2023-2024 UCLA Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Student Leadership Award

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Emil Dominguez

Biochemistry undergraduate student Emil Dominguez ’25 (Backus group) is one of seven UCLA students (four graduate/professional and three undergraduate) chosen for the 2023-24 UCLA EDI Student Leadership Award. This award, established in Fall 2022, recognizes exceptional leadership, innovation, and engagement, as well as the significant and positive contributions made by the recipient to the advancement of EDI at UCLA.

As an undergraduate researcher in Professor Keriann Backus’ group, Dominguez works on chemical probe synthesis for mode of action studies to help guide identification of new candidate therapeutic targets.

Dominguez is currently serving as the Co-President of the Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics & Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) at UCLA. In this role, Dominguez helps coordinate community outreach events and fosters an inclusive home for students who are underrepresented in science.

As Co-Chair of UCLA LatinX Transfer Day in 2022-23, Dominguez organized and led UCLA undergraduate volunteers in planning and executing the UCLA LatinX Transfer Day, which honors the accomplishments of Latinx students and helps ease their transition into the university, emphasizing that they will have a safe space and community at UCLA.

Since 2019, Dominguez has volunteered at Emanate Health in the COPE Health Scholar Program and served as a Course Instructor in California prison facilities with the Prison Education Project.

Dominguez graduated from Rio Hondo College in 2022 with an A.S. degree in Chemistry, where he was named 2021 Chemistry Student of the Year. While at Rio Hondo College, Dominguez pursued natural product total synthesis research in the Kou Laboratory at the University of California, Riverside, and participated in the UCLA-Caltech Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) Richard Morgan Undergraduate Fellowship. Demonstrating his commitment to research, he earned acceptance into the UCLA Maximizing Access to Research Careers (MARC) program and UCLA biomedical research minor in winter 2023. In the summer of 2023, Dominguez joined the Trauner Research Group at The University of Pennsylvania as a summer intern through The University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine Summer Undergraduate Internship Program (SUIP). This upcoming summer, 2024, Dominguez plans to attend Vanderbilt University as an intern in the Vanderbilt MSTP Summer Research Program.  

Penny Jennings, UCLA Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, penny@chem.ucla.edu.