Dr. Corey Welch is Director of the STEM Scholars Program at Iowa State University. He arrived in Ames in January 2015 to establish a new Science training program serving underrepresented students. His career goal is to diversify who succeeds in science, thereby benefiting both STEM disciplines and our larger society.
I grew up in a trailer park in Billings, Montana, am a proud member of the Northern Cheyenne tribe, and a first generation college graduate whom was inspired to pursue a career in biology after spending a significant part of my childhood bouncing around in my grandfather’s pickup truck on the red-dirt roads of the Northern Cheyenne reservation. I was a naïve, shy college sophomore with no idea what graduate school was or how to get into science. Through mentors and NSF summer research training opportunities and the support of my family, I learned about the pathways to a Biology PhD, including that you got paid!
My academic path through undergraduate and graduate degrees had many bumps along the road, mistakes, luck, hard work, and a lot of fun. My formal biology training is in ecology and evolution with an emphasis on population ecology and genetics of birds and mammals. Previously, I taught biology courses for several years at Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, KS.
Prior to coming to Iowa State, I was the Research Program Coordinator for a large (~500 students, 3500 alumni) biological sciences program: the Biology Scholars Program at UC Berkeley 2011-2014 where I coordinated a variety of different research training programs funded by HHMI and NIH grants.
Lastly, I have been professionally involved with the National Society for the Advancement of Hispanics/Chicanos and Native American Scientists (SACNAS). I attended my first conference in 1998 and several years later, I was recruited to the University of Washington through meeting my PhD co-advisor at the SACNAS Conference. In 2012, I participated in the Linton-Poodry and Advanced SACNAS Leadership Institutes (LP-SLI and ALI) and subsequently, developed the framework of what has become the STEM Scholars Program. Since 2016, I have served as a facilitator at the LP-SLI hosted by AAAS in Washington DC and am the co-creator/facilitator of the Postdoc Leadership Institute (2019-present): SACNAS Leadership Programs. From 2016-2021, I served on the National Board of Directors of SACNAS and have served on the Executive Committee for 2+ years.
I frequently give public talks, departmental seminars, or presentations at National Conferences on ways to diversifying STEM fields from the undergraduate to the professoriate. In April 2018, I spoke at the March For Science in Washington D.C. where I experienced my first (and only) heckling from two individuals who we failed to properly educate about the sciences! Link to video: March For Science 2018
Lewis & Clark College, BS Biology
University of Kansas, MA Systematics & Ecology
University of Washington, PhD Zoology
As of 2015, I provide an annual Northern Cheyenne Tribal Scholarship. Go to Sharon Farr Welch Northern Cheyenne Tribal Scholarship. Must be an enrolled college student and enrolled member of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe.