When Daisy Salazar, the daughter of Mexican immigrants and the first in her family to attend college, learned that she had been awarded a $24,200 scholarship funded by the Genentech Foundation, she couldn’t believe that she had been chosen. Once the news sunk in, Daisy, a fourth-year biology student in San Francisco State University’s College of Science & Engineering (CoSE), was elated. “Emotionally, it impacted me because it made me feel better about myself — like I belong here,” said Daisy. Telling her parents about the scholarship was a high point: “Their faces lit up and it made me feel really proud. And that’s what I want — to make my parents proud of me.”
The Genentech Foundation’s recent $10.5 million grant to San Francisco State University’s College of Science & Engineering is one of the largest gifts the University has ever received. Distributed over five years, the grant will fund three initiatives managed by the college’s Student Enrichment Opportunities Office. Approximately 80% of the grant will go towards support of students from low-income backgrounds, with the remainder going to the management and staffing of the program. Awards will be made annually to 92 undergraduates and 20 graduate students. Recipients will be provided with opportunities to engage in research, supportive workshops, colloquia, mentoring, special classes, speaker series, tutoring and seminars.
A primary goal of the Genentech Foundation programs, designed by Professor Emeritus of Biology Frank Bayliss, is to alleviate the need for STEM students to work at outside jobs, so they have time to engage in research instead. “It’s vital that students who are pursuing a degree in biology, chemistry and physics spend time in a lab,” said Bayliss. “Until they get engaged in the process of discovery, they’re not really scientists, they’re science historians.” Lab experience is also often a requirement for students applying to Ph.D. programs after graduation.