Yoland Chen

Award Goals

The CALS Life Science Leadership Program aims to engage and support students who advance diversity in the life sciences (underrepresented racial groups, LGBTQ+, first-generation) to work with faculty in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) on summer research projects. The program goal is to provide opportunities for faculty-student teams to work on mentoring and leadership development across cultural and identity differences. Student-faculty pairs will participate in mentoring workshops throughout the summer of the award.

The award is sponsored by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, as well as multiple additional donors.


The program provides students funding to conduct independent research projects with a CALS faculty member in the life sciences. All UVM students are eligible for the funding, as long as they are supported by a CALS faculty member.



You will be expected to develop independent research proposals with the support of a CALS faculty mentor. In addition, provide a short statement on your career interests in the life sciences, and how you advance diversity and inclusion in the life sciences (this statement included in "Personal Narrative" section of application).


Mentors will be expected to submit a letter discussing their willingness to support the student, your perspective on diversity and inclusion in the life sciences, your background preparation for mentoring students from underrepresented groups, your role in supporting the student in developing the proposal, and an optional approach for guiding a graduate student who may contribute to support of the undergraduate applicant.

Application Process

Please use the SURF application found on this page. While you are welcome to apply for any of the SURF awards, please also indicate the "CALS Life Science Leadership Program" specifically to ensure your consideration for this summer research/mentoring opportunity. 

Due date is March 17, 2023


Burke Kraft 2019

Benefits for Students

  1. Build your own research plan
  2. One-on-one mentoring with top scholars
  3. Workshops on leadership
  4. A cohort of like-minded students
  5. Summer funding! A $4000 stipend plus $500* expense budget (*may be added to stipend)

For more information, contact Dr. Yolanda Chen

For help with your application, contact FOUR