Whether it is running summer field programs, mentoring graduate students in the lab, or teaching traditional lecture courses, education is one of our lab’s most important activities. Education is the key to the sustainability of marine resources. Below are some examples of how we are promoting sustainability through education.

The Diversity Project

The Diversity Project is a summer research intensive program focused on building diversity within marine sciences while studying the evolution, ecology, and conservation of coral reef biodiversity. Founded in 2004 through an NSF CAREER award, The Diversity Project has supported more than 40 students since 2005. Of these, more than 90% are still in science and 65% have gone on to graduate school. Alumni have earned PhD’s from institutions including Harvard, Stanford, UC Santa Cruz. Click HERE to learn more about The Diversity Project

The UCLA HHMI Health Disparities and the Environment Program

The UCLA Howard Hughes Medical Institutes (HHMI) Health Disparities and the Environment Program is a year-long undergraduate program, for sophomores in life sciences, focused on the intersection of health disparities and the environment. The goal of the program is to promote the success of promising URM students­ who have a passion for addressing health disparities. Over the course of the program, students learn about the environmental determinants of health, develop their communication skills, and conduct research as part of a research practicum, while being exposed to the importance of community engagement and research, to public policy and clinical medicine.


The Program for Excellence in Education and Research (PEERS) is the largest academic support program specifically for underrepresented minority and under-served students in STEM majors at UCLA. Through seminars, specialized academic counseling, research talks, and collaborative learning workshops, students in PEERS earn higher science grades, have higher GPAs, take more science classes, are more engaged in undergraduate research, have higher (over 90%) persistence rates, and graduate faster than other UCLA students. Click HERE to learn more about PEERS.

Communicating Science

The US Department of Education indicates that nearly one half of undergraduate students pursuing degrees in a Science, Technology, Engineering or Math (STEM) fields will either change to non-STEM degrees or drop out from college all together. Moreover, under-represented minority students are 50% more likely to leave STEM majors than other student populations. To promote increased retention in STEM majors, we have developed a course called Communicating Science that teaches incoming freshman science majors to make short documentary videos on UCLA life scientists. Through this process, students are learning skills essential to success as STEM majors, increasing their retention in STEM majors. Click HERE to learn more about Communicating Science.

Indonesian Biodiversity Research Center (now Bionesia)

Indonesia is the heart of the Coral Triangle, yet it is one of the least studied marine environments in the world. Advancing marine conservation and sustainability in this region requires an increase in research effort to support conservation planning. The Indonesian Biodiversity Research Center (IBRC) is addressing this need by providing resources that attract leading marine scientists from around the world and by training Indonesians to become expert in studying their own marine ecosystems. Alumni of the IBRC education programs have earned Fulbright Fellowships to pursue graduate studies in the United States and are conducting important research that is influencing Indonesian marine management policy. The IBRC has subsequently evolved into a new non-profit, Bionesia. Click HERE to learn more about Bionesia.