INSIGHT into Diversity magazine has presented a 2020 Inspiring Programs in STEM Award to UB’s CLIMB, founded and directed by Margarita L. Dubocovich, PhD (above). The photograph was taken prior to COVID-19.

Magazine Recognizes UB’s Biosciences Diversity Program

Published October 28, 2020

CLIMB, an innovative and comprehensive diversity program at the University at Buffalo that provides intensive mentoring experiences for biosciences students from undergraduate through postdoctoral levels, has received an award from INSIGHT into Diversity magazine.

“At the heart of CLIMB’s success is our passion for helping students and junior scientists develop into tomorrow’s scientific leaders. ”
SUNY Distinguished Professor of pharmacology and toxicology, senior associate dean for diversity and inclusion and the founder and director of UB’s chapter of CLIMB
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CLIMB Supports Students, Researchers

The magazine’s 2020 Inspiring Programs in STEM Award honors colleges and universities that encourage and assist students from underrepresented groups to enter the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

CLIMB (Collaborative Learning and Integrated Mentoring in the Biosciences) was founded at UB in 2009 by Margarita L. Dubocovich, PhD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of pharmacology and toxicology and senior associate dean for diversity and inclusion at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

Since 2009, CLIMB has supported and mentored 469 summer undergraduates, graduate students and postdoctoral researchers throughout the U.S. to help advance their careers through intensive research experiences at UB. Of those, 44 percent have been from underrepresented backgrounds. 

UB’s CLIMB program has four divisions:

  • CLIMB-UP (Undergraduate Program) provides undergraduate students from diverse groups at institutions throughout the U.S. with the support they need to adapt and thrive in summer research at UB, and guides them toward graduate and professional careers in the biosciences.
  • CLIMB Pathways for master’s students provides a pathway to success though career and professional development.
  • CLIMB-HI (High Impact) helps doctoral students at UB improve communication and professional skills needed to be a successful scientist.
  • CLIMB-NS (Next Step) is aimed at helping postdoctoral scientists advance toward a fulfilling career and leadership in their field.

In July 2020, the new group of doctoral students participating in the CLIMB-HI program successfully started the program virtually as a result of the pandemic.

Mentors Guide Current, Future Scientists

Dubocovich was inspired to start CLIMB because of her own background growing up in rural Argentina, where advancing to complete professional or scientific careers was not encouraged; an environment similar to what other students from underrepresented and diverse backgrounds face.

In her experience, the desire to pursue a scientific career in that kind of environment can be very isolating. At UB, the CLIMB programs are carefully designed to provide intensive and customized experiences — with an emphasis on mentoring by prominent UB scientists — for students from the undergraduate through postdoctoral level.

According to Dubocovich — who serves as director of CLIMB — the program’s philosophy is to help all students who are excited about doing scientific research succeed at every level so that they can keep advancing in their studies, research and careers.

“At the heart of CLIMB’s success is our passion for helping students and junior scientists develop into tomorrow’s scientific leaders,” Dubocovich says.

Award Recipients Featured in September Issue

CLIMB was featured along with the other award recipients in the September 2020 issue of INSIGHT into Diversity magazine.

Inspiring Programs in STEM Award winners were selected by INSIGHT Into Diversity based on efforts to inspire and encourage a new generation of young people to consider careers in STEM through mentoring, teaching, research and successful programs and initiatives.

“We want to honor the schools and organizations that have created programs that inspire and encourage young people who may currently be in, or are interested in, a future career in STEM,” says Lenore Pearlstein, owner and publisher of the magazine. “We are proud to honor these programs as role models to other institutions of higher education and beyond.”