Funded by Genentech Foundation, More Than 100 College of Science & Engineering Students a Year Will Receive Transformative Scholarships
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 the 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.
“It’s vital that students who are pursuing a degree in biology, chemistry and physics spend time in a lab. Until they get engaged in the process of discovery, they’re not really scientists, they’re science historians.”
-Frank Bayliss, Professor Emeritus of Biology
CoSE biology student Daisy Salazar was thrilled to tell her parents that she had been awarded a Genentech Foundation scholarship, “Their faces lit up and it made me feel really proud. And that’s what I want — to make my parents proud of me,” said Daisy
The Genentech grant will support 112 students a year, enabling them to assist in research rather than work off-campus
Wilmer Amaya-Mejia, a second-year master's student in Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology at SF State is a Genentech Foundation Dissertation Scholar. Since 2008, 55 CoSE master's students have received scholarships, with 50 entering Ph.D. programs afterward
Receiving a Genentech Foundation scholarship has been transformational for Ana Rodriquez, a CoSE biology senior. Until recently, she worked 25-30 hours a week at a steakhouse, supporting herself and her family while going to school full time. The Genentech Foundation scholarship has enabled her to quit this job. “I spend my entire day on campus now, participating in the program,” said Ana. “I do research here, I teach physics to students who need support, and I’m part of the community.”
The Genentech Foundation has generously supported the College of Science & Engineering for more than 10 years. Inspired by the positive impact of past funding, the Foundation has now committed to deepening its partnership with the college. “We have seen that San Francisco State students are passionate and tenacious, which are critical characteristics for scientific research,” relates Kristin Campbell Reed, Senior Director, Genentech Corporate & Employee Giving, and Executive Director, Genentech Foundation. “Our goal is to ensure that any student who wants to pursue a science degree has the opportunity to do so.”
Receiving a Genentech Foundation scholarship allowed Karolina Maytorena to quit a job in the catering business and devote more time to her biology studies and research in CoSE
Ana Rodriguez, a CoSE biology senior was able to quit her job in a restaurant after receiving a Genentech Foundation scholarship. "I spend my entire day on campus now, participating in the program. I do research here, I teach physics to students who need support, and I'm part of the community"
The grant to San Francisco State is the largest ever made by the Genentech Foundation, which has increased its support from five students a year to 112. “I am very grateful to the Foundation for their generosity and trust in partnering with SF State,” said the University’s president, Lynn Mahoney, Ph.D. “I am also proud of our faculty, staff, and students, who have built a successful program that inspires support and is a positive force for our community.”
The Genentech Foundation grant will play a large role in the development of the life sciences workforce in the Bay Area, which is generally less diverse than SF State’s student body. “We believe in creating more equitable on-ramps to the fields of science and medicine,” Campbell Reed said. “If the life sciences workforce reflects the patient populations we’re serving, we can better develop medicines and services that meet their needs.”
“We believe in creating more equitable on-ramps to the fields of science and medicine. If the life sciences workforce reflects the patient populations we're serving, we can better develop medicines and services that meet their needs.”
-Kristin Campbell Reed, Executive Director, Genentech Foundation
Dr. Carmen Domingo, dean of the College of Science & Engineering, hopes that the Genentech Foundation’s grant will inspire more grants and gifts to the college, which annually educates 7,300 students. “The majority of our students come from and remain in the Bay Area after graduation,” said Domingo. “We are situated right here in the metropolis of technology, which makes us an excellent partner for businesses in providing a local skilled workforce that enables them to stay at the forefront of their industries.”