About Us

Throughout our journeys, we were lucky to have mentors who invested in us, whether it was through mentorship, providing access to research opportunities or making us aware of fellowship opportunities. We believe that everyone deserves to have someone who can push forward potential and guide him/her along the way.

The Científico Latino Project comes from a drive to increase the pool of minority scientists and professionals by creating a platform where everyone—regardless of ethnicity, gender,  sexual orientation, disability or immigration status—has equal access to fellowship and scholarship opportunities, and the chance to learn from their peers to becoming successful STEM professionals and other related fields.

Our Initiatives

To help spread information about relevant opportunities in STEM through practical professional development workshops for college and high school students.

Create equal access opportunities that provide critical support needed to succeed in STEM through public databases.

Preparing underrepresented students to navigate the STEM graduate school application process.

Amplifying the voices of underrepresented scientists and allies through a platform that features diverse scientists and scientific journeys.

 

Our Team

Please use the following dropdown menu  below to filter based on department/program.
Científico Latino is an entirely volunteer-run organization.

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Olivia Goldman_headshot - Olivia Goldman

Robert W. Fernandez, PhD

He/Him/His

Co-founder; Executive Co-Director

Strategic Relations, Executive Board

Department: 

Rob is a post-doc at Columbia University working in the Oliver Hobert lab studying C. elegans neuroscience. He received his Ph.D. in Molecular Biophysics & Biochemistry at Yale University in March 2020, and is a 2014 PD Soros Fellow. He was born in Lima, Peru and grew up in New Jersey where he went to community college to received his Associates of Arts Degree in Business Administration at Union County College. He went on to receive his Bachelor's Degree in Biotechnology from York College, City University of New York.

Growing up, he was undocumented for 20 years which made pursuing higher education difficult; however, he was able to overcome this due to the support of his family and STEM mentors. He aims to change the STEM narrative by making STEM accessible to everyone and help underrepresented students succeed in STEM.

Olivia Goldman_headshot - Olivia Goldman

Olivia Goldman

She/Her/Hers

Co-founder; Executive Co-Director

Digital Experience, Executive Board

Department: 

Olivia is a neuroscientist and graduate student studying in the lab of Neurogenetics & Behavior at Rockefeller University, supervised by Dr. Leslie Vosshall. She co-founded Cientifico Latino in 2016 after realizing how obscure the path to succeeding in STEM graduate school applications is without information and mentorshp. She is passionate about making science accessible to anyone who is curious.

For her doctoral thesis, she investigates contact chemosensation in mosquitoes and the neurobiological mechanisms underlying the efficacy of insect repellents, including DEET. Previously, she received her Bachelor of Arts in Neuroscience & Behavior at Barnard College of Columbia University, and then worked as a research technician in the lab of Nobel prize winner Dr. Eric Kandel.

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Melissa A. Cadena

She/Her/Hers

GSMI Director

GSMI

Department: 

Melissa is currently a PhD student in the joint Emory University and Georgia Institute of Technology Biomedical Engineering program. She is Colombian-American, born and raised in Queens, NY. Melissa completed her B.S.E. in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Michigan (Go Blue!). Melissa's research focuses on creating a more sophisticated model of neurodevelopment by integrating cortical brain organoids and 3D bioprinting. She is supported by the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. Melissa is very involved in diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives, educational outreach, and mentorship for underrepresented and marginalized students. With CL, she hopes to continue being involved in these efforts and making STEM inclusive and accessible to all.

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Cathy Amaya

She/Her/Hers

GSMI Director

GSMI, Executive Board, Team Alumni

Department: 

Cathy is currently a fourth-year graduate student in the Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry Department at Yale University. She works in the lab of Christian Schlieker on the morphology of the endoplasmic reticulum. She received her Bachelor's in Chemistry from Amherst College in 2014, where she discovered her interest in the intersection between chemistry and biology. After graduation, she worked as a lab technician at MIT for two years before gaining the confidence to apply to Ph.D. programs. Being a first-generation student who grew up in a Salvadoran family in Miami, FL, Cathy is passionate about mentoring future generations of underrepresented scientists and hopeful that we can work together to address the problem of lack of representation of underrepresented minority scholars in higher education.

