Knight Campus Gift Supports Diversity Among Scientists

The Knight Campus is making an effort to expand diversity within the research community. Six undergraduate students of diverse backgrounds were recently awarded Knight Campus research scholarships. The awards are part of the University of Oregon's Students of Color Opportunities for Research Enrichment — or SCORE — an academically based, hands-on research opportunity that aims to enrich the learning environment for under-represented minorities in the sciences and provide a foot in the laboratory door for those interested in performing research. The Knight Campus gift provides a rare opportunity for these six students to work with faculty fellows in their labs and present their research later in the year at a symposium. Learn how each of these students is using the award to conduct real-world research.

wendy fan
Yichen Fan

Yichen Fan is a sophomore biology major who grew up in Shanghai, China, before moving to Portland, Oregon. As a member of Cris Niell's lab, she is currently researching eye movements in free-moving environments. Yichen says her experience in the SCORE program has opened the door to a world of research. She particularly enjoys collaborating with other SCORE students and faculty members. SCORE has fueled her curiosity in biological research and science in general, shaping her vision of the future. She hopes to keep diving deeper into biological research after graduation.

francesca fennell
Francesca Fennell

Francesca Fennell is a junior biology major from San Francisco. She was awarded the SCORE-Knight Campus Research Award for her studies in developmental biology, in particular, morphogenesis in the Bowerman Lab. Francesca has always been curious about the world around her and is passionate about lifelong learning. Being involved in the SCORE program has allowed her to ask questions and to meet other curious scientists who have inspired her to push herself beyond what she thought possible. Francesca’s favorite aspect of SCORE is its mission to diversify science and research. 

john francis
John Francis

John Francis is a junior biology major from Northridge, California. He has always had a keen interest in the sciences, more specifically, neuroscience and human biology. John joined the SCORE program in his freshman year and has since been working in David McCormick's lab in the Institute of Neuroscience. In the McCormick Lab, John investigates the effect of varying reward treatments on performance and learning. He is studying how arousal influences the brain and its performance. Through the SCORE program, John has learned essential laboratory skills and how to communicate scientific findings. He says the experience has allowed him to build a strong scientific foundation. John plans to attend medical school.

nia harper
Nia Harper 

Nia Harper is a junior from Oakland, California. She is a general science major at the UO with a focus on pre-medicine. She is minoring in chemistry, biology, and psychology. Her research in Bill Cresko's lab focuses on understanding the genetic basis of craniofacial bone variation in stickleback fish. The SCORE program has given her the opportunity to learn from and interact with successful women of color who have careers in science. Nia's experience in the Cresko Lab has taught her new skills she hopes to incorporate into a future career in the medical field.

jade kast
Jade Kast 

Jade Kast is a junior biology major from Salem, Oregon. As a freshman at the UO, she was awarded a SCORE-Knight Campus Research Award, which helped her begin working in Bill Cresko's lab her sophomore year and will allow her to continue her research throughout her junior year. Jade’s research focuses on the imaging of stickleback fish and measuring phenotypes. Her work was part of a genomic-wide association study to identify genetic regions and variations that are associated with phenotypes. Her involvement with the SCORE program has given her the lab experience she needs to pursue a career in genetics research.

hanson pham
Hanson Pham

Hanson Pham is a junior human physiology major from Portland, Oregon. He is currently involved in the Aging and Vascular Physiology Lab led by human physiology professor Ashley Walker. By examining how arteries and capillaries change as we age, Hanson hopes to gain a better understanding of Alzheimer’s Disease. He hopes to pursue a career in medicine. He says SCORE has given him the opportunity to explore his passion for science by guiding him through his first research project and giving him the chance to perform hands-on experiments. The work combines his love of science with his aspiration to save lives.

haley rice
Haley Rice

Haley Rice is a sophomore in Cris Niell's lab, where she is exploring the visual system of the octopus, specifically, it's functional organization. Haley has also been able to combine her love of biology with her interest in computer science by writing code in her lab projects. She appreciates the close-knit, personal environment of SCORE. Haley says the SCORE program provided a strong starting point and helped her learn how to make the most of academic and research opportunities.