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Daniela Zárate Named 2020 Bouchet Scholar

Society promotes scholarly achievements, diversity and excellence in doctoral education

August 24, 2020

By Mario Aguilera

Daniela Zárate, a graduate student in UC San Diego’s Division of Biological Sciences, has been inducted into the Edward Alexander Bouchet Graduate Honor Society. Zárate is one of five UC San Diego graduate students named as 2020 Bouchet Scholars.

The Bouchet Society, named after the first African-American doctoral recipient in the United States, recognizes outstanding scholarly achievement and promotes diversity and excellence in doctoral education and the professoriate.

At UC San Diego, the Bouchet Society seeks to develop a network of preeminent scholars “who exemplify academic and personal excellence, foster environments of support, and serve as examples of scholarship, leadership, character, service and advocacy for students who have been traditionally underrepresented in the academy.”

Working out of Professor Joshua Kohn’s laboratory in the Section of Ecology, Behavior and Evolution (EBE), Zárate’s dissertation research takes an interdisciplinary approach to studying the Western honey bee, the world's most important agricultural pollinator. Zárate’s research features a comprehensive assessment of genomic ancestry in honey bees from across a broad geographic expanse, as well as a behavioral study of aggression of Western honey bees on both the individual and colony level.

Zárate has been heavily involved in service and outreach during her time in higher education. “I am a strong believer in the value of diversity in academia and as a mechanism through which to challenge institutional oppression of underserved communities,” Zárate said.

Zárate serves as a course instructor in an initiative founded by BioEasi (the Biological Science's graduate student service organization) and CREATE (Center for Research on Educational Equity, Assessment, and Teaching Excellence) that brings science education to the incarcerated community of San Diego County. She is of the strong belief that jail and prison systems are unethical, profit-driven corporations intended to criminalize and cripple people of color and people in poverty. She also serves as a graduate mentor to several underrepresented undergraduate students in her laboratory and through the UC San Diego PATHS program.

She received a Bachelor of Arts in biology and chemistry from Williams College, where she was a recipient of the Allison-Davis Research Fellowship. She intends to pursue a professorship and continue to serve her community, her culture and her biosphere as an advocate of social and environmental justice. Her expected graduation date is December 2020.

Zárate’s previous honors include the San Diego Fellowship, the UC San Diego’s Chancellor Research Excellence Research Scholarship and the National Science Fellowship Graduate Research Fellowships Program. She also was awarded the Jeanne Messier Memorial Grant by the EBE Section, which allowed her to conduct research in Panamá at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute.

Her fellow 2020 Bouchet Scholars at UC San Diego are: Jeremy Blackstone (Computer Science and Engineering), Nhat-Dang Do (Political Science), Alyssa Griffin (Scripps Institution of Oceanography) and Jesse Peltier (Chemistry and Biochemistry).