Welcome to CienciaPR, an expert and resource network for all who are interested in science and Puerto Rico.
I was born and raised in Ponce, Puerto Rico before joining the Puerto Rican Diaspora in Orlando as a high school student at Lake Mary High School (Lake Mary, Florida). My undergraduate education at New College (Sarasota, Florida) was a product of responsive mentoring and unique learning opportunities that allowed me to recognize and develop my talents as a scientist and anthropologist. In earlier stages of my career I was a researcher in Spain, Panamá, Argentina, and México before returning to Puerto Rico for my doctoral research. I also have an interest in working with urban schools to develop more effective methods of science education and to stimulate conversations with students about the scientific method. While I was a graduate student in Biological Anthropology at Yale University, I was a teaching fellow in the Anthropology Department and a National Science Foundation teaching fellow at an elementary magnet school. I am currently a Postdoctoral Associate at the Child Study Center in the Yale University School of Medicine (New Haven, Connecticut).
I am a human biologist interested in the malleability and effects of early childhood experiences. My research integrates anthropological theory and methodology, neuroscience, and psychology to understand child development in Latino, and specifically Puerto Rican, families.
Several demographic and long-term studies suggest that the level of violence in the community or family influences the timing of life history events such as when to have children. In my doctoral research, I applied these models to understand how stress affects parenting and child development in Puerto Rican families. I investigated stress mechanisms through research on young children attending Head Start centers in two communities in Puerto Rico. My research results generated questions about early childhood environments that have broader research and policy applications.
In my current position I am exploring the underlying psychobiological mechanisms of stress and reward systems and their effects on child and adolescent development, parenting, and adult partnerships.
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