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Pia Rodriguez

She/Her/Hers

GSEC Executive Co-Director

GSEC

Department: 

Pia is a Cell Biology PhD candidate at Duke University studying glial mitochondrial dynamics in brain development in the laboratory of Dr. Cagla Eroglu. Born in Bolivia to Peruvian parents, Pia grew up undocumented in the US learned the critical importance of mentorship for people like her to access and succeed in STEM. She earned a full scholarship to UNC-Chapel Hill despite her undocumented status, which allowed her to pursue her bachelor's degree in biology. During her time at UNC, Pia became a leader in undocumented student advocacy and policy reform, an issue she is still passionate about today. After undergrad, Pia joined the Regenerative Medicine Lab at United Therapeutics in NC, where she was one of the lead researchers to develop a stem cell-based therapy for chronic lung disease. At Duke, Pia is a 2020 PD Soros Fellow, a BioCoRE Scholar, and Co-Chair of Duke's Cell Biology Diversity and Inclusion Committee. Through these efforts and beyond, Pia remains committed to diversifying academic spaces while empowering and mentoring marginalized STEM trainees.

Olivia Goldman_headshot - Olivia Goldman

Kimberly Hernandez Palacios

GSEC Executive Co-Director

GSEC

Department: 

Kimberly is a PhD student in the Neurobiology and Behavior program at Columbia University where she studies neural circuits underlying social behaviors. She is Mexican-American and was born and raised in southern California. She attended CSU Long Beach and got her start in research as a MARC scholar. After undergrad, she moved to Ann Arbor, MI where she participated in the NIH PREP program for a year before moving to NYC for graduate school. At the start of her PhD, Kimberly was awarded the Ford Foundation Pre-Doctoral Fellowship in 2019. Since her start in research, she has been passionate about helping URM succeed in STEM and has been involved in multiple outreach and diversity initiatives. She plans to continue these efforts with the goal of making diverse and inclusive environments in STEM.

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Sergio Rodriguez Labra

He/Him/His

GSEC Executive Co-Director

GSEC

Department: 

Sergio is a neuroscience and chemical biology PhD candidate at the Scripps Research Institute working on Alzheimer's disease cerebral organoid models and treatments. Prior to beginning his doctoral studies in 2018, he earned a B.S.E. in Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering and a Master of Biotechnology at the University of Pennsylvania. As a naturalized immigrant, born and raised in Mexico, Sergio is committed to his community support efforts; leading numerous Latinx pre-professional organizations and mentorship programs at Penn, co-founding his current institution's Scientific Diversity Association, and co-developing the GSEC program at Cientifico Latino. Sergio strives to continue these, and future efforts synergizing mentorship, community outreach, and advocacy to assist and empower present and future generations of underrepresented minorities in STEM.

Olivia Goldman_headshot - Olivia Goldman

Aníbal Tornés Blanco

He/Him/His

Strategic Relations; Data Analysis

Strategic Relations, Executive Board, GSMI

Department: 

Anibal is a rising second year PhD student at the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor in the Biological Chemistry program working in Mechanisms of Epigenetic Regulation with Dr.Kaushik Ragunathan. He was born in La Habana, Cuba and migrated short after to Puerto Rico where he pursued his B.S. in Integrative Biology at the University of Puerto Rico - Rio Piedras. During outreach events he realized that as he answered questions for students and elders in his community, more questions than answers emerged. This led him to look for answers directly with the scientists generating them and he became involved with the NIH - RISE program at his home institution. There he learned about diverse research programs which allowed him to work with biomedical informatics, structural biology and even launch an experiment in a NASA rocket! Such vast experiences gave him purpose to become a mentor and part of the Cientifico Latino team to streamline the PhD pathway for diverse generations of scientists to come.

Olivia Goldman_headshot - Olivia Goldman

Carlos Rico Ph.D.

He/Him/His

Lead Outreach & Workshop Coordinator; GSMI Data Analysis Director

GSMI, Executive Board

Department: 

Carlos graduated from Hamilton College in 2010 where he majored in chemical physics. For graduate studies, he joined the laboratory of Dr. Thomas Sakmar at the Rockefeller University as part of the tri-institutional training program in chemical biology. To support his research efforts, Carlos was awarded the NSF graduate research fellowship in 2012. He received his Ph.D. in 2017 where he employed single molecule methods to interrogate receptor-ligand binding interactions. He then joined the bio-imaging resource center at the Rockefeller University where he taught other scientists how to operate various light microscopes. He is currently a medical student at Weill Cornell Medicine.

