University of Southern California


Student & Postdoc Programs

Below we provide examples of existing programs for students and postdocs at USC that support diversity and scholarship in research, as a foundation toward future efforts.

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 Gateway Scholars
 USC Keck School of Medicine Bridging the Gap Summer Research Program
 USC School of Pharmacy Summer Undergraduate Research Fund (SURF)
 USC Dornsife Student Opportunities for Academic Research (SOAR)
 C-DEBI – Genomics and Geology Undergraduate Research Experience (GGURE)
 DIA Jumpstart Program
 Science, Technology, and Research (STARS) & Engineering for Health Academy (EHA) Programs
 Center for Engineering Diversity (CED)
 Center for Enrollment Research, Policy, and Practice (CERPP)
 Center for Education, Identity and Social Justice (CEIDSJ)
 Predoctoral Institute for First-Generation and Diverse Scholars (POIR)
 The Security and Political Economy (SPEC) Lab
 Summer Program In Diabetes and Obesity Research (SPIDOR)
 The Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship program
 USC Viterbi Summer Coding Camp (CS@SC)
 USC Young Researchers Program
 DIA Boot Camp
 Programs in Biomedical and Biological Sciences (PIBBS)
 Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work
 The Provost’s Postdoctoral Scholars Program for Faculty Diversity Program
 USC-CONACYT Postdoctoral Scholars Program


Undergraduate Students

Gateway Scholars provides research training, academic skills building workshops/seminars, other research-related opportunities, and scholarships to high-achieving undergraduates from first-generation college backgrounds, low-income households, and historically underrepresented minority communities. Scholars are awarded a $2,800 stipend to support a full-time summer research agenda throughout the summer while working in collaboration with a USC faculty mentor. Learn more.

USC Keck School of Medicine Bridging the Gap Summer Research Program exposes outstanding minority students to research, aiming to attract under-represented minority students to medicine and the biological sciences. Students receive a stipend, roundtrip transportation from home, university housing, and conduct summer research for eight weeks in the laboratories of Keck faculty, who serve as mentors; they attend weekly seminars on health disparities, receive formal instruction in basic physiology and biostatistics, and present their findings to the Keck community. Learn more.

USC School of Pharmacy Summer Undergraduate Research Fund (SURF) provides learning and networking opportunities for undergraduate students committed to pursuing either a professional or academic research career in pharmaceutical or translational sciences. Applications are strongly encouraged from first-generation college students and groups underrepresented in graduate education. In addition to daily engagement in the lab, students attend biweekly seminars and participate in a workshops on the graduate school application process, as well as present their research to peers and faculty. Learn more.

USC Dornsife Student Opportunities for Academic Research (SOAR) funds undergraduates for participation as a research assistant in a faculty member’s project, connecting students with faculty members and introducing them, early in their academic careers, to the process of serious scholarly inquiry, fostering valuable relationships between students and faculty. SOAR is for research during the fall and spring semesters of the academic year. Learn more.

C-DEBI – Genomics and Geology Undergraduate Research Experience (GGURE) is an undergraduate research internship program that offers students the opportunity to participate in a research group and conduct research with a faculty mentor. Underrepresented students are strongly encouraged to apply. The program provides paid positions in the summer and academic year. The emphasis is in STEM fields (including life science, earth and marine science, computational science, and engineering). Learn more.

DIA Jumpstart Program supports students from three minority-serving institutions – California State Polytechnic University, Pomona; California State University, Los Angeles; and Loyola Marymount University – to preview the PhD experience through a research-intensive summer program at USC. Participants are matched with USC faculty mentors to act as summer research assistants. This experience is supplemented by training on PhD admissions, research ethics, and skill development. Learn more.

Science, Technology, and Research (STARS) & Engineering for Health Academy (EHA) Programs: USC faculty promote research education and enhance URM student pipeline from high school to college by mentoring students from the neighborhood Bravo Medical Magnet School (≅ 70% of the student population is Hispanic); students are placed in science labs in the summer following junior year and return as seniors to work throughout the school year. Learn more.

Center for Engineering Diversity (CED) assists the Viterbi School of Engineering in the recruitment, retention and graduation URM students (African-American, Latino, Native American, and female) pursuing engineering degrees, providing a supportive environment that prepares students academically, professionally, and personally for success as professional and academic engineers. Learn more.

