The work I am absolutely most passionate about is my work with underserved communities and/or underrepresented groups in the sciences. As a woman and a minority who has stood on the shoulders of so many of my peers and mentors time and time again, it is imperative that all of the programs and initiatives I manage are as inclusive as possible, ensuring that science is a value and pursuit available to all.
Read below to learn about some of my science education & outreach work.
American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
Spanish Language Mass Media Fellows Program
The importance of increasing public understanding of scientific issues, like the environment and health, is increasing. Reaching out to specific communities, especially those not well served by mainstream science media, is required to make sure science communication and education is available to everyone. After 40 years of increasing coverage of science-related news and issues in English, AAAS began also focusing on serving the growing Latino populations of the US by 1) supporting science communication and education in the language of those communities, (2) addressing issues of increasing importance to the communities, such as health and environment, and (3) presenting scientific role models and spokespersons to Latino communities.
Although the AAAS Mass Media Science & Engineering Fellowship had been placing scientists in journalism power-houses like NPR and The LA Times for nearly 40 years, I wanted to make sure that science news was reaching the segment of the population without access to such resources. I specifically remember at the end of my own Fellowship experience wondering how the Fellowship could be more inclusive; i.e., reach more people than those who listen to NPR or read Scientific American, for example. When I became the Director, I knew the Spanish Language Fellowship was one way I could tackle this problem. The Spanish Language Fellowship would expand the dissemination of science, while at the same time broadening participation within science journalism by placing Spanish-speaking scientists in Spanish news outlets to report on science news that is relevant to growing and marginalized Latino communities.
Starting with just the initial idea, I successfully implemented the Spanish Language Fellows Program by:
directing the design, print, and dissemination of promotional materials;
successfully recruiting a competitive application pool;
promoting the Fellowship through various mediums such as through social media, student websites, organizational meetings, and mass mailings;
making appropriate amendments to Fellowship website and application;
forging meaningful and success relationship with host sites; CNN, Univision, and NTN24, resulting in 27 publications (including print, multimedia, video, and TV pieces) in Spanish; and
after its first year, securing all funding through sponsor contributions.
American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
Science Magazine's Minority Science Writer's Interns Program
If we are going to talk about bias in news reporting, not only do we have to talk about the under-representation of minority groups in science, but we have to talk about the overwhelming under-representation in the newsroom as well. The American Society of News Editors found that ethnic minorities made up only 12.37 percent of newsrooms in 2013, with the percentages in science writing likely being even lower. Enter Science Magazine's Minority Science Writers Internship program. In an effort to diversity the newsroom, starting in 2005, AAAS & Science teamed together to offer an opportunity for undergraduates committed to journalism to learn about science writing. During the 10-week experience, the Interns have the opportunity to work with award-winning reporters and editors on the news staff of the world’s largest interdisciplinary scientific journals.
As manager of the Minority Science Writer's Interns Program, I was in charge of implementing the internship, while the folks at Science oversaw mentorship. My role included creating all marketing material and organizing subsequent promotion through various mediums such as social media, student websites, organizational meetings, online articles, and mass mailings; managing the application process and preparing all material for the selection committee; advising Science magazine on the selection process; and managing intern reporting while on site and post-project reporting for funders and AAAS.
2015 Minority Science Writing Interns
2015 Minority Science Writing Interns and those responsible for its success
While I was a graduate student, the University of California, Santa Cruz created a graduate research position within the Division of Graduate Studies titled, “Graduate Diversity Advisor," a first for the university. The role was to work with the Division of Graduate Studies in two main areas, the Graduate Diversity Events & Initiatives and from within Graduate Diversity Advisory Committee. The goal of the position was to foster an inclusive and diverse environment at UCSC, evaluate and build programs that create a climate and culture of inclusion that support the mission of the University, and prepare a fully diverse, inclusive, highly skilled graduate population.
Flyer for one of my Graduate Division events.
After demonstrating my desire to increase the number of, the communication between, and the resources for graduate students in underrepresented groups, this position was created by the Division of Graduate Studies for me in mind. Within this position, I had the opportunity to:
write, plan, and execute diversity initiatives aimed at the recruitment and retention of students in underrepresented groups within the graduate division;
coordinate communication and facilitate the implementation of initiatives designed to develop and enhance internal and external partnerships between the graduate division, community organizations, and untapped resources within the UCSC academic institution with the goal of increasing graduate diversity; and
assist with the planning and execution of The Northern California Forum for Diversity in Graduate Education, which was held on the UC Santa Cruz campus in the Fall of 2009, drawing in more than one thousand students and 150 recruiters.
Students at the Forum for Diversity in Graduate Education
Students attending a presentation on financial support in graduate school
During my time working for the graduate division, areas of my focus included:
Best practices of recruiting admit students (via department grad reps and staff)
Revision of the Graduate Student Orientation to incorporate themes of diversity and inclusion
Graduate student mentoring
Professional & career development workshops
Workshops on how to succeed within graduate school
Website revision as a tool and resource for graduate students
Involving faculty in graduate diversity initiatives
Effective networking via UCSC grad alumni
Combating graduate student isolation on campus
Building on the current graduate outreach infrastructure
Incorporating service learning into graduate student culture