Out for Undergrad (O4U) Appoints Evan Ko Director of O4U Life Sciences Conference Pilot

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Evan Ko, Director 2024 O4U Life Sciences Pilot

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Out for Undergrad (O4U) Guidestar Platinum Ranked 501(c)3

There are so many scientific questions that the world is struggling to answer. Disruption is at the center of innovation and new opportunities for our students are emerging. We are ready for them.”

— Dr. Cindi Love, O4U Executive Director

NEW YORK, NEW YORK, USA, December 3, 2023 / — Out for Undergrad (O4U) has appointed Evan Ko as the Director of its Life Sciences Conference Pilot scheduled in Minneapolis/Saint Paul September 2024. The pilot will take place at the same time as the O4U Engineering Conference to accommodate sponsors who recruit in both industry sectors, notably companies like Ecolab, the 2023 host of O4U’s MOSAIC and TRANSFORM programs for Black, LatinX/E, Native/Indigenous and Transgender Gender Non-Conforming Non-Binary (TGNCNB) undergraduates.

Evan is a Study Management Associate at AbbVie and an Engineering Education research assistant at the University of Michigan. As their research interests include equity in education and capital disparity, Evan focuses on increasing accessibility and inclusion of engineering faculty into the Engineering Education research field. Evan graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign with a B.S. in Bioengineering and a minor in Material Science and Engineering. As a student, Evan attended the O4U Engineering conferences from 2020-2021, serving as a Campus Ambassador. Evan has since been volunteering as a Director of Programming and Logistics for the 2022 and 2023 Engineering conferences.

Evan said, “As my own career and passions lie at the intersection of Engineering and Life Science, I know that our field and community craves progress in queer accessibility and equity. O4U continuously nurtures me into the person I am becoming, so I am beyond honored and excited to bring to life the first ever Life Science conference with an organization that prioritizes the student experience.”

Cindi Love, Executive Director of O4U said, “We are honored and delighted that Evan is choosing to donate their time and considerable talent to lead in this way within our O4U community. Evan progressed through our leadership development process over several years and is so respected and valued by all of us. We always hope that our students benefit from our conferences in terms of finding great internships and jobs, developing personally and professionally, but that they also experience the value in a way that they want to pay it forward for other students and when they go to work, encourage their own companies to join us as sponsors. Evan is a gifted leader and we are so fortunate to have their contribution to this pilot as its inaugural Director. The Life Sciences industry has been on the rise over the past half-decade thanks to a surge in new products and technology, as well as an influx of capital from both public and private investors. There are so many scientific questions that the world is struggling to answer. Disruption is at the center of innovation and new opportunities for our students are emerging. We are ready for them.”

Overall employment in life, physical, and social science occupations is projected to grow faster than the average for all occupations from 2022 to 2032. About 136,800 openings are projected each year, on average, in these occupations due to employment growth and the need to replace workers who leave the occupations permanently.

Out for Undergrad (O4U) has been in continuous operation since 2004. There are more than 7,000 alumni of its conferences which center on living life with authenticity, clarity about what matters in life and work and achieving one’s full potential. Goldman Sachs is the 2024 host of the O4U Business Conference and JP Morgan Chase was the 2023 host of O4U’s Digital Conference along with Horizon Media. More than 1000 LGBTQ2+ and otherwise diverse undergraduates are admitted to O4U’s conferences each year. 200+ of the world’s leading corporations sponsor O4U making it possible to underwrite all student costs of attendance.

In addition to its conferences, Love continues: “We are often asked how someone becomes a volunteer leader within O4U (approximately 100 each year). This may be our best kept secret we should share more broadly. O4U has an extraordinary, almost 20-year record of developing proven leadership capacity and skills in early-career-stage professionals, Individuals who have volunteered to build and host O4U conferences, manage strategic initiatives and operations, run task forces and advisory councils. They now work in corporations throughout the world where they have opportunities to support voice and agency for others and to model inclusive and empathic leadership. Our volunteers are given out-sized opportunities to manage revenue and expenses, interact with senior leaders in over 200 of the world’s leading corporations and persuade them to invest in sponsorship of O4U. They also develop robust programming that engages industry leaders and social activists from around the world. In so doing, each of those volunteers participates in what is informally known as the O4U ‘classroom to the boardroom’ leadership development and succession planning process.

Each level and type of volunteer participation is designed to support individuals in building capacity for effective and empathic leadership while also building personal resiliency, authenticity and clarity about what matters most in life and work. Volunteer organizers describe their own experiences in many positive ways— life changing, an opportunity to be authentically themselves, and a space to network and make friends for life. These are the outcomes of a deliberate structure that cultivates balancing risk and reward, building trust and effective teams, creating a sense of belonging and purpose, and developing radical empathy.”

O4U invites corporations dedicated to workplaces where people feel they truly belong and can bring all of who they are and want to be to work to join as sponsors in the O4U Conferences. Sponsors who are interesting in being a host site for a conference or MOSAIC and TRANSFORM program can contact Love directly at

Dr. Cindi Love
Out for Undergrad
+1 956-589-0623
email us here
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