Eugene V. Cota-Robles Fellowship

  • For entering doctoral students who are interested in a career in college or university teaching and research
  • Individuals from cultural, racial, linguistic, geographic and socioeconomic backgrounds that are currently underrepresented in graduate education are especially encouraged to participate in the program. The intent of this fellowship is to provide access to higher education for students who might otherwise find it difficult or impossible to successfully pursue graduate study.
  • Applicants must be nominated by their home department
  • Minimum of four years of funding from the Graduate Division and awardee’s home department
    • Year 1: Graduate Division $25,000 stipend + fees/tuition + non-resident supplemental tuition (if applicable)
    • Year 2: Department funding (at same level as highest Graduate Division stipend) via stipend, teaching assistant or graduate student researcher (GSR) position+ fees/tuition
    • Year 3: Department funding (at same level as highest Graduate Division stipend) via stipend, teaching assistant or GSR position+ fees/tuition
    • Year 4: Graduate Division $25,000 stipend + fees/tuition (Cota-Robles 2)
  • If awardee is in a professional degree program, the professional degree supplemental tuition is not provided by this fellowship.
  • Fellows may not work in the first term of the fellowship.
  • Master’s, MD, DDS, or JD degrees not eligible
  • Eligibility
    • U.S. citizens, permanent residents, or undocumented students who qualify for nonresident supplemental tuition exemptions under AB 540
  • Apply
    • The deadline is the same as the deadline for your admissions application. Contact your prospective home department for any exceptions.
    • Review the Eugene Cota-Robles Application Instructions and complete the appropriate sections within the online admissions application. If you’ve already submitted your admissions application, complete both the Fellowship Application for Entering Graduate Students and a Diversity Statement (instructions are given on the form). Send both to your prospective home department.

Say hello to some Cota-Robles Fellows

Ashley AnguloAshley Angulo
Anderson School of Management
Year Entered Graduate School: 2011-2012

Research Interests

I focus on decision making. I’m interested in what persuades people to adopt certain behavioral changes over others. I study psychological states and how they influence choices to risk, cooperate, or deviate from homogeneous groups.

Brief Biography

I hail from the University of Chicago, where I studied Psychology and worked in the business school as a research assistant. I was influenced by Economics and took a liking to well-crafted field experiments. After graduation, I took time off to work in a Psychology and Public Policy Lab at the University of Virginia while I applied to programs. I really admire the work being conducted by my advisors and look forward to the papers we will write.

If stranded on a deserted island with only one type of meal to eat every day, what would you want it to be?

“Meal” to me implies multiple courses, so I think I’ll take full advantage of that assumption. I’d like cucumbers dressed in lime and salt to start, sushi as a main course, and top it all off with a pistachio flavored macaroon.

If you did not pursue a graduate degree what would you have pursued?

I still have that wild ambition from when I was a kid that I’d end up working for the EPA or Ad Council someday, so if I weren’t in a graduate program, I’d be filling out applications to work at the two institutions.


Veronica K. DeanVeronica K. Dean
French & Francophone Studies
Year Entered Graduate School: 2011-2012

Research Interests

My research interests include the [post]colonial relationship between France and the Maghreb in French and Francophone literature; beur literature and culture; and the representation of “the other”/foreigners and travel/exploration in classical French literature.

Brief Biography

I have always had a passion for literature, and when I started studying French in junior high, this passion developed into a love of the French language and French literature. This passion led to studying at Florida State University (FSU), where I earned a BA in French. While at FSU, I developed an interest in Francophone literature and postcolonial cultures in France. I also had the opportunity to study in France at l’Institut Catholique de Paris. After graduation, I worked in the College of Business at a small private university near my hometown in Alabama. It was there that I was able to apply my interests to the area of international business and education. My dream since high school was to pursue a PhD in French literature, and in 2011 I was accepted into UCLA’s renowned graduate French program. Graduate school has been a wonderful and rewarding experience!

If stranded on a deserted island with only one type of meal to eat every day, what would you want it to be?

