Ball/Lagomarsino Win HHMI Gilliam Fellowship

August 18, 2022

Graduate Student Laymon Ball and her advisor, Assistant Professor and LSU Herbarium director, Laura Lagomarsino have won the HHMIBall & Lagomarsino Gilliam Fellowship for 2022.

Ball is from Rancho Cucamonga, California and is pursuing her Ph.D. in systematics and biodiversity with advisor Lagomarsino. She is studying pollination syndrome evolution in the context of biogeography using the flowering plant tribe Hillieae in the Rubiaceae family. Her career goals include pursuing a post-doctoral researcher position where she can continue to build on her research skills while studying plant evolution and pollination biology and become a professor at a research-intensive university.

“Take opportunities that spark your interest even if it takes you out of your comfort zone. That initial interest could turn into a passion!” said Ball. 

They are 1 of only 51 student-advisor pairs nationally to receive the award. The Gilliam Program invests in graduate students from populations historically excluded and underrepresented in science so that they are prepared to become scientific leaders.

"To support the development of these students as future scientific leaders, it’s crucial to provide high-quality mentoring, financial support, an inclusive lab environment, and a supportive community. True change will not happen on campuses without the support and commitment of faculty and institutional leaders,” says David Asai, senior director for science education. 

This week, HHMI announced the largest-ever group of Gilliam Fellows – 51 graduate students conducting outstanding research in their respective scientific fields and their advisers who are committed to building a more inclusive scientific ecosystem. Each adviser-student pair will receive an annual award totaling $53,000 for up to three years.

Since 2015, more than 200 Gilliam advisers have successfully completed a year-long course in culturally aware mentorship, developed and led by the Center for the Improvement of Mentored Experiences in Research (CIMER). Through the CIMER mentorship development course, advisers engage in activities that emphasize cultural awareness, including monthly online interactive webinars and two in-person workshops. The activities help advisers learn how to listen and engage with their students.

The 2023 program announcement and competition dates have been announced and can be found on the Gilliam Website

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