By Clémentine Sicard
The Koret Foundation has granted $4 million to undergraduate career-preparation programs across UC Davis. Part of Koret’s Higher Education Initiative, the grant will provide signifcant support for Aggie Launch, the Big Idea that integrates career exploration and readiness in the undergraduate experience.
Aggie Launch is an innovative approach to the career-preparation process, beginning even before students start their curriculum. Students will have access to comprehensive career services and experiential learning opportunities that are critical to their success after they graduate.
With the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic, the Koret Foundation’s dedication to the future generations of Aggie professionals comes at a critical time.
“The foundation’s grant will help build the career-preparation programs that our students need now more than ever,” said Marcie Kirk Holland, Aggie Launch co-champion and executive director of the Internship and Career Center. “This kind of support is essential during this time in which our recent and upcoming graduates are entering a challenging job market. It’s going to take all of us working together in innovative ways to prepare our students for success after graduation.”
The foundation’s grant is in three parts, distributed among BioLaunch, AvenueE and Aggie EVO:
- $1.75 million to BioLaunch— BioLaunch is a First-Year Experience Program that helps new students in the College of Biological Sciences develop a sense of community and receive academic and social support in their major. The Koret grant will add an extra one-unit lecture course for about 600 freshmen students called BioLaunch Fellows, a career awareness course to expand their knowledge of their opportunities early on in their academic career.
- $1.25 million to AvenueE—AvenueE serves low-resource transfer students in engineering and computer science and encourages women and underrepresented communities in the field to participate. The Koret grant will support a $2,500 scholarship for each participant during their first year. It will also help test and develop the best services to retain and graduate transfer students at UC Davis, and position students to have successful careers in the engineering/technology sector.
- $1 million to Aggie EVO— Aggie EVO prepares student-athletes for success after graduation through career-building programs and opportunities. The Koret grant will help measure the efficacy of their programs, support programs for underrepresented communities and fund a position to increase interaction and networking with alumni.
The Koret Foundation is a major philanthropic foundation in the Bay Area that is dedicated to strengthening innovation and community. They have a long history of supporting UC Davis, including the Shelter Medicine Program and Center for Companion Animal Health at the School of Veterinary Medicine. Over the past decade they have also made gifts to the School of Medicine, the College of Letters and Science and Intercollegiate Athletics.
College of Biological Sciences Dean Mark Winey notes the importance of robust support for new students, helping the college’s 1,700 first-year and transfer students “quickly find a sense of belonging in the fast-paced life sciences community at UC Davis.”
“Generous philanthropic support helps us expand the reach and depth of critical programs like BioLaunch at pace with growth,” he added. “We're so grateful for the Koret Foundation’s investment to help us embed career awareness programs and services as early as possible in our students’ academic careers.”