Center builds community of diverse scientists
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Center builds community of diverse scientists


When I was a kid I was planting a bean
in a pot of soil and I was amazed that this little sprout came from that little
bean. And I just fell in love with the environment and science. My name is
Venezia Ramirez. I am a fourth-year undergrad studying environmental science with a concentration in Earth and environmental science. My name is Rob
Ulrich. I’m a third-year Ph.D. student in geochemistry at UCLA. The Center for
Diverse Leadership in Science is a center that focuses on promoting
diversity within the sciences. Aradhna Tripati is the founder and
director. Aradhna is always putting other people
first. With CDLS, it’s very much attracted
people who have those same priorities. I think working with Aradhna was very much the icing on the cake after I got accepted. I was like coming into my
identity as a queer person. I found out about CDLS and Aradhna’s lab and asked her if I can join her lab even though I had no research experience, and she welcomed
me with open arms and from there I learned so many new skills that I am
very grateful for. Receiving the fellowship from CDLS has been really
great and allowed me to be able to better focus on one, my research, but then
also the outreach work that I do with “Queers in Stem” and also just with
CDLS in general. I help organize science demonstrations within South L.A. and the Valley and we focus on going to schools that don’t really have a lot of
resources. Everyone is part of the solution and so everyone should
understand the science to how we can help our community and to help
the environment. We’re approaching things in a different way because we very much put empathy at the forefront of how we try to do everything. So trying to be
extremely understanding of where other people are coming from. CDLS made me feel
that I actually belonged at UCLA. Every single person I’ve met at CDLS is wonderful. And through giving me the resources to
help my community, I myself feel empowered. For people who are in earlier
stages of their careers where they still haven’t built up that confidence or like scientific identity yet it really helps them to feel like they do belong. I’m very grateful to CDLS and the fellowship and the financial support I received
from it. Mostly because it lets me focus on the work that’s important to me and
us as a group. Funding is essential to keep CDLS running. You really meet people who change the world within CDLS and that’s possible through
donations. In the future, if I am rich, every year I would donate to CDLS. I cannot thank CDLS enough.

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