Center for Enrollment Research, Policy, and Practice (CERPP) researches admission and enrollment and fosters equity in college access, admission and outcomes. During the 2016-17 academic year, this program positioned 37 first generation college graduates in 36 high needs schools in Los Angeles as peer advisers, resulting in 14,269 college acceptances. Learn more.

Center for Education, Identity and Social Justice (CEIDSJ) fosters productive and meaningful interaction among students, educators and members of the community by examining how multiple identities (race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, and disability) meet to create shared values and contribute to the ideals of democracy. Learn more.

Predoctoral Institute for First-generation and Diverse Scholars (POIR): Two-day summer program to increase pathways toward a Ph.D. in the social sciences for first-generation students and students of color.  Participants learn to develop skills toward crafting their Ph.D. applications, and are encouraged to pursue research opportunities at USC with POIR faculty and to apply to USC Ph.D. programs. Learn more.

The Security and Political Economy (SPEC) Lab conducts interdisciplinary, policy-relevant research on issues at the intersection of climate change, security, and economic development. These research projects provide opportunities for undergraduate students to develop data science and other research skills. The lab focuses on recruiting and serving female, minority, and first generation students. Learn more.

Summer Program In Diabetes and Obesity Research (SPIDOR) is a 10-week NIH/NIDDK funded summer research experience providing outstanding underrepresented students in science and medicine an opportunity to gain meaningful exposure to the exceptional research and clinical programs at the Keck School of Medicine (KSOM) of USC. Summer scholars will conduct cutting-edge research in the laboratories of faculty members from the USC Diabetes and Obesity Research Institute (DORI) and will exposed to basic science, translational, and clinical research experiences. The summer session culminates with students presenting their research findings to the KSOM community at large. Learn more.

SURF and SHURE mentors students one-on-one in research in conjunction with Dornsife faculty members during the summer, introducing students early in their academic careers to the process of scholarly inquiry. Learn more.

The Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship program addresses underrepresentation by increasing the number of students from underrepresented minority groups who pursue PhDs and by supporting the pursuit of PhDs by students who may not come from traditional minority groups but have otherwise demonstrated a commitment to the goals of MMUF. Learn more.

USC Viterbi Summer Coding Camp (CS@SC) teaches 80-150 elementary and middle school students from under-represented group how to code each year.  The aim is to inspire pre-college students to explore computer science with an eye toward careers as technology professionals, problem solvers and innovators.  The students receive instruction from computer science PhD students who have are trained to interact with elementary and middle school students. Learn more.

USC Young Researchers Program brings motivated local inner-city public school students to USC to do hands-on research under the guidance of faculty and graduate students. Through their experience working in USC labs as well as through workshops designed to introduce students to university-level science, students gain scientific and communication skills, confidence in their ability to succeed at an advanced level, a better understanding of current research in the sciences, and information and connections to help them attend college and pursue careers in science. Learn more.

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Graduate Students

DIA Boot Camp is a writing-intensive 10-day workshop for incoming and first-year PhD students applying for Ford Pre-Doctoral, GEM, Soros, NSF GRFP, and other major external and research fellowships. Participants will receive stipends and supplemental research awards based on specific performance goals. Learn more.

Programs in Biomedical and Biological Sciences (PIBBS) recruits under-represented minority students, providing the entry portal to PhD programs at the Keck School of Medicine. Targeted fellowships for talented URM students has helped increase their representation, with URM students comprising 25% of the 2016-17 incoming class. Learn more.

Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work provides Summer Fellowships to PhD and masters students to develop individual research projects and to attend and present at research conferences.  The Research Council Pilot Study Program and Mini Research Fellowships match doctoral and masters-level graduate students with research faculty and provide the opportunity to lead pilot research studies.

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Post-Graduate Students

The Provost’s Postdoctoral Scholars Program for Faculty Diversity Program enhances the diversity of postdoctoral scholars and builds a pool of exceptional underrepresented minority candidates for the next generation of faculty. These scholars link the expertise of USC faculty and doctoral students with the knowledge and experience gained through their own research. Appointments are for up to two years ($50,000 per year salary plus fringe benefits, with a research and travel account of $5,000 per year). Learn more.

USC-CONACYT Postdoctoral Scholars Program: In collaboration with Mexico’s National Council of Science and Technology (CONACYT), this joint program provides postdoctoral scholars from Mexico with 1-2 year postdoctoral fellowships in fields related to science, technology, and innovation. The fellows receive a salary of up to $60,000 per year in addition to $8,000 USD towards a comprehensive benefits package. Learn more.

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