Mónica Feliú-Mójer, Ph.D.
Scientist | Science Communicator | Public Speaker | Diversity & Inclusion Advocate
I grew up in rural Puerto Rico, surrounded by nature, catching lizards and with a cow in my backyard, which sparked my interest in all things biology. I am a bilingual (Spanish and English) scientist-turned-communicator and tap into my training (a PhD in neurobiology), personal background, and culture (a woman from a working class community in Puerto Rico) to engage historically underserved and overlooked audiences, especially to Puerto Ricans and Latinxs, with science.
I apply a cultural lens to science communication and storytelling to make science more equitable and inclusive. Through the production of short films, writing of articles, media relations, and community-building, I engage marginalized communities with science and seek to change stereotypes about scientists of color. Through science communication trainings and mentoring, I help underrepresented scientists step into the power of their identities and stories and support their career development. Through advocacy, science communication and public engagement, I promote science and science-based decision-making in Puerto Rico.
I serve as Director of Communications and Science Outreach for Ciencia Puerto Rico (CienciaPR), a non-profit and global community of more than 13,000 scientists, students, educators, and allies creating social impact in Puerto Rico. There, I lead communications' strategy and several communications and outreach efforts including Aquí Nos Cuidamos, a project focused on promoting COVID-19 prevention and wellness in Puerto Rico through community and science engagement and multimedia content. I also serve as Director at Science Communication Lab, an innovative non-profit organization dedicated to using multimedia storytelling to engage the public, including educational and scientific communities, in the journey and wonder of science. I am the lead producer of “Background to Breakthrough”, a collection of short films expanding the definition of who can become a scientist by showcasing how scientists of color have succeeded because of their backgrounds.
My work has been featured in Telemundo, El Nuevo Día, Latino USA, Scientific American, and Google Arts & Culture, among others. For a quick overview about me and my work you can watch the short 1-minute video above.
During the pandemic, I have been very active in science communication and advocacy efforts, mainly in my role as the Director of Communications for CienciaPR. The majority of these efforts are in Spanish and include serving as editor-in-chief for an op-ed and popular science articles campaign, connecting Puerto Rican scientists with national and international media outlets, doing TV, radio, podcast and media interviews, creating resources for journalists, and writing op-eds, among others.
I am an Emerson Collective Fellow, part of the Recover and Renew Cohort, a cross-disciplinary group committed to exploring how issues of equity and justice have shaped the pandemic—and how we can center both on the path to building anew. I’ll be developing a collection of culturally relevant, Spanish-language educational resources to help Puerto Ricans stay safe from COVID-19. Ultimately, the project will serve as a new model for inclusive and participatory science communication and community engagement. I am the first and only Puerto Rican to date to earn this award.
I completed my undergraduate degree in human biology at the University of Puerto Rico in Bayamón and my doctorate in neurobiology at Harvard University.
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