UC LEADS Pre-PhD Research & Leadership Program

The University of California Leadership Excellence through Advanced Degrees (UC LEADS) program is designed to engage and educate California's future leaders by preparing promising students for advanced education in science, technology, mathematics and engineering (STEM). UC LEADS is designed to identify upper-division undergraduate students with the potential to succeed in these disciplines, but who have experienced situations or conditions that have adversely impacted their advancement in their field of study. Scholars are selected to participate in paid undergraduate research (two summers), leadership development, professional development, advising, community building, and graduate school application support. UC LEADS boasts a 76% success rate of our research scholars going on to STEM graduate programs. We are also proud to have UC Berkeley Faculty Research Mentor Dr. Alex Filippenko as one of the Faculty Representatives for our UC LEADS Statewide Steering Committee.

Isabella and her lab, Summer Research Poster Showcase 2022
Isabella and her lab, Summer Research Poster Showcase 2022

Summer Research Poster Showcase

Opportunities and Benefits

Dr. Ortiz and Dr. Matsui inspire students at 2016 Statewide Symposium
Dr. Ortiz and Dr. Matsui inspire students at a past Statewide Symposium
  • Paid summer research experience
  • Statewide research symposium
  • Professional and scientific society meetings
  • Travel to other UC campuses
  • Academic enrichment activities
  • GRE prep​

Summer Research Poster Showcase

2024 Cohort | Application Open

Our 2024 application is now closed and we have selected 7 scholars. Our next application cycle will open in January 2025.

2023 Cohort

  • Andrew Gabagat, Molecular & Cellular Biology
  • Cassandra Reyes, Bioengineering
  • Clarissa Jacobo Hernandez, Bioengineering
  • Jason Hodes, Mechanical Engineering
  • Jenna Bae, Computer Science & Chemistry
  • Vy Duong, Chemical Engineering

2022 Cohort

  • Aldo Gonzalez Ruiz, Mechanical Engineering
  • Efrain Alvarado, Astrophysics
  • Isabella Demetz, Industrial Engineering and Operations Research
  • Gabrielle Stewart, Astrophysics
  • Kate Bostow, Astrophysics
  • Santiago Karam Padilla, Industrial Engineering and Operations Research

2021 Cohort

  • Martin Beshara, Mechanical Engineering
  • Thee Ho, Computer Science
  • Isaac Sloan, Applied Mathematics & Modeling
  • Alfred Vargas, Chemical Engineering
  • Padma Venkatraman, Astrophysics & Data Science

2020 Cohort

  • Jose Magana, Geophysics & Seismology
  • Jesus Martinez Martinez, Astrophysics & Physics
  • Irene Ortega, Cognitive Science & Computer Science
  • Claudia Renero, Mechanical Engineering
  • Wyatt Singh, Mathematics and Slavic Language/Literature
  • Toren D’Nelly-Warady, Mathematics & Computer Science

2019 Cohort

  • Gael Flores, Physics
  • Vanessa Hernandez-Cruz, Mechanical Engineering
  • Jason Jiang, Data Science & Math
  • Eshaan Pathak, Comp Sci
  • German Perea, Civil Eng

2018 Cohort

  • Alexis Andres Palacios Duran, Physics
  • Arismel Tena-Meza, Chemistry
  • Camille Harris, Computer Science
  • Emily Hill, Computer Science
  • Evylyn Deagueros, Physics
  • Mayia Vranas, Physics

2017 Cohort

  • Cindy Barrios, Biological Sciences
  • Lekha Patil, Math & Data Science
  • Silvia Miramontes-Lizarraga, Math & Astrophysics
  • Yasmeen Musthafa, Physics
  • Brandon Tran, Computer Science

Additional Information

UC LEADS is a UC statewide program (partially funded through SAPEP-GSPP). It is a two-year program designed to help students interested in pursuing doctoral STEM degree programs. The program provides students with educational experiences that prepare them to assume positions of leadership in industry, government, public service, and academia. It is a UC-centric program that provides a paid summer research internship at UC Berkeley and a second summer of paid research at another UC campus. The program helps cover some of the costs such as housing, food, transportation to and from that UC campus and research stipend. Each spring five to seven UC LEADS scholars are selected. This program also has an annual research and leadership symposium which rotates among the UC campuses to host. Our 2020-2021 statewide annual report can be found here.

Eligibility Snapshot

  • Students from non-dominant communities are encouraged to apply
  • Must be a registered UC Berkeley student at the time of the application
  • U.S. citizens, permanent residents, or DREAMers
  • Program is designed for Sophomore and Junior STEM majors interested in going to STEM graduate school programs
  • Ideally 3.0 overall UC Berkeley GPA
  • There is a two year/two summer commitment (unless you are a transfer student - at least one summer needed before you graduate)


1) I have more questions, who can I ask?

—-Please text your questions or call Diana a #510.778.5165 or e-mail them to Chris at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

2) Is there a stipend associated with this experience?

—-Yes, for scholars eligible for both summers, the stipends are $4,000 for 2023 summer and $4,500 for summer 2024

3) Can I take summer school and do this program?

—-Unfortunately, no. You will be expected to immerse yourself into your faculty mentored research lab for 35 hours a week during our summer program.

4) I already have a UC Berkeley faculty research mentor that I have been working with on campus. Can I still apply?


5) Will we present our research?

—-Yes, for summer 2023 we will be doing poster presentations at the end of our summer program and then a research poster presentation at our statewide symposium (typically in March).

6) I am a freshman or senior, can I still apply?

—Per our statewide efforts, we are working on recruiting sophomores or new transfer juniors to our program, though we will read all applications. More research opportunities can be found a

7) What are the program dates for summer 2023?

—Monday, June 12th to Friday, August, 4th, 2023

UC LEAD Scholar Andrew presenting his research at statewide symposium
UC LEAD Scholar Andrew (right) presenting his bioengineering research at the UC LEADS statewide symposium. Andrew earned his PhD in Bioengineering at Vanderbilt university, working on exoskeleton legs. Dr. Ekelem is now Chief Product Officer at Evolution Devices, where he makes rehabilitation robotics.