The Diversity Project is a Transformative, Student-Centered, Research-Intensive Summer Program Focused on Advancing Diversity in Marine Science and Conservation

Marine environments are threatened worldwide, and the conservation and sustainability of these valuable ecosystems requires scientists from a diversity of backgrounds who bring unique perspectives and approaches. The Diversity Project is  built on the premise that anyone can become a marine scientist. This means YOU!

The Diversity Project is a 10-week long program held both on the campus of  UCLA and in the field at the Gump South Pacific Research Station on the island of Mo’orea, French Polynesia. In this program you’ll learn about the ecology, biodiversity and conservation of tropical marine ecosystems, and then apply this knowledge in small group research projects that YOU will develop. The program offers basic SCUBA and AAUS Scientific Diver training, as well as insights and mentoring into how to be a competitive applicant for leading graduate programs and future careers in marine science and conservation.

Participating Students will receive:

  • A $6000 Stipend
  • Transportation from your home to Los Angeles.
  • Basic SCUBA and AAUS Scientific Diving Training
  • Transportation and field expenses for field research in Mo’orea, French Polynesia.
  • Introductions to leading marine PhD programs in Southern California, such as UCSB, Scripps Institute of Oceanography and UCLA
  • Exposure to a network of diverse marine scientists and conservation biologists, and a wide range of career opportunities

 Program Overview: Launched in the summer of 2005, and run in partnership with UCLA Professors Dr. Paul Barber and Dr. Peggy Fong, the Diversity Project is a research-intensive educational program designed to increase participation of underrepresented minority students in marine biology and conservation  through an integrated research and mentoring experience. This program is supported by funding from the UC-HBCU initiative, the National Science Foundation, and the National Philanthropic Trust.

Over 10 weeks, students in The Diversity Project will work with a team of faculty, postdocs and graduate students to learn integrative approaches towards the study of the ecology and biodiversity of coral reef ecosystems and their conservation.  We complement fieldwork/laboratory research with mentoring on career development, ranging from successfully applying to graduate school to choosing a career. In addition to the summer, we provide mentoring on  preparing your research for publication and presentation at national/international scientific conferences.

Alumni of The Diversity Project include university faculty, leaders in conservation biology organizations, and scientists in governmental and non-governmental organizations, and our program includes networking events to integrate you into this network and expose you to the diverse career opportunities in marine science, particularly marine conservation.

Want to know what it’s like to be in The Diversity Project? Check out comments from our amazing Alumni!

To apply to The Diversity  Project, send an email to paulbarber@ucla.edu and request an application.

The application period for 2024 closed January 15. The application period for summer 2025 will reopen in October, 2024.