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2018 Yale Ciencia Fellows help launch a science policy network, deliver professional development sessions at national STEM conferences and more

Mónica Ivelisse Feliú-Mójer's picture

As part of their training and leadership development, Yale Ciencia Academy (YCA) fellows are required to create and implement a science outreach activity of their choosing. These outreach projects are meant to expand the impact of the program, by allowing YCA fellows to engage with young people, teachers, or other members of the public, particularly from communities traditionally underrepresented and underserved in science. In 2018, YCA Fellows completed a variety of projects, impacting more than 6,000 people. Projects included blog posts, newsletter articles, podcasts, lesson plans for educators, school visits, public lectures at cafés and pubs, career workshops and panels at academic institutions and national conferences, networking events, the creation of a new blog, the creation of a science policy network in Puerto Rico, the creation of a website about science and society, and one opinion article published on a major Spanish-language newspaper. Here we showcase a few examples of the outreach activities led by the 2018 class of the Yale Ciencia Academy.

Check them out, use them as resources, get inspired, and share them with your students, colleagues, and networks!

Puerto Rico Science Policy Action Network (PR-SPAN) (Dr. Adrián Rivera-Reyes, University of Pennsylvania; Luis Alexis Rodríguez Cruz, University of Vermont): In collaboration with YCA alumni, other scientists and policy experts, Adrián and Luis helped launch the Puerto Rico Science Policy Action Network (PR-SPAN), a new collaborative effort led by CienciaPR, the American Association for the Advancement of Science Caribbean Division (AAAS-CD) and the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). PR-SPAN is a network of scientists committed to act as science and technology experts, and serve as links within their respective fields to ensure the participation of the scientific community in the development of public policies, at the federal and local levels, of relevance to Puerto Rico. PR-SPAN was launched on September 1, 2018 during the Science in Action Conference in Puerto Rico.

Ciencia al Servicio de Puerto Rico (Ailed Cruz, Dr. Eunice Lozada, Luis Colón, Robert Rabelo, University of Puerto Rico Medical Sciences Campus and Río Piedras Campus): “Ciencia al Servicio de Puerto Rico" (Science in Service of Puerto Rico) is a K-12 education program, created by CienciaPR, that brings together middle school teachers and science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) professionals for the co-creation of project-based learning culturally relevant science lessons. As part of their participation in the program, this group of YCA fellows took part in a 2-day workshop, where they received training in effective communication, culturally relevant education, and project-based learning strategies. During the workshop, they collaborated with teachers to develop a science lesson, which was implemented by the teachers during the academic year. In addition, the fellows visited the teachers’ classrooms and welcomed teachers and students in their research laboratories, where they gave talks and did hands-on activities.

Science Communication for All: Perspectives and Tools for Implementation in Research, the Classroom and the Community (Dr. Jesús Romo, University of Texas, San Antonio and Tufts University): Jesús served as a guest editor for a special issue on science communication for the American Society for Microbiology in their Journal of Microbiology and Biology Education (JMBE). He wrote this summary blog post about the special issue, focused on the importance of using proper science communication, the use of science communication training for early career scientists, using science communication strategies to engage the community, and suggestions for driving change at each educator's home institution.

Bench2Bench (Dr. Reinaldo Franqui-Machín, University of Iowa and Howard University): Reinaldo started Bench2Bench (bench2bench.org), a website to inform prospective scientists about careers in and outside of academia. The website features spotlights with professionals, podcasts, and articles about the role of science in society. Bench2Bench also has articles about scientific research topics, written in accessible ways for non-experts.

¿Qué vamos a hacer con los plásticos? (What are we going to do about plastics?) (José Liquet y González, University of Tennessee, Knoxville): José combined his expertise in microbiology and biodegradation to discuss plastic consumption and recycling in Puerto Rico in an opinion article published in El Nuevo Día, the newspaper with the highest circulation in Puerto Rico. He used humor and cultural relevance to contextualize the issue and suggest simple actions individuals could take to tackle the environmental challenges posed by the ubiquity and lack of recycling of plastic in Puerto Rico.

Professional development sessions at SACNAS and ABRCMS (Violeta Rodriguez, University of Georgia; Rosario A. Marroquin-Flores, Illinois State University; Jennifer Patritti Cram, University of Cincinnati; Miguel A. Lopez Jr., The Ohio State University; Liz Hernandez Borrero, Pennsylvania State University; Dr. Mirelis Cancel, University of Cincinnati; Victor Hugo Canela, Indiana University; Brittnie Bloom, San Diego State University and University of California, San Diego; Imade Imasuen-Williams, Indiana University; Keila Miles, University of Cincinnati; Denise Buenrostro, Vanderbilt University and Fred Hutch Cancer Center; Yvett Sosa, Albert Einstein College of Medicine; and Anthony Monroe, Duke University): Three different groups of fellows proposed and delivered professional development sessions at the SACNAS 2018 National Conference in San Antonio, Texas and the 2018 Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students in Indianapolis, Indiana. Sessions discussed topics like applying to graduate programs, overcoming challenges during graduate training and skills for success.

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