Community Outreach

Photo of the Neal Lab seated in a line at the front of an auditorium. Lab member on the far left speaks to the audience through a microphone.

The lab sees itself as part of a larger scientific and societal community.

As such, we actively engage in outreach and community-building efforts to promote diversity and inclusion beyond the lab’s walls.

Two-week genetic engineering course in Miramar Community college

Photo of a lab member at the front of an auditorium delivering an outreach talk in front of a projector screen reading “Welcome to the Neal Lab”

Every year, our lab teaches a two-week research-based module for students attending Miramar Community College. During this period, our lab hosts a laboratory tour for students.

Summer research opportunity in the Neal laboratory

Two lab members with their arms around each other dressed, wearing PPE.

Every summer, two students from community college are selected to participate in summer research within my laboratory. Students also participate in UCSD’s renowned Summer Training Academy for Research Success (STARS), which provides a stipend, residency, professional development workshops.

Social Issues in Biology Course

Clip art image of 11 red raised hands and fists with “Social Issues in Biology” written across the top.

I designed and taught a course elective for the School of Biological Sciences graduate curriculum. This new bold course is entitled “Social Issues in Biology.” I believe that it is critical to move biology education into a greater social context. As such, this course examines the breadth and depth of bias and exclusion in the scientific community, both across history and multiple axis of identity. The course is offered every Winter quarter to all graduate students in the life sciences.

Biology Undergraduate and Masters’ Mentorship Program (BUMMP)

BUMMP logo in which buump is written in all lowercase letters. The bu and p are written in gray and mm is written in blue, with “Biology Undergraduate and Masters Mentorship Program” written below.

Driven by the critical need to better mentor historically underserved undergraduate and masters’ students at UCSD, Dr. Tara Spencer, Sumedha Ravishankar, and I founded and run a successful URM mentorship program, the Biology Undergraduate and Masters’ Mentorship Program (BUMMP).  As faculty advisor of BUMMP, a team of graduate students and I help recruit and match 400+ mentees with dedicated mentors. BUMMP also hosts professional development workshops, and provides research scholarships and opportunities. For more information about this program, please visit our website.

Partnership with Research Methodology Training Laboratory (RMTL) Program

Photo of several students seated in a line on a large rock.

Our goal is to provide additional research opportunities for underrepresented undergraduate students. Although BUMMP has matched many mentees in research laboratories, student participation is limited by the number of research positions available. To that end, BUMMP has partnered with a well-established RMTL program at UC San Diego School of Medicine. This 8-week annual program has a dedicated research space that can simultaneously train 20 students in basic laboratory and research practices. This program is offered every Spring quarter via BUMMP.