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 other Spanish-speakers, 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, and media relations, and community-building initiatives, I seek to change stereotypes about scientists of color. I engage marginalized communities with science to increase their capacity and agency to address their needs and priorities. 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 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 15,000 scientists, students, educators, and allies creating social impact in Puerto Rico. There, I lead communications' strategy and several communications and public engagement efforts including Aquí Nos Cuidamos, an award-winning project focused on promoting COVID-19 prevention and mental health in Puerto Rico through community engagement and multimedia education. I also serve as Director of Inclusive Science Communication and Engagement for Science Communication Lab (SCL), 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 a producer for Wonder Collaborative, the filmmaking arm of SCL, where I was 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. I was co-executive producer for the Future of Science Film Fellowship, a program for emerging filmmakers to develop new documentaries about equity and inclusion in science.
My work has been featured in Telemundo, El Nuevo Día, Latino USA, Scientific American, and Google Arts & Culture, among others.
During the pandemic, I have been very active in science communication, public engagement and advocacy efforts, mainly in my role with 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, writing op-eds, and leading Aquí Nos Cuidamos, among others.
In 2020 I was named 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 am the first and only Puerto Rican to date to earn this fellowship. My work as an Emerson Collective Fellow focused on building Aquí Nos Cuidamos as a model for community-centered science engagement.
I completed my undergraduate degree in human biology at the University of Puerto Rico in Bayamón and my doctorate in neurobiology at Harvard University.
(Very) Short CV
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