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Ask Your Institution's Support for Puerto Rico

Giovanna Guerrero-Medina's picture


If you work at an academic or educational institution outside of Puerto Rico, there are a number of ways in which you can help. In addition to considering donating, or volunteering your expertise or science communication skills, you can also advocate to your university to 1) support relief efforts in Puerto Rico or 2) make accommodations for students and trainees applying to educational or research programs. We recommend you send the message below to Deans of Undergraduate Admissions, Graduate School, Diversity and Inclusion, Student Affairs, etc. 

The Natural Sciences Student Council of the UPR Río Piedras has been reaching out to summer and post-bac research programs to request that they extend the application deadlines for Puerto Rico students. Here is the list of programs with which they have communicated so far.


Dear [NAME and/or TITLE],

As you may already know, Puerto Rico is being affected by multiple earthquakes that have caused extensive structural damage, rendered large portions of the archipelago without electricity, and caused great anxiety and stress among communities which had not yet fully recovered from Hurricane Maria.  

This happens to be the period in which many students are applying or interviewing for college, post baccalaureate or summer research programs, graduate school, medical residencies, and fellowships, among others.

I am writing to request that [NAME OF THE INSTITUTION]:

  1. foregoes any fees associated with applications for students coming from Puerto Rico.
  2. extends deadlines for applicants from Puerto Rico, as electricity outages are negatively impacting communications and access to computers.
  3. reaches out to interviewees from Puerto Rico who are scheduled to come visit graduate or training programs with words of concern and options for visits. Commercial airlines have significantly raised prices and it may be increasingly difficult to find affordable fares. I encourage the institution to consider telephone or video interviews, if possible. 
  4. reaches out to current students and staff from Puerto Rico, as the impact of the earthquakes on their families and loved ones is likely causing them stress and anxiety that negatively impacts their studies and/or work.

Thank you in advance for your consideration of this matter. 



*Based on a similar email sent by Dr. Marietta Vázquez at Yale University