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2020 Bouchet Scholars



Jeremy M. Blackstone, Computer Science and Engineering


Jeremy M. Blackstone is a candidate for the Ph.D. in computer science and engineering with a concentration in hardware security at University of California, San Diego (UCSD). His research focuses on developing countermeasures to side channel attacks, which analyze auxiliary information such as a computer’s power consumption or electromagnetic emanations to reveal secret data. At UCSD, Jeremy has been recognized as an Intel GEM Fellow, Alfred P. Sloan Fellow and UC-HBCU Fellow. At Howard University, Jeremy received a Bachelor and Master of Science in Computer Science. Jeremy has worked as a mentor for UCSD’s Summer Training Academy for Research Success (STARS) and has a passion to see the potential in students from underrepresented backgrounds. After graduation, Jeremy hopes to utilize the skills he has learned to work in industry while being an adjunct professor at an HBCU to help students along their path to accomplishing their goals as his mentors helped him. 



Nhat-Dang Do, Political Science

Nhat-Dang Do is a candidate for the Ph.D. in political science with a concentration in race, ethnicity, and politics at the University of California San Diego. His research attempts to understand what factors induce racial and ethnic minorities to participate in politics and how these groups exert influence through lobbying. Nhat-Dang has been recognized as a California State Senate Fellow, and received two Senate Resolutions for his work in the legislature. He recently received the Presidential Graduate Opportunities for Leadership Development (GOLD) Fellowship, and was awarded the Teaching Excellence Award by his department. Prior to graduate school, Nhat-Dang graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and History, with departmental honors, from UC San Diego. He is passionate about mentoring underrepresented students like him and has served as a graduate advocate for UC San Diego’s Summer Training Academy for Research Success (STARS) program since 2018. Nhat-Dang is currently working to build community and promote inclusivity as a Graduate Community Climate Intern for the Graduate Division.


Alyssa J. GriffinScripps Institution of Oceanography

Alyssa J. Griffin is a Ph.D. candidate in Oceanography at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO). Concentrating in Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry, her research focuses on how coral reef ecosystems will respond to changing ocean chemistry and climate change. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Geology and Religion (double-major) from Temple University in Philadelphia, PA and went on to receive a Master’s degree in Geochemistry (also from Temple University), studying a potential method for carbon sequestration and nuclear waste disposal. Alyssa is passionate about changing the face of STEM and creating meaningful pathways for students from underrepresented communities to pursue higher education and STEM careers. She has served as an inaugural SIO Community Engagement, Diversity and Inclusion Fellow as well as an organizer for Women and Minorities in Science, an SIO led group which she hopes to expand to other institutions. Alyssa also works with organizations such as the Fleet Science Center, Ocean Discovery Institute and League of Extraordinary Scientists to bring ocean and earth science out of the lab and into the greater San Diego community. For her work on and off campus, Alyssa received the 2018 UCSD Inclusive Excellence Award. Alyssa plans to pursue an academic career where she hopes to run a successful academic research group, mentor and teach increasingly diverse generations of geoscientists and serve as visible representation for women and minorities in the earth sciences.




Jesse L. Peltier, Chemistry

Jesse L. Peltier is a Ph.D. candidate in inorganic chemistry at the University of California, San Diego. His research focuses on leveraging strongly ambiphilic carbenes to shift current technologies from expensive metals (e.g., iridium, palladium, and platinum) to readily available and cost-effective copper. This approach has led to a multitude of breakthroughs in Organic Light Emitting Diodes (OLEDs) and nanoclusters. He has received numerous awards and fellowships including the Lighting the Pathway to Faculty Careers for Natives in STEM scholarship, Tribal Membership Initiative Fellowship, Sequoyah Fellowship, and National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. Before UCSD, Jesse received a Bachelor of Arts from Dartmouth College with a double major in Chemistry and Native American Studies where he was a recipient of the American Institute of Chemists Foundation Student Award, and Daniel Simon Prize in Native American Studies. During his scholarly pursuits, Jesse has found the convergence of research and service to be his mechanism for reciprocity to his tribe, ancestors, and Indian Country. He is passionate about mentoring, and at UCSD, he has served as a graduate student mentor for the Summer Training Academy for Research Success (STARS). Furthermore, he is one of the founding members and current Chair of the American Indian Graduate Student Association (AIGSA) on campus. Jesse aspires to become a faculty member at an academic institution where he will conduct research that explores the intersection of fundamental and materials chemistry to significantly advance green energy alternatives, while also continuing to mentor and empower underrepresented students in STEM.


Daniela Zárate, Biological Sciences

Daniela Zárate is a candidate for the Ph.D. in biology at the University of California, San Diego. Her dissertation research is an interdisciplinary enterprise centered on the Western honey bee (Apis mellifera) and spans a comprehensive assessment of genomic ancestry in honey bees from across a broad geographic expanse as well as a behavioral study of aggression on both the individual and colony level. Daniela has been awarded the San Diego Fellowship, the UC San Diego's Chancellor Research Excellence Research Scholarship (CRES), and the National Science Fellowship Graduate Research Fellowships Program (NSF-GRFP). In addition, she was awarded the Jeanne Messier Memorial Grant by the section of Ecology, Behavior, and Evolution (EBE) which allowed her to conduct research in Panamá at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI). She received a Bachelor of Arts in biology and chemistry from Williams College, where she was a recipient of the Allison-Davis Research Fellowship. Daniela has been involved in service and outreach throughout her journey in higher education and strongly believes in the value of diversity in academia as a mechanism through which to challenge institutional oppression of underserved communities. She currently serves as a course instructor in an initiative founded by BioEasi (the Biological Science's graduate student service organization) and CREATE (Center for Research on Educational Equity, Assessment, and Teaching Excellence) that brings science education to the incarcerated community of San Diego county. She also serves as a graduate mentor to several underrepresented undergraduate students in her laboratory and through the UC San Diego PATHS program. Daniela intends to pursue a professorship and continue to serve her community, her culture, and her biosphere as an advocate of social and environmental justice.