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A Compass for Success

Irene Romero headshot
UCLA College’s COMPASS initiative nurtures scientific interest and talent among diverse, high-achieving students like Angelica Riestra.

Research shows that quality mentoring can make a world of difference, particularly for college students as they navigate courses and career choices. With the goal of putting more young people from diverse populations on the path to careers in the sciences, Dean of UCLA College Life Sciences Victoria Sork has launched COMPASS (Creating Opportunities for Mentorship and Providing Access for Students in the Sciences). A mentoring initiative that nurtures scientific interest and talent among UCLA’s diverse, high-achieving students, COMPASS got a recent boost from veteran entertainment banker and community leader Irene Romero.

Real-World Research

Romero’s significant donation will enable world-class faculty to bring undergraduate and graduate students into their labs to work on substantive research with real-world relevance and influence. Such mentoring relationships, combined with the thrill of seeing how their work can be applied, help inspire and empower students to succeed in scientific fields.

“My goal is to ensure that we are providing opportunities in the sciences for students from all walks of life,” says Romero, a member of the UCLA Life Sciences Centennial Campaign Board who serves on the board of the California Science Center and in a variety of other philanthropic roles.

The Next Generation

Angelica Riestra is the first in her family to graduate from college and the recipient of two fellowships. A doctoral student now, she is researching a parasite responsible for the world’s most prevalent nonviral, sexually transmitted infection. “When I first got to UCLA, I worked with a leading female scientist who saw my potential and inspired me toward a career studying infectious diseases,” says Riestra.

Published June 2016

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