Bienvenidos a CienciaPR, una red de recursos para todos los interesados en las ciencias y en Puerto Rico.
I was a scientist by vocation before I was one by training. Growing up in a home in rural Puerto Rico, nature was the ‘play laboratory’ where I developed an intense interest in science. However, I didn't want to become a scientist. That's because, while I was growing up, I didn't know I could be as scientist. I didn't know any scientists, what they did or what it took to become one.
While in college at the University of Puerto Rico at Bayamón—where I earned my bachelors degree in Human Biology—two words would eventually change my life. “Try research.” These were the words of my freshman year Biology professor, as she handed me an application for a summer research program. After just one month into my summer research experience, it had become evident that I had found my career: I wanted to be a research scientist. That first research experience not only helped me discover my passion for science, particularly neuroscience, but it introduced me to the importance of mentors. The mentorship relationships I forged as an undergraduate are still extremely valuable to me, as they supported me through the next steps of my scientific career.
After finishing college I decided that I wanted to obtain more research experience before applying to graduate school. So, I went to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where I worked for three years studying molecules involved in learning and memory. In 2007 I began my Ph.D. in Neurobiology at Harvard University, which I recently completed (January 2013).
Besides research, I am very passionate about science communication, education and mentoring. I am heavily involved with multiple organizations dedicated to promoting science, education and mentoring, particularly Ciencia Puerto Rico. Over the last 7 years, I have been the volunteer vice-director and news editor-in-chief for Ciencia Puerto Rico (CienciaPR; www.cienciapr.org). Ciencia Puerto Rico is a non-profit organization that brings together scientists to promote science awareness among the general public, to foster the next generations of Latino scientists and improve formal science education.
CienciaPR gives me the opportunity to inform the general public about the latest research; who scientists are and what we do; and how science impacts daily life, in a way that's relatable and relevant to their context and culture. I have also had the chance to help fellow scientists write for lay audiences by serving as an editor to their contributions and a liaison for CienciaPR's media partnerships. CienciaPR has allowed me to stay connected with the Puerto Rican scientific community, to give back, pay it forward and so much more.
Currently I work jointly as vice-director for CienciaPR and a science outreach program manager for iBiology.
Ciencia Puerto Rico is a non-profit organization based at Yale University that leverages a social networking platform to connect a geographically-dispersed scientific community and engage them with social impact initiatives in science outreach, communication and education.
iBiology is a non-profit organization based at the University of California in San Francisco that engages the world's leading biologists to produce educational open-access videos in topics in biology, science education, policy and beyond.
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