IQB Inclusive Leadership Award

IQB is committed to preparing undergraduate and graduate education students for the scientific workforce in alignment with the university’s diversity strategic plan priorities.

The IQB Inclusive Leadership Award has been established to honor members whose achievements in Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Access initiatives display a high level of excellence and distinction. It seeks to recognize IQB members' exceptional ability and promise for significant future DEI achievements.

This award will support travel to either the National Diversity In STEM Conference (hosted by SACNAS/Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics & Native Americans in Science) or the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minoritized Scientists (ABRCMS).

IQB seeks applications/nominations from IQB members, including graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, research scientists, and faculty by October 31st annually.

Applications/nominations consist of a paragraph describing the prospective recipients work in inclusive leadership development such as training, mentoring, or other DEIA-related activities. Submissions should be sent via email to

2024 Award: Erika McCarthy

As a PhD student in Chemistry and Chemical Biology in the Laboratory for Biomolecular Simulation Research (Darrin York), Erika’s efforts involve education and outreach associated with the development of AMBER software tools. The lab’s research efforts aim to enhance research and education infrastructure and allow for modern, user-friendly tools to solve real-world problems in chemistry, biology, and material science. Erika is involved in annual workshops to train students and scientists, with special effort to include schools that serve underrepresented communities such as Jackson State University, Clark Atlanta University, and NCAT State University. Erika leads efforts to develop tutorials and training materials for quantum, machine learning and free energy methods to study problems of biocatalysis. Additionally, Erika mentors RISE undergraduate students and aims to sustain this involvement by mentoring future students who may otherwise not gain exposure to computational chemistry through RISE or other summer programs. Moreover, Erika trains incoming PhD students to promote a collaborative and inclusive environment in the York Lab Group.

2023 Award: Jennifer Jiang

As an undergraduate student, Jennifer was an organizer of #stemHERstoryRU, a campaign that celebrates women in S.T.E.M. with pop-up photoshoots around campus. Inspired, she later helped to establish the inaugural Dr. Jewel Plummer Cobb S.T.E.A.M. Women’s Empowerment Conference as a platform to engage in meaningful dialogue on women’s experiences in today’s society and highlight the value and importance of women’s contributions to different disciplines. During the pandemic, Jennifer volunteered at a COVID-19 vaccine clinic run by RWJMS faculty and medical students. To date, this clinic has administered ~6,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines to local community members, many of whom are Hispanic and representative of the most marginalized populations living in the city. Recently, she was a speaker at a career talk to sophomore high school students participating in the Health Professions Scholars Program (HPSP). This program encourages these underprivileged students to explore various career options in healthcare and biomedical sciences. Currently, Jennifer also serves as the President of Rutgers Seeding Labs, a graduate student-run organization dedicated to fostering global science and research and expanding access to research opportunities and lab equipment in developing countries.

2022 Award: Elizabeth Rosenzweig

Elizabeth recently excelled at Rutgers’ PreDoctoral Leadership Development Academy (PDLA)  and has secured a position on the School of Graduate Studies Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Student Advisory Board. Previously, Elizabeth ran a chapter of the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network, where Elizabeth secured a grant from the NY State Department of Education to provide self-advocate input into a mainstreaming education program called ASD Nest, which provides a supportive environment to a mix of autistic and non-autistic students to help them learn and socialize together. 90% of the funds went directly to economically disadvantaged autistic adults, and the other 10% went to benefit the national ASAN organization. Moreover, she chaired the Young Professional special interest group for Women in Technology (WIT), a large professional networking organization in the DC area and was vice president of the Biomedical Informatics Baccalaureate student group at New York City College of Technology.