I would have to choose cake – my favorite food!

If you did not pursue a graduate degree what would you have pursued?

I would have pursued teaching French at the junior high or high school level so I could hopefully inspire students to learn French and other foreign languages.


Julio Puente GarciJulio Puente Garci
Spanish and Portuguese
Year Entered Graduate School: 2011-2012

Research Interests

I’m interested in 20th Century Spanish American Literature and Cultures, with particular emphasis in narrative and poetry, and the geographical areas of Mexico and the Southern Cone. My research concentrates on the topic of modernity in Spanish America as it relates to subjectivity and individuality. Also, I’m interested in the ethical side of surrealism, anti-poetry and the anti-poetic movements throughout the 20th century in Spanish America. My other interest is Critical Theory, especially Post-Colonial Thought and theories of the subject.

Brief Biography

I was born and raised in a small city in the state of Guanajuato, Mexico, called Valle de Santiago. I came to California when I was almost nineteen years old and lived in the Central Valley from 2004 to 2011. I went to West Hills Community College, where I obtained an AA degree in Mathematics and another one in Liberal Arts in May 2007. I transferred to Cal State Fresno and graduated in May 2009 with a BA in Spanish, summa cum laude. On 2011, I received an MA in Spanish-with distinction from Fresno State. The same year I was awarded the Graduate Dean’s Medal and received the Outstanding Thesis Award by the College of Arts and Humanities for my MA thesis, “Modernity, Consciousness and Freedom of the Individual in Rulfo, Quiroga and Cortázar.”

If stranded on a deserted island with only one type of meal to eat every day, what would you want it to be?

It is not a meal per se, but I would pick corn. You can use it to cook an extremely large number of meals (it’s probably the most important component of Mexican food).

If you did not pursue a graduate degree what would you have pursued?

I don’t really know—graduate school has been in my plans for a long time.


Safia FaroleSafia Farole
Political Science
Year Entered Graduate School: 2011-2012

Research Interests

I conduct research in the Race, Ethnicity, and Politics subfield in Political Science, where I analyze the effect of racial and religious group identity on political attitudes and behavior. Specifically, I focus on the political implications of immigrant incorporation in immigrant-receiving western democracies.

Brief Biography

I was born in Mogadishu, Somalia, and I moved with my family to the United States in 1993 after the civil war began in my home country. As an undergraduate, I attended the University of Washington in Seattle and majored in Psychology and with a minor in Political Science. At UCLA, I enjoy researching and studying the politics of heterogeneity, and my career goal is to teach and research at a major research university.

If stranded on a deserted island with only one type of meal to eat every day, what would you want it to be?

If I were in this situation, I would want that meal to be rice and lamb — a popular Somalian dish.

If you did not pursue a graduate degree what would you have pursued?

If I didn’t pursue a graduate degree, I would have liked to work as a human rights advocate in the United Nations.


Michele KattkeMichele Kattke
ACCESS, then Molecular Biology
Year Entered Graduate School: 2011-2012

Research Interests

I am interested in protein structure-function relationships in the context of microbial pathogenesis. My current research focuses on biochemical and structural characterization of bacterial enzymes and their role in pathogenesis in order to develop novel antibiotics.

Brief Biography

I received my BS in Biochemistry from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where I evaluated the efficacy of T-cell receptor:cytokine fusions for cancer immunotherapy in the laboratory of Dr. David Kranz. Upon graduating, Ideveloped FRET-based biosensors for chem-bio agents in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Construction Engineering Research Laboratory. I entered the interdisciplinary program in Molecular Biology in 2012 through the ACCESS program and currently work in the laboratory of Robert Club in the Department of Biochemistry.

If stranded on a deserted island with only one type of meal to eat every day, what would you want it to be?

Peanut butter nutella sandwich.

If you did not pursue a graduate degree what would you have pursued?

Forensic science training.


