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CienciaPR brings women scientists to Puerto Rican schools

Fifty science and mathematics educators from grades 7-12 in schools throughout the island received educational materials to help them highlight Latina (mostly Puerto Rican) women scientists in their classrooms, as part of an initiative by Ciencia Puerto Rico.

The nonprofit known as CienciaPR is carrying out its “Sowing seeds of success in your school” initiative, coinciding with the celebration of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, established by the United Nations in 2015 and celebrated every Feb. 11.

“Sowing seeds of success in your school” is a new initiative for educators, part of the Seeds of Success program, which provides girls from 7th to 9th grade with educational tools and experiences to inspire them to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines and to develop as leaders in their communities.

The educators, who represent schools in 43 towns in Puerto Rico, received printed posters and a 2022 calendar to create a display in their schools based on the Latina Women in STEM Digital Collection, which contains downloadable posters, biographies and videos of more than 160 women mentors and allies of Seeds of Success.

Educators also received a digital guide with instructions and ideas for effective use of the Latina Women Collection in STEM in their classrooms, the “Juntas Podemos” talks and Leadership Power Training, a short course for students on leadership skills, among other materials.

The 50 educators, 42 of whom are from the public school system, were chosen from a pool of nearly 100 applicants based on their proposed ideas for creative use of the materials in their classrooms during 2022.

“It gives us great satisfaction to expand our impact and sow Seeds of Success, not only in our girls, but now for all students in our schools. Our girls and boys will be able to learn about the legacy and contributions of women scientists and have in them as a refrence of success,” said Giovanna Guerrero-Medina, executive director of CienciaPR.

“Our educators are very motivated with this initiative and have already started to create their exhibits and special projects. I am very excited about the diversity of ideas and the creativity they have demonstrated,” commented Elvin Estrada, Science Education Program Specialist at CienciaPR.

“Sowing seeds of success in your school” is possible due to the support of the wiSTEM2D program of Johnson & Johnson and the Medtronic Foundation, and also counts with the collaboration of other organizations such as Boston Scientific, Ecoexploratorio Museo de Ciencias de Puerto Rico, Fundación Amgen, Fundación Banco Popular, Fundación Ángel Ramos, Evertec and the PROUD Program of the University of PR-Humacao. The initiative also relies on the contributions of hundreds of women in STEM who serve as role models.

“We hope that the use of the Digital Collection, posters, talks and other resources will bring the topic of the inclusion of women in science and the importance of representation and diversity for the advancement of STEM disciplines to the classroom,” said Greetchen Díaz, director of the Science Education and Community Partnerships Program at CienciaPR.

The Latina Women Digital Collection, the Juntas Podemos talks, and the Leadership Power Training are available for free access on the CienciaPR website for any educator, parent or student interested in sharing inspiring role models.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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