Committed to fostering interest in the study of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers, the University of Puerto Rico at Humacao (UPRH) hosted more than 30 students participating in the Seeds of Success program, sponsored by the non-profit organization Ciencia Puerto Rico.
Seeds of Success: STEM Girls Ambassadors Program is a project to bring middle and/or high school girls closer to STEM careers, meet university leaders and professionals in these disciplines, and empower them to practice their leadership skills through the development of science communication projects in their schools and/or communities.
"For us at UPRH, it is a privilege to have been selected to host the STEM ambassadors of the Seed of Success program. The doors of the UPRH are always open in the interest of developing and training the next generations that will be leaders of the country and the world. Likewise, as an institution we are proud to share that the four natural sciences departments are led by outstanding women scientists," said Dr. Carlos A. Galiano Quiñones, interim rector of the UPRH.
The girls, from 7th to 9th grade, were received in the natural sciences lobby by Dr. Josee Vedrine, Prof. Sandra Rodríguez, and members of various student organizations in the natural sciences area.
Students from the biology department and the physics and electronics department of the UPRH offered a series of talks focused on STEM careers, followed by a tour of the microbiology and nanotechnology research laboratories to learn first-hand about the working environment of a STEM professional. They also saw the Moon Buggy project workshop and the institution's Astronomical Observatory.
For Janice Rivera Santiago, a third-year microbiology student in the biology department, it was very exciting to see the girls enjoy the interactive dynamics and the tour of the scientific research laboratories.
"It wasn't until I came to UPRH that I had the opportunity to perform experiments, evaluate different samples with a microscope, and learn about the different opportunities in STEM. It is very inspiring to see that there are these opportunities that provide her with the unique tools and experiences to continue motivating more girls who are interested in science," noted Rivera Santiago.
At the end of the activity, Dr. Liz Hernández Matías, director of the Seeds of Triumph program thanked Rector Galiano Quiñones, the deans, professors, students, and Dr. Kevin Alicea Torres, liaison of the program, for hosting the tour and visits to the laboratories of the institution.