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Spiridoula Matsika

Dr. Spiridoula Matsika, coPI

Dr. Matsika, Professor of Chemistry and chair of undergraduate committee at CST, has demonstrated strong commitment in mentoring students in rigorous research during the past 18 years as a faculty at Temple University. Her track record of continuous funding from NSF and DOE has facilitated a variety of studies to understand basic chemical processes important in biological systems, among other areas. As an internationally recognized scientist in theoretical chemistry, she has published over 110 peer-reviewed publications and delivered about 130 invited presentations at regional, national, and international conferences and universities. Her commitment to mentoring and diversity is obvious from her record: she has mentored more than 20 undergraduate students at Temple University (including several minoritized and/or female students), and 20 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. Undergraduate students in her group receive mentoring and an excellent introduction to research, and many of them publish their work. 11 publications have resulted from the research performed by undergraduate students in her group, with most of these students being the first (lead) author in the paper. Most of them continue to thrive after graduation, by receiving prestigious awards, such as the NSF GRFP fellowship, and being accepted to prestigious graduate programs, such as CalTech, Stanford and others. She is a long-term mentor for MARC trainees, having mentored two MARC alums. Chey Jones successfully defended his PhD thesis in Chemistry in April 2022 at Standford U. Quynh Nguyen, Scientist at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory defended her PhD thesis in Chemical Physics at U Colorado Boulder in 2020. Finally, her experience as chair of the undergraduate committee in Chemistry and a faculty advisor for students, makes her uniquely positioned to know the academic challenges of the students and the curriculum needs and developments within CST and apply her knowledge to MARC scholars.

Grace Ma coPI

Dr. Grace Ma, coPI

Dr. Ma is Associate Dean for Health Disparities and Laura H Carnell Professor in Population Sciences and Public Health at LKSOM, and has demonstrated strong leadership skills in directing NIH funded research and education programs. She has 20+ years of NIH continuing funding in U01 and U54 Health Disparity Center grants that have focused on Health Disparity Research, Education (Trained/Mentored underrepresented diverse students and trainees) and Community Engagement in underserved minority populations. Dr. Ma herself has mentored over 180 trainees, ranging from URM and diverse low-income first-generation undergraduate students to Master’s, doctoral/PhD, post-doctoral to junior faculty. Dr. Ma and her program have created a pipeline of diverse researchers and scientists to conduct health disparity research in underserved ethnic minority populations across behavioral, basic and population sciences. Over 80 of her 165 peer-reviewed publications have engaged trainees as co-authors, many of them are undergraduate trainees from Temple CST Undergraduate Research Program (URP) including MARC trainees. One of the major components of her current NIH/NCI funded U54 Center grant, TUFCCC/HC Comprehensive Regional Cancer Health Disparity Partnership, is to provide research education and career development opportunities to support a pipeline of diverse undergraduate, graduate students and early-stage investigators in biomedical, behavioral and health disparity research to advance health equity in underserved African American, Hispanic and Asian Pacific American communities and populations. In the MARC program, Dr. Ma will not only co-lead the overall program, but also facilitate the collaboration and partnership of science activities between MARC program and NIH-funded active T32 pre-doctoral training programs, U54 center grant and biomedical research centers across LKSOM.

Dr. Liz Russell McKenzie, coDirector

Dr. Liz, as she is known by the MARC family has been with the Maximizing Access to Research Careers NIH/NIGMS funded program here at Temple University since the first eight MARC scholars entered the program in 2009. Along with Dr. Jacqueline Tanaka, PI for the previous MARC grant, she guided and mentored over 100 MARC scholars to post-graduate studies and careers in STEM. An educational psychologist by profession with a focus on evaluation, and Temple alum herself, with a strong interest in the diversification of the STEM research pipeline, she was invited to be an integral part of the team for this second iteration of the MARC grant. She is Assistant Professor (Practice) Chemistry, and co-Director of the NIGMS T34 MARC program. Dr. Liz is vested in the successful transition of the MARC scholars to the next phases of their careers, by ensuring that each scholar receives the personal and professional development, and individual mentoring, advising, and counseling necessary for individual success. With over 15 years’ experience, Dr. Russell McKenzie is/has been evaluator of record/ evaluation team member on numerous federally funded grant mechanisms including but not limited to NIH T32, T34, T36, R13, R25, K12, U54 and DaTA grants; various NSF awards; HHMI awards; and needs assessments and quality indices for community-based organizations. These activities involve over 50 universities, colleges, medical schools, professional societies, or community institutions. Evaluation feedback has been mainly in the form of over 300 technical evaluation reports and evaluation workshops. Research arising from the evaluations has also been presented at various conferences. As such she brings to this position a wealth of knowledge, training and experience. Training in human psychological development and cognition, quantitative and qualitative research methodologies, as well as experiences as a woman in science from a minoritized population, adds to her ability to understand and interpret the pathways to achievement at various levels of the ”pipeline.”