Collaborative relationships lead to action.

OSU’S Pre-Doctoral Scholars program is proof.

The advancement of diversity, equity and inclusion is an integral part of the university’s mission. Building relationships with the next generation of academic leaders is one way to make progress. The Pre-Doctoral Scholars Program opens the door to partnerships and collaboration — by identifying promising scholars with a history of DEI research — and bringing them to Oregon State University.

The program, developed by the Office of Faculty Affairs and the Office of Institutional Diversity, and supported by the Jackson Family Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Fund, was piloted last August. It pairs ABD (all but dissertation) scholars with a faculty member who has similar research interests.

Four scholars from across the U.S. were chosen:

  • Quincy Clark, who recently earned a Ph.D. from Purdue University in agricultural sciences education and communication, and whose research focuses on innovative technologies and practices for improving attraction, retention and diversity in the STEM fields.
  • Aundrea Collins, a Doctor of Public Health pre-candidate at Morgan State University, whose research focuses on training mental health professionals to be sexual health education “first responders” in psychiatric residential treatment settings.
  • Jesus Martinez-Gomez, a Ph.D. candidate at Cornell University, whose research studies the evolution of highly diverse plant architectures.
  • Olivia Vilá, a Ph.D. candidate at North Carolina State University, whose research emphasis is on disaster recovery, hazard mitigation and resilience — particularly in underserved communities.

During the weeklong visit, scholars were introduced to current university research and opportunities, making connections and helping identify community challenges. This year’s cohort toured OSU research and other facilities in Corvallis and Portland, the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport and Extension centers in Hermiston, Pendleton and Hood River.

Clark, for example, was paired with Silvia Rondon, a professor in the College of Agricultural Sciences, acting director of the Hermiston Agricultural Research and Extension Center, and director of the Oregon Integrated Pest Management Center. Clark says meeting with local growers, community leaders and other university researchers statewide revealed new opportuni - ties for teamwork.

“The program helped me to better understand how my research in agricultural education can complement the research that plant pathologists, biologists, horticulturists, entomologists and agronomists are conducting at agricultural research centers,” she says.

Clark says the Pre-Doctoral Scholars Program was an enriching experience where she felt welcome and appreciated. She adds that the scientists she met were genuinely interested in helping each visiting scholar discover how their research could fit in at Oregon State.

The Pre-Doctoral Scholars program is also used as a recruiting tool for future faculty members by showcasing all that Oregon State has to offer. And the mentoring and relationship-building it provides propels them toward success no matter where they end up.

That’s one more step toward an equitable, inclusive academic community — at Oregon State and beyond.



Front row: Regan Gurung, College of Liberal arts mentor, stands with pre-doctoral scholars Aundrea Collins, Olivia Vilá, Quincy Clark, Jesus Martinez-Gomez and College of Agricultural Sciences mentor Silvia Rondon. Back row: Flaxen Conway, College of Liberal Arts mentor.

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