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  • Alex Mckay

Changemakers in STEM Orange County – Ayati Mishra & Casey Mapanao

On May 18, Tesoro’s sophomores: Ayati Mishra and Casey Mapanao are recognized as an Outstanding STEM Organization for the Changemakers in STEM Orange County by University of California Irvine’s (UCI) University Lab Partners (ULP) as ULP’s STEM ambassadors where they, along with five other high school students across Southern California, create Community Service Days at UCI for the Boys and Girls Club of America. An awards evening celebrating STEM educators, community partners, and students in Orange County.

Changemakers in STEM OC seeks to celebrate and recognize those individuals and organizations who make Orange County a center of innovation. University Lab Partners is an independent biotechnology non-profit program of the Beall Family Foundation of UCI Research Park that empowers economic development and job creation in Orange County by combining life sciences co-working environments with workforce development and training opportunities.

University Lab Partners’ accomplishments include 152 jobs created and over $176 million dollars raised. The nonprofit houses 36 life science Resident companies with 143 members in drug discovery, therapeutics, diagnostics, and medical devices. During 2021, they also served more than 400 students within Orange County, with the goal of providing STEM experiences to everyone, via the provision of hand-on biotech education.

By reaching students, including under-represented minorities, ULP hopes to make kids aware of the opportunities in innovation careers. Additionally, they want to make students consider life sciences as a viable future career option as it offers sustainable wages and thrives in the Orange County community. These services also aid life science companies and provide new members for a quickly growing life science community. Residents who are a part of the program benefit from a coworking community, professional mentoring with experts on life sciences, networking events, and access to the technical core facilities of UCI.

Founded in 2018, Ken Beall had the vision to offer wet lab space to the area of Orange County and launched University Lab Partners. Beall is also the current Board Chair of UCI Beall Applied Innovation (BAI), revealing his deep involvement with the University of California Irvine. Commercially available, ULP has only grown in size, showing just how supported it is by the community. It is clear that University Lab Partners has had major effects on Southern California as it continues to grow and evolve even today.


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