Training for racial equity thought leaders


Bornstein-Gomez & Somoza rising scholars program

The IRISE Bornstein-Gómez & Somoza (BGS) program seeks to transform the pipeline of those confronting racial and related forms of inequity in Higher Education and beyond. Through engaged mentorship and opportunities to conduct impactful community engaged data collection and research, BGS is training DU’s minoritized students to see the present and future of racial equity differently. Students in the BGS Program also receive support and guidance to enter graduate and professional programs, where they will hone expertise and further develop as racial equity leaders prepared for the workforce.  


  • Program Overview

    This program is named after Miriam Bornstein-Gómez and Oscar Somoza who were among the first tenured, Latinx faculty at DU and beloved for their advocacy and mentorship of DU students. 

    The Interdisciplinary Research Institute for the Study of (In)Equality (IRISE), the Critical Race and Ethnic Studies Minor (CRES), and the Cultural Center designed and implemented this high-impact program to nurture and develop the skills, expertise and ultimate interest of undergraduate students pursuing interdisciplinary scholarly research related to racial inequality. With a particular focus on minoritized students, the goal of the program is to create a pipeline of DU undergraduates fully prepared to enter and be highly successful in terminal degree granting programs at DU and beyond as the next and innovative generation of interdisciplinary inequality scholars. Our hope is to receive support from the DU community to continue to expand this pathway for students.  


    The program is comprised of a cohort of promising undergraduate students who were nominated by DU faculty. Students participating in this program are matched with faculty mentors and graduate student mentors who support them in summer research training and projects. This mentorship model provides robust training around identity, interdisciplinarity, and inequality with the goal of facilitating a path towards graduate work in their chosen field. The IRISE Bornstein-Gomez & Somoza Rising Scholars 4-D model allows us to leverage three of the four dimensions of student success (Advancing Intellectual Growth, Careers and Lives of Purpose, and Exploring Character) in our larger collective effort to diversify higher education and its areas of engagement and inquiry. 

  • Infusion of The 4D Experience

    You can learn more about the Chancellor's Priorities and The 4D Experience here

  • Advancing Intellectual Growth 

    By providing mentorship and pathways to undergraduate interdisciplinary research in racial inequality, students have an opportunity to engage in critical inquiry by converging meaningful components of their learning thus far into ideas for their own research questions.  

  • Careers and Lives of Purpose 

    What do you do when you pinpoint something that you’re passionate about as you move through your undergraduate program? You study it! In supporting undergraduates in the articulation of their academic passion, students have an opportunity to engage in discussing their interests in research, which will ultimately strengthen applications for graduate programs. Additionally, research role models provide additional mentorship to help students to see themselves as producers and disseminators of knowledge that address some of our most vexing challenges of inequity and inequality.    

  • Exploring Character 

    Exposure to graduate students and faculty with similar identities affirms for undergraduates that they belong in graduate school. By affirming undergraduates’ identities as researchers and scholars, students will be empowered to connect cultural components of their identities as they intersect in research. 


Submit your Nomination!

Please use the link below to submit your nomination of a student you feel would benefit from joining the Bornstein-Gómez & Somoza Rising Scholars program! If you are a student, you can nominate yourself but we do encourage you to also ask a faculty or staff member to submit a nomination for you, too. 


Questions about this program or the selection process?

Contact Marinka Swift, Associate Director of IRISE at 

Nominate a Rising Scholar