Charles LeaCharles Lea
Luskin School of Public Affairs, Department of Social Welfare
Year Entered Graduate School: 2011-2012

Research Interests

Broadly, my research interest focuses on the life experiences of system-involved youth, in particular Black male juvenile offenders. More specifically, my aim is to identify key factors and strategies that are effective in improving these youth’s academic experiences and outcomes, as well as reducing risk behaviors associated with delinquent behavior and HIV infection.

Brief Biography

In 2004, I received my BA in Sociology from the University of California, Berkeley. Following graduation, I worked as a mental health assistant for a community-based organization, providing behavioral modification services to middle school students placed in a mental health day treatment program. After serving in this position for a year, I pursued a master’s in social work at the University of Michigan and was accepted into the program’s Community-Based Initiative Fellowship. Through this experience, I participated in community-based courses, projects, and fieldwork throughout disadvantaged communities in Detroit, MI, and served as a wraparound facilitator, providing case management services to system-involved and youth at risk of entering the juvenile justice system. Simultaneously I held a position as an HIV/AIDS health educator, providing outreach, counseling, and testing services to college students. Upon graduating from the University of Michigan, I served as a Policy Analyst for four and half years at a research and evaluation firm, assisting with studies in the areas of prisoner reentry, school reform, and workforce and youth development.

If stranded on a deserted island with only one type of meal to eat every day, what would you want it to be?

French fries with lots of ketchup!!!

If you did not pursue a graduate degree what would you have pursued?

If I were not pursuing a PhD, I would have pursued direct practice positions throughout the public school or juvenile correctional systems.


David J. LickDavid J. Lick
Psychology
Year Entered Graduate School: 2011-2012

Research Interests

Broadly, I am interested in prejudice against lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) individuals. On that topic, I ask two general questions: First, why are people prejudiced against LGB individuals? Second, how do experiences with prejudice affect mental and physical health outcomes for LGB people?

Brief Biography

I graduated from the University of Virginia (UVa) in 2009 with bachelor’s degrees in Psychology and American Studies. While at UVa, I pursued an independent research project investigating how portrayals of gay men in popular media influenced advocacy, policy, and public perceptions surrounding sexual minorities throughout the 20th century. At the same time, I worked closely withProfessors. Charlotte Patterson and Karen Schmidt to develop the Rainbow Families Project, which examined associations among early family experiences, current social climate, and long-term psychological adjustment for offspring of LGB parents. Currently, I am a PhD student in the Department of Psychology at UCLA. I work with Professor Kerri Johnson to study how people perceive others’ sexual orientations and how these perceptions translate into prejudiced evaluations of LGB targets. I am also examining health outcomes related to sexual prejudice in LGB communities. I hope this work collectively will enhance academic and public knowledge of the social determinants of sexual minority health.

If stranded on a deserted island with only one type of meal to eat every day, what would you want it to be?

That’s tough,but probably chips, salsa, and guacamole. Yum!

If you did not pursue a graduate degree what would you have pursued?

Musical theater. I’ve been performing since I was young, and I feel the most exhilarated when I’m on stage!


Tiffany MontgomeryTiffany Montgomery
Nursing
Year Entered Graduate School: 2011-2012

Research Interests

My current research interest lies in teen pregnancy prevention. I am especially interested in clinic-based interventions addressing teen pregnancy.

Brief Biography

In May 2005, I graduated from SJSU with a BS in Nursing and a minor in African-American Studies and was honored as the National Black Nurses Association Student Nurse of the Year. I began my nursing career as a labor and delivery nurse and have subsequently worked in various areas of maternal-child health, including both inpatient and outpatient care departments. In 2008, I decided to return to school for my master’s degree. I worked full-time while in the master’s program and was actively involved in the Xi Theta Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing. In May 2010, I graduated from California State University, Dominguez Hills, with an MS in Nursing, emphasizing in Nursing Education. The next year, two of my longtime dreams were actualized with the establishment of a scholarship fund for students at my former high school and the creation of Kyrie Mentoring Academy, a non-profit organization to help mentor high school students who desire to pursue a career in nursing.

If stranded on a deserted island with only one type of meal to eat every day, what would you want it to be?

