Diversity & Inclusion

Office of University Diversity and Inclusion

About BEACoN Research Scholars


BEACoN Cal Poly

BEACoN Stands for Believe, Educate & Empower, Advocate, Collaborate, Nurture and is a innovative program run by the Office of University Diversity and Inclusion for underrepresented students to gain research experience. BEACoN Research Scholars exists to educate, empower, and advocate for these students and provide them with funded undergraduate research opportunities working one-on-one with faculty mentors. Selected students will work with faculty during Winter and Spring quarters (10 hrs/week) and receive a $2,000 quarterly stipend ($4,000 total) distributed via financial aid for their time gaining research experience and participating in professional development events within the BEACoN Program.

In the Winter and Spring Quarters OUDI hosts meetings and workshops throughout the year so that BEACoN students can build community with other scholars. We also work with students to build professional development skills and provide them with a safe space to share ideas and experiences with their peers and mentors. At the end of the year, the program concludes with the BEACoN Research Symposium where scholars and their professors get to present a poster of their research and the campus community and supporters get to celebrate their achievements. 

Click here to view current faculty research projects for 2023-24


BEACoN Research Scholar Travel Funds 

All current and prior BEACoN Research Scholars are able to apply for funds to attend conferences related to their research and academic pursuits.

Learn More About the BEACoN Research Scholars Program

Click here to watch a video featuring Dr. Kelly Bennion, and past BEACoN Research Scholars Qashat Rosales and Miaya May talk about the BEACoN Program and their experiences as BEACoN Research Scholars.


BEACoN is a program funded by the Office of University Diversity & Inclusivity to mentor diverse students across the Cal Poly Campus.

Cal Poly will be an institution of higher education where all students are empowered to reach their full academic and personal potential with graduation rates that do not have achievement gaps between underrepresented and majority students.


BEACoN exists to educate and empower underrepresented students and advocate for them as they aspire to successfully complete their Cal Poly education.  We will work collaboratively with all members of the campus community to increase success and retention of underrepresented or underperforming students.


  • Educate students from underrepresented groups about the myriad resources in student and academic affairs that exist to help them be successful inside and outside of the classroom
  • Empower students to find their voice and achieve their potential by helping them develop skills that are consistent with academic and professional success
  • Advocate for students who are underrepresented or unaware of the ways in which they can be successful at Cal Poly SLO


Educate - Opportunities to share information regarding different topics

  • Tips and tricks for working with faculty to promote student sucess
  • Focus Groups Discussions - Topics will vary based on student and faculty interests

Empower - Workshops to educate and empower student

  • Planting the seeds: Explore diverse identities by sharing your own story, self-reflecting on your past and present in order to gain direction for the future; learning how to be an advocate for yourself and how to tailor opportunities to your own interests
  • Finding your Strengths: Students are invited to complete the StrengthsFinder inventory and engage in discussion surrounding interpretations of findings within a cultural context
  • Knowing and Using your Strengths Figuring out how to utilize one's strengths in ways that can help plan for the future and overcome obstacles to success

Advocate - Opportunities for connections and collaborations within the BEACoN network

  • Students are matched with Faculty mentors in various fields based on mutual interests and goals
  • "Meet and Greet" sessions offer a space where mentors and mentees discuss what they hope to gain from participating in the network and discover how mentorship can enhance student success
  • ​Meeting times are flexible but members of the network are encouraged to meet a minimum of three times per quarter


  • Students from underrepresented groups tend to graduate at a rate lower than other groups of students based on race/ethnicity
  • Students form underrepresented groups have the highest rates of academic disqualification or tend to discontinue enrollment when compared to other groups of students based on race/ethnicity
  • We are here are here to provide guidance, advice and strategies to help underrepresented students reach their academic , personal and professional goals


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