She shares the sense of discovery.
There simply aren’t enough college graduates in the STEM fields: science, technology, engineering and math. Half of STEM undergraduates either change majors or drop out entirely — and the attrition is even worse for students from underrepresented groups. UCLA biologist Tracy Johnson wants to change that dynamic. Creative in both the lab and the classroom, she’s known to pull students from their seats and have them act out a gene-splicing mechanism. By making science more participatory and collaborative, Johnson prepares students for research. She’s a believer in giving Bruin freshmen an authentic research experience so they can share the sense of discovery. And as head of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s “Pathways to Success” program, Johnson is building a pipeline to academic success for underrepresented scientists.