Latinx Thriving Initiative
In 2016 UCI launched the Latinx Thriving Initiative to 1 ) Serve as a pathway to the American Dream. 2) Deploy our mission to promote Latinx intellectual and cultural capital. 3) Transform the professoriate and knowledge workforce of the future.
In 2017, UCI was named a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI). This federal designation aligns with UCI’s aspiration to be a national leader and global model of inclusive excellence. As a designated HSI, UCI faculty, staff and students are eligible to apply for Minority-Serving Institution (MSI) grants, internships and partnerships. Learn more here.
Nobody in Katy Rodriguez Wimberly’s family does anything similar to what she does for a living, so when she heard that she won UCI’s Latino Excellence and Achievement Award, she knew that one of the reasons why was due to how out of the ordinary it was for her to come to UCI to get her Ph.D. The award, given to 15 this year, shines a light on the successes of UCI Latinx graduate students, who comprise just 11.8 percent of the UCI graduate student population. “There’s not a ton of Latinx people, and even less Latinas in higher education,” Rodriguez Wimberly said. “And then when you talk about physics and astronomy, it’s even less.”
Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month
During Hispanic Heritage Month, the School of Physical Sciences shines lights on its Hispanic and Latinx members, who themselves cast new light onto the many-varied fields they study. They’re casting light on the Amazon rainforest, where they’re trying to characterize the different types of wildfire that spread through the rainforest, and where they’re trying to understand how, if enough trees die in the rainforest due to climate change-driven droughts, the rainforest’s ecosystems will collapse. Beyond this planet, they’re studying why some galaxies stop creating new stars, and they’re working to measure the distribution of metals in those galaxies. Whether Earth-bound or star-bound, or whether they work behind the scenes making sure the rest of the Physical Sciences community hears their stories, our Hispanic and Latinx scientists and staff make our School hum.