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Yale Ciencia Academy: Professional Development Opportunity for Young Scientists

Mónica Ivelisse Feliú-Mójer's picture

New Haven, CT - The nonprofit organization Ciencia Puerto Rico (CienciaPR) is making a call for applications to the Yale Ciencia Academy (www.ciencia.org/yca; YCA), an innovative program to transform the training of young scientists in Puerto Rico and the United States. YCA is a collaboration between CienciaPR and Yale University and is funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The program leverages the CienciaPR community—the largest network of Puerto Rican scientists in the world—to connect to doctoral students in biological, biomedical, health and behavioral sciences with advisors, mentors and professional development opportunities. Through workshops and virtual conversations with successful scientists, participants can explore different careers; define their academic and career goals; expand their networks; and acquire communication and leadership skills. The program also allows students to have an impact on society through science outreach. In addition, participants attend an in-person meeting at the annual conference of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world's largest scientific organization.

According to Dr. Giovanna Guerrero Medina, Executive Director of CienciaPR and project leader, the program responds to the need for young scientists to better orient themselves about career opportunities and how to be more competitive in academic careers and other sectors.

"Students from Latino/Hispanic and other groups underrepresented in science students often do not have access to professional mentoring and support networks to help them accelerate their careers. Through this program, we leverage the wealth of talent and experience we have in CienciaPR to ensure that students are better prepared to achieve their career goals and have an impact on society," said Dr. Guerrero Medina.

Dr. Mónica Feliú Mójer, Vice-Director of CienciaPR and coordinator of the Yale Ciencia Academy, added that "besides learning from the professionals who serve as mentors in the program, students have the opportunity to learn from the experiences of their peers, from each other. That makes YCA much more than a professional development program, but also a community of support for the participants." 

In 2016, the program has 34 Puerto Rican and Latino participants who are pursuing doctoral studies in 21 universities in Puerto Rico and the United States. Almost 40 professionals and scientists—including Dr. Frances Colón, deputy science and technology adviser to the U.S. Secretary of State and renowned neurosurgeon Dr. Alfredo Quinones Hinojosa—have participated as mentors, panelists and facilitators for the program.

Applications for the Yale Ciencia Academy are open until November 23, 2016. Students can submit their application through www.cienciapr.org/yca. About 40 students will be selected to participate in the second year of the program, beginning in January 2017.

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