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Daisy Duan

She/Her/Hers

STEM Education and Outreach Director; Director of Digital Education

Digital Experience, Executive Board

Department: 

Daisy Duan is a Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry graduate student at Yale University. Born and raised in Brooklyn NY, she is proud to be a first-generation Chinese-American. Having grown up in a multicultural neighborhood for 18 years and eventually moving to Baltimore for college, Daisy felt inclined to share her perspective and coming-of-age experiences with the Johns Hopkins student community. Now pursuing her Ph.D. at Yale, she hopes to promote for greater use of cultural and social wealth within student groups, and help build new cross-cultural experiences throughout graduate school.

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Gwenaëlle Thomas

She/Her/Hers

Social Media Team

Digital Experience, Executive Board

Department: 

Gwenaëlle graduated with honors from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County in 2016, earning a B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and a minor in psychology. As an alumna of the Meyerhoff Scholars Program, she has applied the Meyerhoff philosophy and mentorship models to continue increasing access to higher education and promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Currently, she is a neurobiology PhD Candidate at Duke University where she is co-advised by Dr. Kafui Dzirasa, MD, PhD and Dr. Marc Caron, PhD. Her work focuses on the intersection between pharmacology, behavior, and neurophysiology and she hopes her research wilI reform treatment for mental illnesses. As a first generation student and an Afrolatina woman, she is committed to mentoring, amplifying the voices and experiences of marginalized students in STEM, and communicating science to be accessible by all.

Olivia Goldman_headshot - Olivia Goldman

Leonor Garcia-Bayona

GSMI Strategic Relations Team Member

Strategic Relations, Executive Board, GSMI

Department: 

Leonor is a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Professor Laurie Comstock at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, working to understand the genomics and genetics of human gut bacteria from the order Bacteroidales. She grew up in Bogota, Colombia and completed her Chemical Engineering and Microbiology undergraduate studies at the University of the Andes in Colombia. Her doctoral work was performed under the supervision of Professor Michael Laub at MIT, where she acquired a strong background in bacterial genetics, physiology, genomics and interbacterial antagonism. Leonor has witnessed firsthand the social inequity and lack of opportunities that affect a large portion of the population in her home country and some demographics in the USA. She therefore feels deeply committed to facilitating the access to STEM education and scientific development in these populations, as a key factor for deeply needed social progress, and for the intrinsic value that people from these demographics bring to the science enterprise.

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Yessica Santana Agreda

She/Her/Hers

GSMI Resource Director; STEM Education & Outreach Fellow

GSMI, Digital Experience, Executive Board

Department: 

Yessica Santana Agreda is an incoming 2nd year Neuroscience PhD student at the Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) where she studies the molecular mechanisms by which neuronal differentiation occurs in the mammalian retina. A non-traditional student, she received her bachelors in Global Studies at UC Santa Barbara in 2017 where she volunteered in social neuroscience and STEM educational psychology labs. She began her switch to neuroscience by completing her first post-bacc program in Neurobiology at the University of Pittsburgh where she assisted in investigating retinal-to-cortical circuitry using viral tracers before completing her 2nd post-bacc at OHSU. As a 1st-generation graduate from a Mexican and Guatemalan family, she hopes to play an active role in communicating scientific research resources to all students, especially those from URM populations in order to help them navigate graduate education and promote diversity in science.

Olivia Goldman_headshot - Olivia Goldman

Dennisha King

She/Her/Hers

GSMI Scholar Outreach

GSMI

Department: 

Dennisha is a second year PhD student in the Neuroscience graduate program at the University of Rochester. She was previously, a neuroscience post-baccalaureate scholar at Oregon Health & Science University. She was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. Dennisha is proud to be a first-generation West Indian American college and graduate student. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Neuroscience and Public Health from Agnes Scott College in Atlanta, GA. While at Agnes Scott, Dennisha became involved in multiple student organizations focusing on mentorship and fostering support networks for underrepresented minority student interested in pursuing STEM careers. She hopes to continue to work to increase visibility for URMs in STEM through STEM community outreach initiatives as well as mentorship opportunities as a part of the Cientifico Latino team.

