Growing our own: Developing a faculty that reflects California
His friends used to call him Little Einstein. In the rough barrios of Corona, Calif., where Edwin Solares grew up, he was known as a tough but brainy kid. He’d tutor gang members in math and science — and even sparked their interest in Shakespeare and poetry.
Since then, Solares has earned a Ph.D. from UC Irvine as one of 29 inaugural fellows in the UC President’s Pre-Professoriate Fellowship Program, which provides Ph.D. students from underrepresented backgrounds opportunities and resources to help launch their academic careers.
His goal now is to get a job as a professor at a California public university. “I’ve helped students who felt like dropping out to keep going,” he says. “My students tell me, ‘You understand me.’ I’ve come from the same backgrounds and experiences as they have. They can see themselves in me.”