Online Scientific Network to Promote Science Education in a Minority Community


Viernes, 20 septiembre 2013 - 5:00pm to 6:00pm



Session Title: Leveraging An Online Scientific Network to Promote and Enhance Science Education Within a Minority Community

Giovanna Guerrero-Medina, Ph.D., Executive Director, Ciencia Puerto Rico

Target Audience: K-16 educators; administrators & policy makers; international development organizations; science communicators; informal science educators; people interested in broadening the participation of minorities in science

Short Session Description: A social network approach to augment the visibility of minority role models, increase their participation in outreach, and improve the cultural-relevance of science education in a Hispanic community.

Session Strand (use the "tag"): "Diversity, Equity, and Opportunity"

Full Session Description: Scientific networks and, in particular, scientific diasporas have recently attracted attention as groups that can contribute through their knowledge to the betterment of their communities and may be particularly predisposed to do so. The nonprofit organization Ciencia Puerto Rico (CienciaPR), was established in 2006 as a network to bring together the geographically- dispersed, yet emotionally-connected Puerto Rican scientific community under a virtual collaborative space. By engaging its membership and leveraging its breadth and reach, CienciaPR has been able to implement a number of formal and informal science education initiatives that have contributed to the teaching and learning of science and the support of scientists at various stages of their training and career. Some of these efforts include increasing content about Puerto Rican scientists or research performed in Puerto Rico in local print, radio, and online news media; compiling a book of essays relating scientific stories in a language that is relatable to the community; offering workshops to K-12 teachers to complement their classes with contextualized activities; and piloting a program to increase students’ interest in and awareness of science and scientific careers. Through these and other strategies, the organization hopes to increase the visibility and impact of culturally-appropriate role models, which have been identified as being important in attracting and retaining minorities in science education and careers, and to increase the availability of contextualized science educational resources that can help enhance student interest and engagement in science. This presentation will provide a historical perspective to the emergence of CienciaPR, place it in context of current trends and research on minorities in science, and provide an overview of the organization’s impact and current and future strategies and lessons learned as they relate to science education.

Link to STEMxCon Session Proposal (full URL with http://):

Giovanna Guerrero-Medina, Ph.D., Executive Director, Ciencia Puerto Rico
I am the Executive Director of the nonprofit organization Ciencia Puerto Rico (CienciaPR), a community network to promote science education and research, and to raise awareness about the contributions of scientists from or in Puerto Rico. After a bachelors in Biology from the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras and a Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of California, Berkeley, I transitioned to a career in science policy through an internship at the National Academies in Washintgon, DC. It was there that I discovered my passion for supporting efforts to improve public understanding of science, government practices that impact science, and the working and training conditions of the biomedical workforce. For nearly four years I worked in science policy, strategic planning, and program evaluation at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and then went on to build new research programs at the Van Andel Research Institute, an independent, nonprofit research organization in Michigan. After nearly six years working on a voluntary capacity in various role for CienciaPR, I accepted a position as Executive Director. 

Throughout my tenure with CienciaPR, I have actively promoted the expansion and application of the network, increasing dissemination of research opportunities through the website, its newsletter and social media accounts; helping to organize scientific networking and professional development events; designing science outreach programs; establishing key partnerships with media outlets and academic, non-profit, and governmental organizations; and more than doubling registration of student and scientist profiles to more than 6,380. Email:

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