Slayton Evans Outreach Program

Slayton Evans Outreach Program

In 2016, Prof. Frank Leibfarth organized a new program that brings undergraduate students from local historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in the Triangle area to the Slayton Evans Memorial Lecture. Talented students from NC A&T, NC Central University, and St. Augustine’s University are identified by faculty at their respective institution and invited to the UNC Chemistry Department in conjunction with the Slayton Evans Memorial Lecture. This Outreach Program is now an integral part of the annual Slayton Evans Memorial Lecture and is organized by the Diversity Committee with critical assistance from AM_WISE.

A goal of this Outreach Program is to share the excitement, impact, opportunities, and challenges that cutting-edge research affords. During the day, the students interact with faculty, graduate, and undergraduate students in the UNC Chemistry Department about a “day-in-the-life” of a research scientist. The attendees are exposed to the wide variety of science conducted at UNC and have ample opportunity to ask questions about science, graduate school, and future opportunities in STEM. An organized tour of the Chemistry Department facilities is provided as well as meetings with select faculty and a poster session with graduate students. After the program, the attendees are paired with a graduate student mentor to provide continued career and scientific guidance.

Students sitting around a table with Professor Laura Kiessling from MIT
Students interacting with the 2019 Slayton Evans Award winner, Professor Laura Kiessling from MIT

The highlight of the program is an interactive meeting with the Slayton Evans Award winner. The meeting is an opportunity for the attendees to interact with a diverse scholar who has risen to the top of their field and typically focuses on their career path, obstacles overcome, and lesson learned. The attendees often cite this interaction as particularly inspiring and informative.