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CienciaPR receives large federal grant to promote scientific professional development

Giovanna Guerrero-Medina's picture
The program, in collaboration with Yale University, is open to students pursuing doctorates in the biological, biomedical, and behavioral sciences. (www.cienciapr.org/yca)

New Haven, CT - The nonprofit organization Ciencia Puerto Rico (CienciaPR, www.cienciapr.org) received a large grant to establish, in collaboration with Yale University, an innovative program to transform the training of young scientists in Puerto Rico and the United States. The funds, which amount to over $1.6 million over five years, were awarded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The program, known as the Yale Ciencia Academy, leverages the CienciaPR community—the world’s most extensive network Puerto Rican scientists—to connect to doctoral students in disciplines related to the life, health, behavioral and psychological sciences with advisors, mentors and professional development opportunities. Through workshops and online conversations with successful scientists, participants will explore different career paths, define their academic and career goals, expand their networks, and acquire new communication and leadership skills. The program will also help students contribute to society through science outreach within and outside of Puerto Rico. In addition, selected students will be able to attend the annual conference of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world's largest scientific organization.

According to Dr. Giovanna Guerrero-Medina, Executive Director of CienciaPR and leader of the project, the program responds to the need of young scientists to better orient themselves about career opportunities and how to be more competitive within and outside of academia.

"Latinos and individuals from other groups underrepresented in science often do not have access to large professional and mentoring networks that can support them in accelerating their careers. Through this program, we will be taking advantage of the wealth of talent and experience we have within CienciaPR to ensure that students are better prepared to achieve their goals and to have an impact on society," said Dr. Guerrero-Medina.

For her part, Dr. Mónica Feliú-Mójer, Vice-Director of CienciaPR and coordinator of the Yale Ciencia Academy, commented "over the last 10 years we have used the CienciaPR network to connect to the Puerto Rican scientific community and diaspora and in this way help boost the careers of Puerto Ricans in science and technology. The NIH recognized the value of our strategy to have a broader impact at the national level, and help diversify the scientific workforce in the United States. We expect this program to foster the next generation of Hispanic leaders in science. "

This is not the first time Puerto Rico’s principal scientific organization has been recognized for its efforts and potential. Last year, CienciaPR established a strategic alliance with Yale to leverage the network in order to promote increased science outreach, education, and participation for Latinos and other minorities. This year, CienciaPR was twice recognized by the White House, first as a Bright Spot in Hispanic education and later for its commitment to develop a bilingual online resource to help inform Hispanic students about careers in science.

Registration to participate in the Yale Ciencia Academy is open until December 5 of this year. Those interested should submit their application through www.cienciapr.org/yca. Approximately forty students will be selected to participate in the first cohort, starting this January.

This is the original organization's press release. A spanish version of this article was published by El Nuevo Día: http://www.elnuevodia.com/ciencia/ciencia/nota/cienciapuertoricocrealaacademiayaleciencia-2128292/ 

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