The meal would consist of homemade mac ’ cheese, dressing, and a slice of peach cobbler.

If you did not pursue a graduate degree what would you have pursued?

If I weren’t currently in graduate school, I’d probably be working as a nurse educator in a hospital or ambulatory care clinic and maybe teaching online nursing courses part-time.


Kathy NgoKathy Ngo
ACCESS, then Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology
Year Entered Graduate School: 2011-2012

Research Interests

I am primarily interested in understanding mechanisms that control neural stem cell self-renewal and cell fate determination in the Drosophila medulla (the largest neuropile of the fly visual system) focusing on two general questions:

1. How do the signaling pathways integrate with one another to control the synchronized symmetric to asymmetric switch for neural stem cell self-renewal? What happens when the regulatory signals malfunction?

2. Can the cell fate be ultimately affected by local changes in the cellular environment?

Brief Biography

I received my BS in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at UCLA. In 2006, I joined the Journal of Young Investigators, an established international undergraduate peer-review science journal, as research editor under the Biological Sciences and Chemistry division. During my undergraduate career, I worked under Dr. Utpal Banerjee studying mechanisms of cellular signaling and co-authored a number of papers that appeared in high-impact journals, including Developmental Cell and Nature Methods. I earned many awards including: the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Undergraduate Research Award, Joan Palevsky Honors Research Scholarship, Naumburg Honors Programs Research Scholarship, and Rose Hills Undergraduate Science and Engineering Scholarship. In 2011, I received the National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship and recently presented my work at the Neuronal Identity Conference at the HHMI Janelia Farms Research Institute. I plan to pursue my graduate work in the lab of Dr. Volker Hartenstein in the Department of Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology, studying how the composition of the cell microenvironment, such as growth factors and morphogens, can influence cell fate decisions in the retina using the fruit fly as the model system.

If stranded on a deserted island with only one type of meal to eat every day, what would you want it to be?

Sushi.

If you did not pursue a graduate degree what would you have pursued?

M.D. in Neurology and Neurosurgery.


Marlene PatinoMarlene Patino
Aerospace Engineering
Year Entered Graduate School: 2011-2012

Research Interests

My research interest lies in electric propulsion devices, such as ion and Hall-effect thrusters, used for deep space missions. My current research, as part of the UCLA Plasma and Space Propulsion Laboratory (UCLA PSPL), examines the behavior of heavy species collisions in intermediately ionized plasmas found in electric propulsion devices and other plasma applications (e.g., plasma-processing applications). The data provided from my ion beam experiment at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) will be used to validate physics models of plasma behavior that serve to predict thruster lifetime and performance.

Brief Biography

I am a graduate student in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering as a member of the UCLA PSPL, conducting research on an ion beam experiment at JPL. I completed my BS in Aerospace Engineering at UCLA in 2010, earned my MS in Aerospace Engineering in March 2012, and expect to obtain my PhD by 2015. As part of my undergraduate years, I worked with the UCLA PSPL on miniature plasma actuators. Results from my current research on an ion beam experiment can be found in a paper presented by Professor Richard Wirz at the 32nd International Electric Propulsion Conference, on which I am a contributing author. In addition to the Eugene Cota-Robles fellowship, I have received The Boeing Company scholarship, Robert C. Byrd honors scholarship, and a scholarship from the Council of Mexican American Administrators. I have also been a Pi Mu Epsilon honorary member since 2008. Furthermore, I have been a member of Grupo Folklorico de UCLA – a Mexican folk dancing group – for six years and as such have danced in many events promoting awareness of and providing education about the culture of Mexico. I also enjoy dancing salsa and watching classic movies, especially screwball comedies.

If stranded on a deserted island with only one type of meal to eat every day, what would you want it to be?

Buffalo wings.

If you did not pursue a graduate degree what would you have pursued?

If I had not pursued a graduate degree at UCLA, I would have chosen to begin my career in the aerospace industry, perhaps at a leading company like SpaceX or Boeing Commercial Space Company.