COMPASS Life Science is a resource available to assist students as they navigate through their education and research opportunities within the STEM fields at UCLA.

By offering a “map” or personalized “trip ticket”  to help students plot the best-individualized route through coursework, research experiences, student support programs, internships, faculty-mentor and alumni connections, students can reach their goals and explore exciting educational and career options they might not otherwise have known existed.

COMPASS aims to help students advance through their degree and beyond into post-graduate programs.

This resource is especially relevant to students from backgrounds traditionally under-represented in the sciences – first-generation college students, those with socioeconomic hardships, and students who have faced significant life challenges.

No matter the field or subject, a student can get help to navigate through to a mentor.

COMPASS is also a resource for UCLA Faculty and Alumni to connect, learn and share – within a culture of collaboration, diversity and inclusion.

COMPASS Life Sciences - AAU STEM Workshop
Dr. Gina Poe - COMPASS Life Sciences - AAU STEM Workshop
COMPASS Life Sciences - AAU STEM Workshop

Meet the Directors

Dr. Gina Poe

Gina Poe, Ph.D.
Professor, Integrative Biology & Physiology

Co-Director, COMPASS-Life Sciences
Co-Director, MARC-U-STAR Program

1032 Terasaki Life Sciences Building
610 Charles E. Young Drive East
Los Angeles, CA 90095-7239


Gina Poe is a professor in Integrative Biology and Physiology with a joint appointment in psychiatry. She is a neuroscientist with a bachelor’s degree in Human Biology from Stanford University and a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from UCLA.

The Poe Laboratory ( studies the unique mechanisms at work during sleep to consolidate memories and update our knowledge stores. This research applies to learning and to mental health disorders like PTSD. The Poe Lab is funded by grants from the National Institute of Health (NIH}. You can find Dr. Poe on Google Scholar and ResearchGate.

Read more here…

Along with being a Co-Director of COMPASS Life Sciences, Dr. Poe is a Co-Director of MARC U*STAR Maximizing Access to Research Careers /Under, and a Director of Diversity in Outreach and Education for BRI-SURE (Brain Research Institute Summer Undergraduate Research) program. Dr. Poe also directs two national programs for under-represented neuroscience graduate students and postdoctoral trainees.

“My goal is for COMPASS Life Sciences to put a powerful tool into student’s hands so they will waste no time and miss no critical opportunities at a place so rich in educational and career resources as is UCLA. I was a first-generation, economically challenged black woman in the sciences who never took advantage of Stanford’s research opportunities because I did not know that taking part could also help pay my mounting bills. It was pure chance that I lucked into my major, I hardly ever spoke to my professors and sought no mentors. I want to make sure UCLA STEM majors know how to take advantage of all the amazing opportunities and resources that this place has to offer”.

Megan McEvoy received her bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and her PhD in Chemistry from the University of Oregon. In June 2016 she joined the faculty at UCLA, where she is a Professor in the Institute for Society and Genetics and the Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics (read more). Dr. McEvoy is a member of the Molecular Biology Institute. 

Dr. McEvoy is broadly trained as a protein biochemist and structural biologist. Her research in the McEvoy Laboratory is illuminating how bacterial systems regulate metal ions to provide strategies for broad-spectrum anti-microbial treatments. 

Read more here…

She takes significant interest in the successful mentoring of under-represented individuals and from 2011 to 2016 – she led efforts to fund and direct (MARC) Maximizing Access to Research Careers at the University of Arizona. In 2015, the University of Arizona awarded her Excellence in Mentoring (Honors College) and the 2015 Distinguished Advising Award (College of Science).

Dr. McEvoy is the Director of the MARC-U-STAR program at UCLA, which is funded by the National Institute of Health  NIH.

“As a Co-Director of COMPASS Life Sciences, I help shape the direction and vision for undergraduate programs that focus on enhancing the success of students from under-represented backgrounds and hope to more positively impact their future careers in the life sciences.”

Dr. Megan McEvoy

Megan McEvoy, Ph.D.
Professor, Institute for Society & Genetics and Microbiology, Immunology & Molecular Genetics

Director, MARC-U-STAR Program
Co-Director, COMPASS-Life Sciences

Boyer Hall, Room 302
611 Charles E. Young Drive East
Los Angeles, CA 90095-7239