Dr. Wecker Awarded Grant for Mentoring Diversity Initiative

Dr Lynn Wecker, Distinguished University Professor in the USF Health Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Neurosciences with a joint appointment in SPTRS, has been awarded $100,000 by the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET). The grant is a part of ASPET’s Big Ideas initiative and will fund a project proposed by Dr Wecker, “From Senior Mentor to Highly Skilled Career Coach: A Novel Approach to Breaking the Diversity Roadblock.”

Dr Wecker’s proposal was one of only 3 selected from a very competitive arena and 2 rounds of intensive review, and will be featured in the December 2014 issue of The Pharmacologist.

Dr. Wecker is very excited about this project that is modeled after the existing Northwestern Academy and matches mid-to late career scientists with a high level of commitment to and expertise in mentoring, with senior level graduate students and postdoctoral fellows to help guide them in their development and career advancement. Coaches will participate in extensive training to teach them the fundamental social science theories that explain the underpinnings of how success within the research community is achieved and why it has been so difficult for underrepresented groups to break into the community. This pilot project is for 2 years, and it is hoped that these efforts to diversify the scientific workforce will result in improvements in gender, race and ethnic diversity at levels farther up career ladders.