Published: June 29, 2020

The Office of Postdoctoral Affairs (OPA) is excited to announce the 2021 recipients of the Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellowship for Diversity: Mike Gil (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology), René Kissell (School of Education), Sara Sanchez (Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences) and Thaiesha Wright (Chemical and Biological Engineering).

Dr. Mike Gil will join the department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EBIO) from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center and University of California Santa Cruz. His research studies fish social networks to determine if they can shape the ecology and conservation of coral reefs. Dr. Gil will work under a trio of EBIO mentors: Drs. Rebecca Safran, Pieter Johnson and Jingchun Li. Dr. Gil secured his PhD from the University of Florida in Gainesville.

A recent graduate of the University of California Berkeley, Dr. René Kissell will join the School of Education under the guidance of Drs. Terri Wilson and Dr. Kevin Welner. Her work explores the race and class inequality of the ‘portfolio strategy’ in education systems. Dr. Kissell plans to align her work with existing School of Education place-based research projects in Denver.

Coming from the Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean in Seattle, Dr. Sara Sanchez will work with Dr. Kristopher Karnauskas in the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences. Dr. Sanchez’s research will evaluate the mechanisms and impacts of persistent, extreme El Niño events. Her PhD is from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego.

Dr. Thaiesha Wright will join the CU Boulder postdoc community from Miami University in Ohio, where she secured her PhD. She will work under the mentorship of Dr. Joel Kaar and will study biosensing platforms for containing viruses—a timely topic given the current COVID-19 pandemic.

About the Chancellor's Postdoctoral Fellowships for Diversity program

The University of Colorado Boulder awards Chancellor's Postdoctoral Fellowships for Diversity to postdoctoral scholars whose scholarship, teaching and/or service contribute to diversity in higher education. These one-year fellowships aim to provide Fellows with protected time for scholarship or research in preparation for a tenure-track faculty application, and CU Boulder views these fellowships as an opportunity to recruit potential new faculty who will contribute to inclusive excellence. To date, the program has yielded overwhelmingly positive results, with six out of seven former Fellows having secured tenure-track positions. The program is particularly interested in applicants whose backgrounds in or perspectives of historically underrepresented groups shape the direction of their scholarship or research.

The Chancellor's Postdoctoral Fellowships for Diversity program is sponsored by the Office of the Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and administered by the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs. Applications for the next cycle will be accepted in the Fall. For additional information, please visit the Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellowship for Diversity website or email the program at