Celebrating the HHMI Driving Change Award


Dear Faculty Colleagues,

am delighted to re-share the news of LMU Frank R. Seaver College of Science and Engineering’s prestigious accomplishment of making LMU one of only six institutions in the U.S. to receive the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Driving Change award. This $2.5 million grant will allow Seaver College to “effect genuine and lasting culture change” by supporting their already thriving DEI efforts. As your Provost, and as a scientist, I could not be prouder.

To contextualize the competition LMU faced; of the 255 research universities that were eligible to submit pre-proposals, 38 were selected as finalists, and just six were selected to receive funds to bring their proposals to fruition.

I want to take a moment to thank those involved in this three-year, collaborative process. No project of this scale can be done by one person alone, and I am grateful for the teamwork and resourcefulness of those involved in bringing LMU this incredible honor: 

  • Thank you to Dean Tina Choe for her leadership and willingness to allocate Seaver faculty and staff’s time and energy to make our already stellar college stand out even more.
  • Thank you to the initial grant brainstorming group members including Suzanne Larson, associate dean and professor of mathematics; Barbara Marino, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering; Jeremy McCallum, professor of chemistry and biochemistry; and Kat Weaver, vice provost and professor of biology.
  • Thank you to the current core team who will bring the grant to fruition: Heather Tarleton, associate dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and professor of health and human sciences; Vice Provost Kat Weaver; Christina Eubanks Turner, graduate program director and professor of mathematics; Katie Mouzakis, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry; and Christina Vasquez, assistant professor of biology. 
  • Thank you to many others who had a hand in preparing, reviewing, and shepherding the application through the process including Matthew Nelson, senior research associate and grant writer; Emma Saturday, research associate; Kristin Love, vice president of Development; Michelle Plasse, executive director of Corporate and Foundation Relations; Alice Martini Doyle, associate director of pre-award services; and Angie Rochat, executive director of research for the Office for Research & Sponsored Projects.

While this project will take years to complete, its impact will last for decades and cement our legacy as a leader of DEI in STEM. Please join me in congratulating our colleagues in Seaver College, and thank you to all who make LMU the best place to study, work, teach, and build community.


Thomas Poon
Executive Vice President and Provost
Professor of Chemistry