The Underrepresented Researchers of Color program (UROC) supports undergraduate students of color - who are underrepresented at UC Berkeley - in their quest to engage in and excel in the research life of the university. Through campus outreach, community building, and a host of workshops (“circles”), UROC seeks to increase the number of underrepresented students of color in undergraduate research programs and to ensure that these student succeed in these programs. In meeting these objectives, UROC aims to transform the character of our historically exclusive university - as well as the academy more generally - into a more inclusive, diverse, and democratic community. The program is housed in and sponsored by the Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholarships (Dwinelle Hall, Rm 2422) and emerged out of OURS collaboration with the American Cultures Center. Vital seed funding for UROC has been provided through the Division of Equity & Inclusion’s Innovation Grant Program and the Berkeley Collegium.
Our methods: At the core of UROC’s work is its community of “research ambassadors” - student volunteers from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups (African American, Latino, Native American, Pacific Islander) who are currently conducting research on campus. The research ambassadors carry out the following programming:
Provide monthly campus meetings that serve as support circles for underrepresented undergraduate researchers so they can share and learn from one another about their struggles, successes, and lessons learned. Graduate students and faculty are frequently guests at these discussions. The goal is to create a safe place for students to share their experiences - a space where they feel lifted up and not judged.
Conduct outreach for existing programs by highlighting the variety of experiences that are available and by sharing examples of current underrepresented students who are conducting research in their specific field.
Identify and address institutional challenges to an inclusive environment for underrepresented researchers on campus.