Program provides career development and networking opportunities, fosters equity and inclusion
Submitted by Merck & Co., Inc.
We recognize that diversity is a catalyst for world-class science and innovation. We also work to support the next generation of scientists through a series of programs geared towards underrepresented students and post-docs in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields.
The new Merck Research Award for Underrepresented Chemists of Color adds to our company’s efforts to promote diversity, inclusion and equity in all that we do.
David Thaisrivongs, a Merck Research Laboratories chemist who designed and launched the award with his team, said, “I was inspired to think about ways we could make a difference in supporting greater diversity and inclusion in the field of chemistry. We recognize the value in mentorship and our strong support network within our company, so we designed the award program to create a supportive, inclusive networking environment for rising chemists of color.”
Supporting underrepresented chemists of color
The Merck Research Award for Underrepresented Chemists of Color recognizes graduate students and post-doctoral fellows for their chemical science research across a range of focuses — such as computational, analytical, medicinal, biological and synthetic chemistry.
Participants are paired with scientific mentors at Merck who are able to provide guidance, feedback and connections relevant to their research. The researchers then present their work to peers and mentors at an award symposium, where a team of diverse Merck scientists choose the winners. In addition to participants’ research, judges also consider their potential to be scientific pioneers and innovators and how they may help fellow underrepresented individuals in the future.
“Seeing how willing people are to share their stories and be vulnerable among their peers has inspired me to embrace my own personal story and share my unique experiences with my colleagues,” said Dr. Jennifer Obligacion, associate principal scientist and mentor in the award program. “I’ve found that this sharing enriches relationships with my colleagues, and I think it makes us better chemists.”
Honoring the 2021 recipients
The inaugural recipients of the Merck Research Awards for Underrepresented Chemists of Color are:
Creating more opportunities for people of color in science
Thaisrivongs hopes that this new yearly award program continues to complement our efforts to support diversity and inclusion.
“It’s exciting to see my colleagues across the company embrace this program and look into establishing similar mentorship opportunities in their departments,” he says. “I am also inspired by how visible this award has become — other companies have reached out to me to see how to start their own programs, and that’s just great for the whole community.”
To learn more about the program, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Learn more about the company’s commitment to diversity and inclusion in their Corporate Responsibility Report.
Today’s Merck is a global health care leader working to help the world be well. Merck is known as MSD outside the United States and Canada. Through our prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies and animal health products, we work with customers and operate in more than 140 countries to deliver innovative health solutions.
We also demonstrate our commitment to increasing access to health care through far-reaching policies, programs and partnerships.
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