EOF Students Travel to Yale University’s Bouchet Conference

By Valerie Hayes

This month, four Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF) program students traveled to Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, to attend the 20th Annual Yale Bouchet Conference on Diversity and Graduate Education.

The four second-year students are all budding scientists – Deena Kahn, who is majoring in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and Sheden Trezil, Winsley Dorce and Manuel Tapia, all majoring in Applied Physics with a dual degree in Engineering.

In the opening session on April 5, attendees learned about conducting research and, specifically, about Yale’s research of primary documents telling a story of 1831. In that year, Yale came to grips with its own history of suppressing what would have been a college known today as a historically black college.  Such a college would have changed the lives and trajectory of Black residents in New Haven and other Black people who sought a college education. The 1831 story is chronicled in an exhibition, Shining Light on Truth: New Haven, Yale, and Slavery

Edward Bouchet
Dr. Edward A. Bouchet (1852-1918) and the laboratory he studied in. Image courtesy of YaleNews

Throughout the day on April 6, students attended poster sessions and presentations by doctoral candidates enrolled in Research I institutions and toured campus. At the closing banquet that evening, they learned more about the life and times of Dr. Edward A. Bouchet (1852-1918), an American physicist, educator and the first African American to earn a Ph.D. in Physics at Yale University. 

Chemistry faculty member Elizabeth Pollock is one of the original faculty principals on the Provost Diversity Grant initiative, which started in 2017 and made this program possible. Each spring, Pollock has accompanied students to the Yale Bouchet Conference. The grants were intended to support work that strengthens the diversity of Stockton's student, faculty and staff populations.

“There are other opportunities for students who are already engaged in research to go to conferences and present their work. What makes the Bouchet trip unique is that this is one of the only mechanisms I’m aware of that lets students who haven’t already conceptualized themselves as researchers realize that there is a space for them within the research community,” Pollock said. “For students from historically underrepresented and first-generation groups, this is critical as they might not otherwise look for ways to get involved in research.” 

At Stockton University, where our guiding principle is “Students first; vision and strategy follow,” the Yale Bouchet Conference provides a unique opportunity to bolster the strong support and guidance Stockton faculty and staff provide students in their education toward a degree. The students who attended this trip couldn’t agree more. 

"I've always thought of Ivy League universities being out of my reach,” Tapia said. “But after the trip to Yale, attending the Yale Bouchet Conference, walking amongst Yale students, and conversating with Ph.D. candidates, I've realized that through hard work, dedication and appropriate funding, any student anywhere in the world can attend an Ivy League university.” 

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At Stockton University, where our guiding principle is 'Students first; vision and strategy follow,' the Yale Bouchet Conference provides a unique opportunity to bolster the strong support and guidance Stockton faculty and staff provide students in their education toward a degree."

"The Yale Bouchet Conference was exactly what I needed to see that I will be able to succeed with my career path as long as I keep moving forward toward my goals I will make here," Trezil said.

Kahn and Dorce reflected on how the experience will continue to shape their future paths.

"As an undergrad student pursuing neuroscience, the Yale Bouchet Conference helped me network with experts in my fields of interest and learn how novel research is conducted.” Kahn said.

“My time at Yale has opened my mind to many of the possibilities and opportunities to continue growing and learning even after receiving my bachelor’s degree,” Dorce said. 

Valerie Hayes

About the Contributor

Dr. Valerie Hayes is the chief officer for Diversity and Inclusion and serves as co-chair of the Campus Committee on Diversity and Inclusion Excellence. In addition to contributing to the Celebrate Diversity Digest, Valerie frequently shares resources and opportunities, which you can access through her library

Students Celebrate EOF Month with Yale Conference

By Brett Pulliam | Spring 2022 Issue of Celebrate Diversity

Brett Pulliam

In November 2021, Governor Murphy signed legislation that designates April of each year as “Educational Opportunity Fund Month” in New Jersey. The Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF) is a statewide access and opportunity program for residents of the state of New Jersey, who come from financially and academically challenged backgrounds.

Even through the challenges and complexities associated with the COVID-19 Pandemic, the EOF Program continued its commitment to ensuring EOF scholars are engaged in activities that will promote academic and professional opportunities.

One of those opportunities, the annual Edward A. Bouchet Conference, was established by the prestigious Yale University in Connecticut. Also known as the Yale Bouchet Conference, this event immerses doctoral and undergraduate students in the various fields of research. The conference also attracts students interested in administration and teaching.