Michael P. King


SciMed GRS is part of a growing network of organizations developed to support underrepresented students on the UW campus.

“Many SciMed GRS students are involved and networked in a variety of student orgs that offer mentoring and affinity spaces,” says Abbey Thompson, associate director of SciMed GRS. “This enhances their connectedness on campus and broadens opportunities for professional development.”

MOSAIC (Mentorship Opportunities in Science and Agriculture for Individuals of Color) was established at CALS in summer 2020 by Korede Olugbenle MS’21, Jenyne Loarca PhD’21, and Becca Honeyball, who were all graduate students at the time. Francisco Campos, a horticulture graduate student, has since joined the team and contributed to the program’s goal of gathering professors, staff, and alumni of color to serve as mentors for graduate students and postdocs of color.

“After the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, I wanted to talk with someone who would share the same concerns I had, but with our department and institution being predominantly white, the amount of people available to me to truly confide in were limited,” says Olugbenle. “We want MOSAIC to provide mentor-mentee connections for graduate students so they can talk to people with similar backgrounds who already went through what they are going through.”

Tom Browne, MOSAIC mentor and assistant dean in the CALS Office of Academic Affairs, believes that much of the program’s value stems from its student leadership. “At the core is student-focused support and engagement meant to aid in their emotional, physical, and professional wellbeing,” he says. “It’s also a great opportunity for mentors to sharpen best practices in advising and supporting students.”

Other groups across campus that strive to form communities and support underrepresented students include Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS); the Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science; the American Indian Science and Engineering Society; the Black Graduate and Professional Student Association; and the Association of Asian American Graduate Students.

Back to the feature story, ‘A Home Wherever I Go’.


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