Mikaela Follmer receives University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus Graduate School Diversity, Equity & Inclusion AwardKristine M. Sikora, PhD | Graduate School May 22, 2023
Aurora, Colorado - Mikaela Follmer, current student in the Cell Biology, Stem Cells and Development PhD Program at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus (CU Anschutz), is the recipient of the 2023 Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Award.
This award goes to a current graduate student or student organization who has made significant contributions to improving the climate of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) at CU Anschutz by addressing key issues with innovation and demonstrating superior leadership and commitment to the enhancement, development and sustainability of DEI excellence.
Follmer was nominated by Emily Bates, PhD, Associate Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at CU Anschutz who wrote about Mikaela’s extensive involvement with Clear Direction Mentoring (CDM), a nonprofit which supports high school students historically underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, math, and medicine (STEMM) through their high school and college careers. Dr. Bates highlighted “When Mikaela joined CDM in fall of 2021 the Colorado chapter was conceptualizing what internships in Colorado would look like. Fellows expressed concern surrounding the transiting from high school science to undergraduate curriculum and wanted a STEMM experience to increase their knowledge prior to matriculating to college. Mikaela was quick to suggest an immersive STEMM internship for the summer between graduating high school and beginning college. After her initial suggestion she planned, executed, and led the inaugural immersive STEMM internship for the Colorado chapter of CDM in July 2022, becoming the first internship director for the Colorado chapter, as only a first-year graduate student.”
Dr. Bates also highlighted Follmer’s personal dedication to mentoring, “Mikaela is also the mentor to a fellow who is a junior in high school. Once a month they do SAT prep together for her fellow’s upcoming SAT, and she checks in weekly to discuss colleges, mental health, time management, and study habits.” Bates concludes “Without volunteers like Mikaela CDM would not continue to thrive and grow.”
When asked what this award means to her, Follmer states "Being a member of the CDM team makes me a better scientist, person, and advocate. I’m forever grateful for the program, inspired by the people, and honored to win the Deans DEI award.” She encourages others to learn more about CDM by visiting cleardirectionmentoring.org.
Established in 2021, Follmer is the 3rd student to receive the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Award. Previous award winners are listed below.
2022: Meagan Chriswell, Medical Scientist Training (MD/PhD) Program
2021: Syd O. Staggs, Master in Public Health (MPH) Program.
About The Graduate School | The Graduate School at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus (CU Anschutz) oversees, facilitates, and enhances graduate education and postdoctoral training, while encouraging excellence in research, creative and scholarly work. We offer master’s degrees, doctoral degrees, graduate certificates, and non-degree options in a wide variety of programs.