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EEB student named Out to Innovate Fellow

Toby SantaMaria, a graduate student in the Department of Plant Biology within the College of Natural Science, is one of 11 winners of the National Organization of Gay and Lesbian Scientists and Technical Professionals (NOGLSTP) Ben Barres Fellowship.

Toby Santamaria
Toby Santamaria

The Ben Barres Fellowship award is for professional development of trans, intersex, and non-binary graduate students and post-doctoral fellows in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). SantaMaria, a PhD student in Lars Brudvig's laboratory, studies restoration ecology and terrestrial biogeochemistry. They are a graduate student in the Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior (EEB) Program and a co-chair of EEB's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) committee.

The merit-based award, and the support provided, is intended to be broadly construed, for the recipient’s professional development. Because of the pandemic, the majority of the funds were awarded for equipment, software, and supplies instead of travel.

The fellowships are named after Ben Barres, a distinguished transgender scientist at Stanford who researched the role of microglia, an immune cell of the brain, and its interaction with neurons in development and disease. Barres was an ardent campaigner for equal opportunity in science, advocating for underrepresented groups, and was a valued mentor to young scientists. He told his story through a posthumous memoir released after his death from cancer in 2017 at age 63.

The winners will be invited to the next Out To Innovate™ Summit for LGBTQ+ People in STEM Awards ceremony the date to be announced later.

Read more on the NOGLSTP site.