Dr. Veronica Zepeda is the program director for the Sloan Scholars Mentoring Network and has developed and taught outreach, retention, and mentoring programs for over 15 years. Veronica was fortunate to be exposed to research as a high school participant in the NASA SHARP Plus and MITE2S programs, which led her to attend MIT and obtain a BS in biology in 2005. While pursuing undergraduate research at MIT, she became involved in several science education and leadership programs through participation in organizations such as MAES, SACNAS, and SHPE. She continued this work while a graduate student where she participated in the development of the UC Berkeley Amgen Scholars program as a graduate assistant and mentor. She received her PhD in molecular and cell biology from UC Berkeley in 2011 and went on to serve as education coordinator for the Center for Systems and Synthetic Biology at the University of California, San Francisco from 2011-2013.
Veronica joined the faculty at the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) as a lecturer in the Biochemistry department and in 2016 transitioned to working as the director of Graduate Student Services for the UNR Graduate School. In this position, Veronica worked to provide graduate students with career, professional development, mental health, and financial services to ensure their success on campus and beyond. For example, Veronica coordinated the professional development workshop series for graduate students and codirected the NSF IGE funded GAIN scholars program which is designed to improve the recruitment and retention of first generation and historically underrepresented groups to graduate programs. She also served for several years as the chair of UNR’s Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) task force and was involved in many other diversity committees and initiatives on campus.
Veronica is a trained facilitator in faculty mentor training (CIMER) and mental health first aid (MHFA) and has served as a facilitator for graduate student courses on Effective Teaching Practices in Higher Education (ACUE).