A message of gratitude and well wishes
Submitted by Giovanna Guerrero-Medina on
As we get closer to the end of this difficult year, I reflect on the privilege of being able to work for and with a community that was so important and so ready for the challenges that 2020 presented. At CienciaPR we are deeply proud of our #CienciaBoricua community. When we needed it most, they put their knowledge in service of society by listening, researching, informing, educating, and scrutinizing the actions of those in power throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
I am also deeply proud of the work of the CienciaPR team, who, fueled by the need of Puerto Rican students, teachers, and citizens, were able to pivot our programs and innovate in ways that had huge impacts.
Here are a few ways in which our team and community demonstrated their commitment to Puerto Rico this year:
Following the 2020 earthquakes, the Ciencia al Servicio (Science in Service) initiative developed an emergency STEM education kit which was converted to digital format soon after the pandemic struck. The team distributed over 60 kits to teachers in the south and >250 teachers have downloaded materials, allowing them to continue education despite school closures. In all, Ciencia al Servicio impacted over 300 educators and benefited more than 9,000 students. In addition, we converted our Scientists in Service school visits to 19 online talks and most recently, to an educational show broadcast through local TV!
This year’s Seeds of Success program for girls in STEM began online with 121 middle school girls selected among >400 applicants. We recruited 120 female scientists to provide 1:1 mentoring and established partnerships with >30 community organizations and nonprofits to support the girls' STEM outreach activities. Our mentor recruitment allowed us to launch the biggest Latinas in STEM digital collection, along with Juntas Podemos, a series of inspiring online talks with women in STEM.
The Puerto Rican public needed information about the pandemic and we answered their call. Since March, we have published >85 COVID-19 related articles and columns in local newspapers written by 60 science and public health experts. We also facilitated >70 media interviews between scientists and local and international media.
To promote actionable science and public health messages, we partnered with the Puerto Rico Public Health Trust and Mercy Corps to launch “Cuídate Cuídame”, a COVID-19 prevention campaign targeted to 20-39 year-olds. In addition, we received a grant from Simons Foundation’s Science Sandbox Initiative to empower disadvantaged communities in Puerto Rico to prevent COVID-19. Register at AquiNosCuidamos.org to receive our content!
We are extremely proud that many of the science communication heroes of the pandemic, in Puerto Rico and abroad, trained through our Yale Ciencia Academy for Professional Development (YCA), which closed its first 5 years of NIH funding having empowered 194 young scientists with leadership and science communication skills. This year, the NIH renewed our program for another 5 years!
In addition to all of these programmatic achievements, as an organization CienciaPR was able to increase its staff, bringing in new talent and skills to our group. We also set a record for individual donations with >$35,000 raised in benefit of our programs.
Finally, our efforts in science education, communication, and policy were highlighted by national and international media outlets 100 times! This includes mentions by NPR, Latino USA, the New York Times, El Nuevo Día, and Telemundo, among others.
As a donor, collaborator, or member of our community, these are also your successes. Thank you!
In 2021, we are determined to continue increasing the visibility and impact of our #CienciaBoricua, creating more spaces for science communication and civic engagement, and empowering our community to continue putting science in service of Puerto Rico. We hope to count on your support.
In solidarity and gratitude,
Giovanna Guerrero-Medina, PhD
Executive Director, CienciaPR