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University Center of Exemplary Mentoring (UCEM)

UC San Diego is designated a University Center of Exemplary Mentoring (UCEM) through a generous grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. UC San Diego is committed to being fully inclusive and supportive of all students and believes that a diverse graduate student body enhances the quality of the educational experience for all students.

The UCEM provides financial and professional support to accelerate and catalyze the success of doctoral students. The Sloan Scholar Fellowship is awarded to 12 incoming graduate students in the School of Physical Sciences or the Jacobs School of Engineering.

Questions about the application process may be directed to the academic department/program or to the Graduate Admissions Office at 

Sloan Scholars

Hear from some of our Sloan Scholars about what the fellowship has meant to them and how it has empowered them to succeed in graduate school. 

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Aims & Objectives

  • To recruit and admit underrepresented graduate students in physical sciences and engineering.
    • URM applications are 20% of domestic applications 
    • URM offers of admission are  20% of domestic offers in both divisions
    • New URM students are 20% of new domestic students 
  • Time-to-degree and completion rates are equal to non-URM domestic students within their departments.
  • 30% of our scholars entering an academic track within three years of receipt of their PhD

Collaborative Structure

We leverage existing resources such as the IDEA Center at the Jacobs School of Engineering for Sloan Scholar professional development. Examples of Grad Talk topics include:

  • Effective Teaching Strategies
  • Telling a Scientific Research Story
  • Academic Career Panels. 
The mission of the IDEA Center is to foster an inclusive and welcoming community, increase retention and graduation rates, and promote a sustainable culture of academic excellence among all engineering students at UC San Diego. 

The UC San Diego UCEM also collaborates with the Physical Sciences Student Success CenterThe Center aims to support the success of physical science graduate and undergraduate students.

Goals of The Center include:  

  • Foster a supportive and inclusive academic environment for all students within the Division of Physical Sciences.
  • Cultivate relationships with industry professionals for the purposes of connecting students to experiential learning opportunities like internships and full-time employment.
  • Increase retention and graduation rates among our diverse physical sciences student population.
  • Develop future leaders who are civic-minded.

UCEM Successes

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  • 13 Scholars are NSF Awardees
  • 1 Scholar is a Ford Fellow
  • 11 Sloan Scholars graduated in 2020-2021
  • Average Time to Degree 5.45 years
  • 10 of 11 graduates had secured a position at program completion
    • 2  are in faculty positions
    • 3 are in post doc positions
    • 3 in private industry 
    • 2 with Dept of Defense



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UCEM provides Grad Talks, Sloan Scholars lunches, and individual meetings with coordinators to promote mentoring from faculty and peers.

Community Building

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Multiple Scholars spoke about the strong sense of community in the program, and the importance of being part of a diverse student group.

Sloan Funding

Scholars report that Sloan funding was critical to their persistence in the doctoral program. The Sloan Scholars Fellowship includes a stipend over and above departmental support. In addition, Sloan Scholars will receive mentoring and professional development opportunities throughout their graduate program. For more information visit, Sloan Scholar Fellowship.