Biology scholars thank Birgeneau, Breslauer

BSP members, Birgeneau

BSP members (left to right) Alexandra Farrokhian, Yesenia Ramos, Susana Barrios and Yuvraaj Kapoor chat with Chancellor Birgeneau.

More than 50 students and 30 alumni of Berkeley’s Biology Scholars Program — a small but grateful fraction of the 2,650 students the program has helped since its founding in 1992 — gathered recently in the Durant Hall atrium to thank Chancellor Robert Birgeneau and Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost George Breslauer for their support.

The 21-year-old BSP, part of the Department of Integrative Biology, seeks to promote the success of students from economic, gender, ethnic and cultural groups historically underrepresented in biology. Guests at the reception included Mary Catherine Birgeneau; Gibor Basri, vice chancellor, equity and inclusion; Nancy Olson, UC Berkeley Foundation Board of Trustees; John Huelsenbeck, chair, integrative biology; David Raulet, chair, molecular and cell biology; and professor emerita Caroline Kane, who co-founded the program with BSP director John Matsui.

“Everyone needs a John Matsui,” declared Birgeneau, referring to the support he received as a high-school student that enabled him first to attend a better school, and then to go on to a long career in physics and higher education.

Among the testimonials was one from Dr. Amanda Perez, assistant chief of emergency medicine at Kaiser Manteca and Modesto, who told the group of the importance of the BSP in her academic success at Berkeley, and of how her experience prompted her to create a scholarship of her own.