November 8, 2021

Just over 30% of UCLA’s undergraduates are the first in their families to go to a four-year college. Attaining a degree in higher education can open new pathways to fulfilling careers and the potential for social mobility.

Today, in recognition of First-Gen Day and STEM Day, UCLA Newsroom published “‘You belong’: How first-gen students have succeeded in STEM,” an article that features two of Life Sciences’ professors (below) who were once first-gen college students and now leading scientists who are affiliated with the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCLA. As role models and leaders in life sciences research and education, in this article, they share particular challenges they faced and also some helpful advice.

  • Amander Clark, professor and chair of molecular, cell and developmental biology, and vice-chair of the International Society for Stem Cell Research– is a world-reknowned stem cell biologist, whose cellular and molecular research on “germline cells” that give rise to egg and sperm, offers hope for cases of infertility, and for new options for low-cost female contraceptives.
  • Pearl Quijada, assistant professor of integrative biology and physiology, is a ground-breaking scientist whose research is identifying key molecular steps and conditions needed for blood vessel development in the heart. Her research could lead to new treatments that repair damaged blood vessels after a heart attack.

For current UCLA first-gen students, check out UCLA’s First To Go, a valuable resource to help students navigate their way through UCLA and build a community.