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LaKeya Hardy, PhD

UNC PREP Director

Dr. Hardy serves as the director of UNC PREP and is also an alumna of this program – try to spot her on the alumni page!  Dr. Hardy received her B.S. in biology from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in Greensboro, NC and her PhD in Microbiology & Immunology from UNC Chapel Hill. Her passion for training, mentoring and diversifying the biomedical research enterprise is just one of the many reasons she loves serving as the UNC PREP Director. Dr. Hardy also serves as the co-director of scientific outreach. In both roles, she develops, implements, evaluates, and optimizes new and ongoing initiatives and outreach programs targeting K-12 and undergraduates participants designed to enhance the graduate training environment. Dr Hardy also co-directs the UNC Summer Research Opportunity Program (HBCU-SROP) for undergraduates attending historically black colleges or universities in North Carolina. She oversees the 10-week summer research experience and professional development for the HBCU-SROP students, who participate from colleges and universities across the country.


Jose Rodriguez-Romaguera, PhD

Co-PI & Faculty Leader

Dr. Rodriguez-Romaguera supports PREP scholars throughout the program year with academic advising, leading group sessions, providing feedback and assessment of core skills needed for graduate training. His strong professional interest to increase diversity across the scientific workforce is demonstrated by his passion to mentor several PREP scholars in recent years.

Donita Robinson, PhD



Dr. Robinson serves to support PREP scholars from recruitment to completion of the program. During the program year, Dr. Robinson leads several professional development sessions, aids in the administrative tasks and onboarding of PREP scholars. Dr. Robinson has also mentored several UNC PREP scholars in her lab over the years. In this role she serves to support the development of future biomedical science leaders, promotes innovative recruitment and training, stimulates purposeful career development, remove barriers to success, and fosters a collaborative, inclusive research community.

Kaitlin Blakemore, M.A.

Program Coordinator

As PREP coordinator, Kaitlin handles the onboarding of PREP cohorts each year. She also assists the PREP scholars with course enrollment, health insurance enrollment, tuition and fee payments, course management, and providing additional assistance to PREP students throughout the year. Additionally, Kaitlin supports the BBSP first year training program, BBSP admissions and recruitment.




Aleah Bailey

4th year Toxicology Graduate Student

Darex Vera Rodriguez

4th year Biochemistry & Biophysics Graduate Student