Peggy Fong ~ Community Ecologist

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Expanding the Pipeline

Dr. Peggy Fong is passionate about diversity - both in ecosystems and in the human scientific community. Believing that the most effective way of ensuring success for underrepresented groups is by engaging all students in scientific research, she is involved with two UCLA programs: Center for Academic Research Excellence (CARE) and Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC). Both are federally funded programs with a goal to increase diversity through fellowships and enrichment training.

Peggy has served in a variety of roles within these programs. She has been on the Board of Advisors for both, has been a faculty liaison, and is also an active mentor. Peggy has had several students from these programs doing research in her lab. Each summer she and her graduate students mentor students from CARE, and she has mentored three MARC students. This is a two-year commitment for each MARC student, with the objective of helping them to become more competitive for graduate school. Her first MARC student, Vanessa Gonzalez, is now completing her Ph.D. at Harvard University.

"We need to create that pipeline for a diverse scientific community."
At one point in Peggy's career she came to the realization that starting with undergraduates may be too late for a majority of underrepresented groups, and with the help of COSEE West, is committed to developing innovative and transferable approaches to ocean education across all age levels. She also has served on her department's Diversity Committee as well as the Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need (GAANN) Steering Committee.

Maylen Perez
Maylen Perez, UCLA Graduate Student, and past MARC Participant
Maylen participated in the Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC) program, and credits it and her interaction with Peggy as key to gaining valuable research experience as an undergrad