Today, the U.S. National Science Foundation announced an investment of over $5 million over five-years for a collaborative partnership between three higher education institutions and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory to establish a new multidisciplinary, world-class educational center at the Arecibo Observatory site in Puerto Rico.
Dr. Wanda Díaz Merced has created a system that lets her "listen" to the stars (Credit: William Leibman)
Frequently, science teachers ask their students to draw a scientist so that they can get a sense of what students think and imagine about scientists. Thousands and thousands of drawings show the same stereotypical characteristics: a male scientist, white, dressed in a lab coat, usually a chemist mixing liquids and generating explosions, and a person that does not have any physical limitations.
No student has ever drawn a scientist like Dr. Wanda Díaz Merced. This young woman from Gurabo embodies the scientific anti-stereotype. Not only is she a woman and Puerto Rican, but also she completed her doctoral work in astrophysics, and without being able to use her sight.