Skip to main content
Skip to main menu Skip to spotlight region Skip to secondary region Skip to UGA region Skip to Tertiary region Skip to Quaternary region Skip to unit footer


Plant biology students and faculty help remove obstacles for graduate school applications

Summer and Shu-Mei

In November the Integrated Plant Sciences (IPS) program at UGA provided a unique opportunity for prospective applicants to get feedback on their graduate school applications and insights into the interview process.  

The Diversity Preview Week is aimed at students interested in applying to IPS, especially those from underrepresented groups in STEM. This program provides applicants the opportunity to 1. meet with potential faculty advisors, 2. attend a graduate student-led panel with Q&A, and 3. receive individual feedback on their written application materials from two current graduate students in the IPS program. Participation in the program for interested applicants also included waived graduate school application fees. 

Plant biology PhD student, Summer Blanco, a leader of the program provides insight on the motivation for this program.  “This program was born out of the recognition that Plant Biology and many other IPS-affiliated departments have very few Black & Brown students.” She adds, “It is my hope that programs such as the Diversity Preview Weekend will 1. support students from Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs) in preparing a strong graduate school application & 2) foster a diverse Plant Sciences community at UGA.”  

In this inaugural IPS Diversity Preview Week, a total of 14 applications from undergraduate students at 12 institutions were reviewed, including 5 from international applicants and 2 from applicants from minority serving institutions. Eight of the 28 graduate student reviewers were from plant biology.  Plant biology students are also prominently represented in the program organization, including Summer Blanco, Clayton Hale, Kayla Bonilla, Chazz Jordan, Sammantha Surber, Ethan Baldwin, and Max Barnhart.  Faculty and staff organizers included Shu-mei Chang, Jim Leebens-Mack, and Chelsea Hargroves.   


Support us

We appreciate your financial support. Your gift is important to us and helps support critical opportunities for students and faculty alike, including lectures, travel support, and any number of educational events that augment the classroom experience. Click here to learn more about giving.

Give Now

Every dollar given has a direct impact upon our students and faculty.