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Ciencia Puerto Rico’s Director of Communications Receives Important Recognitions for Work Democratizing Science

Ariadna S. Rubio Lebrón's picture
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Dra. Mónica Feliú-Mójer, ‘Fellow’ de la Asociación Americana para el Avance de la Ciencia y miembro del Comité Permanente para el Avance de la Comunicación Científica de las Academias Nacional. Crédito: Falling Walls Foundation.

San Juan, PR –The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world's largest multidisciplinary scientific society, announced today that Dr. Mónica Feliú Mójer has been elected as one of the organization’s fellows, one of the most renowned honors in the world of science. Similarly, the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM), an independent institution founded in 1863 that advises the United States on important science, engineering and health issues, announced last week that the neurobiologist joined its Standing Committee on Advancing Science Communication.

Dr. Feliú-Mójer, who serves as Director of Communications and Public Engagement for the non-profit organization Ciencia Puerto Rico (CienciaPR), is one of 506 experts in science, engineering and innovation who have been selected as AAAS Fellows for their scientific and social achievements. In its announcement, AAAS cites Dr. Feliú Mójer's contributions as "an influential science communicator who inspires researchers around the world to share their science and to engage in public policy and science diplomacy".

With her appointment to the Standing Committee on Advancing Science Communication, Dr. Feliú Mójer joins a group of 17 experts in various disciplines of science communication research and practice. This committee is tasked with exploring and recommending ways to make science engagement more effective, equitable, evidence-based and inclusive.

A native of a rural community in Puerto Rico, Dr. Feliú Mójer is a neurobiologist by training, but has devoted much of her career to culturally relevant science communication and promoting the role of science in Puerto Rico and the civic engagement of the Puerto Rican scientific community. At CienciaPR she has served as editor of more than 400 popular science articles and opinion columns written in Spanish by Puerto Rican scientists and published in major media outlets in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she led the development of 'Aquí Nos Cuidamos', an educational and community science and public health project, and began establishing collaborations with community leaders in Puerto Rico to strengthen their capacity to use science to serve their communities. She has led several campaigns to advocate for evidence-based decision making and protect scientific institutions in Puerto Rico. For the past two years she has been the producer and co-host of 'Jueves de Ciencia Boricua' on the show 'Qué es la que hay con Luis Herrero' on Radio Isla 1320.

Dr. Feliú-Mójer, who also serves as Director of Inclusive Science Communication for the non-profit organization Science Communication Lab, has more than 17 years of experience in multimedia communication, media relations, and training in inclusive and culturally relevant science communication. She has produced short films that highlight how the culture and identities of scientists from marginalized communities play an important role in their contributions to science.

"I am very proud of these awards, especially because they are due in large part to my work communicating science in Spanish and in Puerto Rico. I am excited to be able to use these prestigious platforms to continue promoting equity and inclusion in science, representing Puerto Rican science, and creating space for the participation of marginalized communities in science," said Dr. Feliú Mójer.

Election as an AAAS Fellow is a lifetime honor. Previous honourees include W.E.B. DuBois (the founder of U.S. sociology), Ellen Ochoa (first Latina astronaut), Steven Chu (Nobel Laureate), Grace Hopper (computing pioneer), and Mae Jemison (first Black female astronaut).

Dr. Feliú Mójer's appointment to the NASEM Standing Committee for Advancing Science Communication is for a term of at least 3 years.

"Dr. Feliú-Mójer is internationally recognized as an expert in building bridges between scientists and the public to promote social justice and address inequities in access to valuable scientific information. Her science communication work is characterized by empathy and care. She is unique in her expertise and approaches to increasing science engagement. I am very pleased that our dear colleague will serve as an advisor to the country and to science through these important appointments," said Dr. Giovanna Guerrero-Medina, Executive Director of Ciencia Puerto Rico.