Directors

Ifechukwu Okeke Undergraduate Coordinator for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM)

I’m Ifechukwu (ee-fay-choo-qoo) and I’m excited to be serving alongside Emma, Londi and Valerie this year. I love everything neuroscience (physiology, cell biology, biochemistry, molecular biology) and would be happy to nerd out and chat about my research interests and yours. I am also deeply invested in politicizing science and making the scientific enterprise more accessible to folks from non-traditional or underrepresented backgrounds, hence my involvement in UROC. I’m excited to journey along with you all towards our collective liberation by taking up space and reclaiming our narratives within the academy 🙂

Valarie Vargas Graduate Coordinator for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM)

My name is Valerie (pronouns: she/her) and Im a graduate student in Molecular and Cell Biology. Im interested in how pathogens interact with their host to cause disease and how the immune system responds to pathogens. Ill be happy to hear what your research interest are! Im from Puerto Rico! As a Latina woman and minority in the sciences, I understand how isolating it can feel to not find many people that look like you, share similar experiences, do research or hold important positions here on campus. This fuels my desire to help increase diversity and inclusion in the sciences and cultivate a sense of belonging within the community. I am passionate about helping students like you get access to research and higher education. Along with Ifechukwu, Emma, and Londi, Im here to help you!

Emma Yataco Undergraduate Coordinator Social Science and Humanities (SSH)

Hi there! I am an Interdisciplinary Studies Field (ISF) major writing my senior thesis on religious conversion. I was a 2019 SURF fellow and am currently participating in the Undergraduate Research Apprenticeship Program (URAP). I am a transfer student from DVC, and a DSP student. This year I hope to empower you, my fellow underrepresented students of color, to pursue your dreams and goals in research. I am passionate about research and about increasing our representation in the academy. Feel free to reach out with questions about SURF, URAP, the ISF major, or the other research programs on campus. I look forward to meeting you all!