The UC LEADS Program is one of the most prestigious fellowships awarded by the University of California system. This program provides up to nine UCLA upper-division undergraduate students in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics with educational experiences that prepare them to assume positions of leadership in academia, industry, government, and public service following the completion of a doctoral degree, preferably at the University of California.

Each UC LEADS Scholar is provided with resources over the two-year period to:

  • Receive funding to conduct research with the guidance of a faculty mentor during the academic year
  • Participate in two summer research programs at UCLA and another UC campus
  • Learn about research and graduate study opportunities other UC campuses
  • Attend and present research at the Annual UC LEADS Research & Leadership Symposium
  • Annually attend a National Conference to present research findings
  • Participate quarterly in journal club and leadership training seminars
  • Participate in professional development seminars and workshops
  • Attend quarterly meetings with the Deans of Graduate Division
  • Participate in quarterly group social activities


The application has three parts: 

1) Online application consisting of two (2) essays;

  • Research Statement: The current research statement should be a brief summary of your research experience (introduction, hypothesis, materials & methods, Expected/Actual Results). OR If you are not currently in a research lab, please list three (3) faculty with whom you would like to work. Please elaborate on why you would like to work with these faculty specifically. 
  • Personal Statement: Please elaborate on all of the following topics: your family, education, your community background, your career objectives, factors which contributed to your decision to study science, your particular area of research interest, why you wish to participate in the UC LEADS program, and how your participation may help you achieve your career goals. 

2) One letter of recommendation

  • These should be on letterhead and emailed to The letter of recommendation does not require a cover sheet.

3) Laboratory Training Certification 


  • Experienced educational barriers to their academic progress, or who express a commitment to address the barriers that prevent participation of students from underrepresented groups in graduate academic programs.
  • Experienced situations or conditions that impacted their advancement or ability to advance in a STEM field (e.g. the absence of a role model in the STEM field, absence of a family member who received a four-year college degree or graduation from high school with poor financial or curricular support).
  • Leadership potential to address the issues of underrepresentation of domestic minorities in the STEM fields.
  • The potential to gain the personal and multicultural competency skills necessary to address the needs of a diverse State and global community through science and technology.


To be eligible for selection, applicants must be:

  • A Physical Sciences or Engineering major (beginning 2014 the UCLA UC LEADS program is no longer admitting Life Science Majors)
  • Educationally and/or economically disadvantaged
  • Interested in research and have identified a research lab
  • Seasoned UC sophomores or rising junior standing. Since this is a two-year program, UC LEADS scholars will need to be available to spend one summer performing research at their home campus and then a second summer performing research at another UC campus.
  • Intending to pursue a PhD in a STEM field
  • In good academic standing in undergraduate degree program with a minimum GPA of 3.0
  • Able to demonstrate potential for success in a graduate program
  • Citizens or permanent residents of the United States or AB540 students




The application for the 2019-2021 UC LEADS Cohort is now Closed
Applications for the 2020 -2022 cohort will open in March 2020!
Deadline: TBD

2015-2016 UC LEADS Cohort


Pictured from left to right (top row): Katie Cosby, UC LEADS Program Representative), Andrea Castro, Winn Huynh, Jacob Bogdanov, Tran Tsan, Rodolfo Barranco. Pictured from left to right (bottom row):Andres Vargas, Siara Fabbri, Dr. Devin Horton (UC LEADS Program DirectorLuis Chincilla-Garcia, Lesly Lopez, and Jessica Tran. 

2014-2015 UC LEADS Cohort
UC LEADS group 2014 small

Pictured from left to right (top row): Anthony Lopez, Rodolfo Barranco, Huwate Yeerna, Andres Vargas. Pictured from left to right (bottom row): Amalia Castaneda (former Program Representative), Jacob Bogdanov, Winn Huynh, Erick Garcia, Andrea Reyes-Ortiz, Emilia Wieczorek, Kim Tran, Eric Lai, Dr. Devin Horton (UC LEADS Program Director)

2013-2014 UC LEADS Cohort
UC LEADS Group 13-14 (Smaller)


Pictured left to right: Dr. Pirouz Kavehpour (Faculty Director), Daniel Foster, Ervin Herrera, Dr. Sonia Zarate (Former Administrative Director), Amalia Castaneda (former Program Coordinator), Kimberly Hoi, Vito Iaia, Walter Mancia, Sam Yang

Karen Ekeruche!

UC LEADS would like to congratulate Karen Ekeruche on her 3rd Place award at the 12th Annual Reesearch Intensive Series in Engineering for Underrepresented Populations (RISE-UP) undergraduate poster competition! Pictured are Poster Competition Judge Dr. Esther Lan, Karen, and Dr. Audrey Pool O'Neal. 




For more information, please contact:

Breana Musella

UC LEADS Program Representative

URC-Sciences, Program Representative
Phone: 310-206-2182

Click below for the 2013-2014 UC LEADS Scholars' Profiles:

Please visit the UC-Wide UC LEADS webpage for more information about the program: