The Gilliam program, which is aimed at increasing the diversity of college and university faculty, supports future scientific leaders as they attend the graduate school of their choice. Each fellow will receive $46,500 a year to support Ph.D. study for up to five years.
“These students share a passion and aptitude for research that has been shaped by their unique backgrounds and experience. That diversity of perspectives is crucial for the growth of the scientific community,” says Sean B. Carroll, HHMI’s vice president for science education.
The students, who have graduated or will graduate this year from research universities and liberal arts colleges across the country, were selected for their passion for research and their personal commitment to increasing diversity in the sciences.
“These fellows show tremendous potential both as scientists and leaders,” says William Galey, director of HHMI’s graduate and medical education program. “We think it is important to provide them with opportunities to excel.”
Eight of the awardees are currently applying to Ph.D. or M.D./Ph.D. programs. One student is in his first year of a Ph.D. program in translational biology and molecular medicine at Baylor College of Medicine.
The Gilliam Fellowships for Advanced Study were created in 2004 in honor of the late James H. Gilliam Jr., a charter HHMI trustee who spent his life nurturing excellence and diversity in science and education. In 2011, the program was expanded to allow up to 10 students each year to receive fellowships, and 53 students have become Gilliam Fellows since the program began.
The awardees were selected from among applicants who have participated in HHMI’s Exceptional Research Opportunities Program (EXROP), which aims to stimulate the scientific curiosity and imagination of students from groups that are traditionally underrepresented in the sciences. EXROP students work in the laboratories of HHMI investigators and learn about careers in research by interacting with HHMI’s scientific community. Of the 301 EXROP alumni who have completed the baccalaureate degree, 94 percent are still studying or working in the sciences—teaching, working in a research lab, or pursuing an advanced degree. Together, the EXROP and Gilliam programs aim to create a support network of scientists and scientists-in-training.
The recipients of the 2012 Gilliam Fellowships for Advanced Study and their undergraduate institutions are:
- Robert Amezquita – University of California-San Diego
- Daniel Garcia – Harvey Mudd College
- Deric Griffin – Louisiana State University & A&M College; Graduate School – Baylor College of Medicine
- Tien-Phat Huynh – University of California, Los Angeles
- Lauren Rodriguez – University of California-Santa Cruz
- Kailan Sierra-Davidson – Harvard University
- Hugo Vega-Ramirez – University of California-Davis
- Robert Wardlow – University of Maryland Baltimore County
- Martha Zepeda Rivera – University of Washington