The University of Wisconsin–Madison Department of Chemistry received the 2020 Diversity Award from the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents.

According to a news release by UW–Madison Communications, the UW–Madison Chemistry Department received this award in recognition of their programs designed to help underrepresented groups in the field excel in the Chemistry graduate program.

The news release said one of the main underrepresented groups in the doctoral programs are women, many receiving undergraduate degrees but not moving on from those programs.

Chair of the Chemistry Department Judith Burstyn said in the release that the award celebrates their efforts towards creating more diversity, and this is “just the beginning” of the department’s efforts.

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“These achievements are the result of everyone in the department who works tirelessly to build diversity through the creation of key programs and mentorship of students,” Burstyn said in the news release.

A few of the UW–Madison Chemistry Department’s key programs include Chemistry Opportunities and Research Experiences for Undergraduates. According to the programs’ websites, they serve as opportunities in the department to reach underrepresented populations and allow them to explore the doctoral programs.

One of the key programs designed for graduate student success is a program called Catalyst. According to the program’s website, Catalyst is a mentoring program geared towards helping first generation, low-income and underrepresented student populations.

“The program consists of a peer-mentoring scaffold and a professional development seminar series that helps create a sense of belonging and connection between participating first-year students and their peers, department, campus, and the Madison community,” the Catalyst website said.

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According to the news release, the UW System Office of Academic and Student Affairs chooses the recipients of the award. Other recipients across the state include an Associate Professor from the UW–Milwaukee School of Architecture and Urban Planning and UW–Stout’s Fostering Success program.

The news release said the Board of Regents awards each recipient $7,500, and the chemistry department will put this money towards further development of its existing programs to reach underrepresented students.

The three recipients of the award will be honored at the 12th annual Regent’s Diversity Awards at the Board of Regents meeting in Madison Feb. 7.

“Everyone benefits from diverse perspectives,” Burstyn said in the news release. “We recognized that need in our department and have worked to find effective solutions.”