Olivia Goldman_headshot - Olivia Goldman

Chris Peritore-Galve, PhD

He/Him/His

Mentor Lead Contact

GSMI

Department: 

Chris is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in the Department of Pathology, Microbiology, and Immunology. He works in the lab of Dr. Borden Lacy studying interactions between toxins produced by the bacterial pathogen Clostridioides difficile and the colon. He earned his Bachelor's in Biology from the University of Missouri in 2015, and went on to earn a PhD in Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology at Cornell University, where he stoked his passion for Gram-positive bacterial pathogens. He grew up between Columbia, Missouri and Mexico City. Chris is dedicated to improving academic environments for future scientists from historically marginalized backgrounds and strives to help others achieve their academic goals through mentorship and guidance.

Olivia Goldman_headshot - Olivia Goldman

Abhishek Tyagi

GSMI Office Hours Coordinator

GSMI

Department: 

Abhishek is an incoming PhD student in the Computer Science department at the University of Rochester in Fall 2020. Born and raised in an Indian household, Abhishek is a first-generation college student. As an international first-generation student, Abhishek brings to Cientifico Latino the the desire to help future graduate students navigate hurdles in the application process to Computer Science and Engineering graduate programs. Abhishek believes that the ability to understand difficult situations and find solutions goes a long way in developing as a person. Having gone through graduate school applications twice, Abhishek is interested in understanding and dissecting problems and challenges that students face in different communities and help find better solutions and approaches to help them achieve their goals. With the diverse nature of Cientifico Latino, Abhishek is confident that the team will be able make a difference in a wide range of communities!

Olivia Goldman_headshot - Olivia Goldman

Alexis Ceja

They/Them/Theirs

Data Team Member, GSMI Webinar Team Member

Digital Experience, Strategic Relations, GSMI

Department: 

Alexis is currently a trainee in the post-baccalaureate program (PROPEL) at the University of California, San Francisco. In the Sexual and Gender Minority Health Equity Lab, they work with Dr. Annesa Flentje investigating the effects of intersectionality on sexual and gender minority (SGM) health disparities and the social-ecological environment as it relates to drug use outcome. Their goal is be admitted into a Clinical Psychology program and continue investigating SGM health disparities. They are passionate about promoting the inclusion of historically marginalized groups in research and higher education. Alexis is excited to continue their involvement in Científico Latino in the efforts to diversify STEM.

Olivia Goldman_headshot - Olivia Goldman

Alvaro Sahagun

He/Him/His

GSMI Interviewer

GSMI

Department: 

My name is Alvaro Sahagun, and I am originally from Chicago Heights, IL. I attended the University of Illinois, Chicago, where I received my B. S. in Electrical Engineering with a focus in solid-state devices, mathematics, and materials engineering. I am now a second year Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) graduate student working in Prof. Akintunde Akinwande's lab. My research interest is in field emission, field ionization, thin films, and micro/nanofabrication. Outside of lab and courses, I enjoy running, cooking, baking, and binge watching The Simpsons.

Olivia Goldman_headshot - Olivia Goldman

Amber Young

She/Her/Hers

Assistant Blog Editor

Digital Experience

Department: 

Amber is a graduate student in mechanical engineering at the University of California, Berkeley. She previously earned a Bachelor of Science in Physics from Yale University in 2021. Amber is passionate about science communication and promoting diversity in science and higher education. In the future, Amber hopes to become a research professor and contribute to sustainable space missions through bio-inspired design.

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Angélica Rosado-Quiñones

She/Her/Hers

Database Manager

Digital Experience

Department: 

I am a PhD Candidate in Biology, focusing in Infectious Diseases and Data Science at the University of Puerto Rico Rio Piedras Campus. Currently, my thesis is oriented towards discovering combinational therapy against multi-drug resistant malaria parasites. In addition, I am a Certified Data Scientist and I enjoy working with Bioinformatics.

Olivia Goldman_headshot - Olivia Goldman

Bailey Marshall, MBT

She/Her/Hers

Blog Assistant

Digital Experience

Department: 

I received my B.S. in Molecular Biology at the University of Puget Sound. After my undergrad, I worked in industry for a year before returning to graduate school to receive my Masters in Biotechnology at San Jose State, a business-focus program for scientists. In addition to this program, I was selected as a CIRM Scholar to study Stem Cell Biology at Stanford. After a few years in industry, I am now working as a Program Associate at CZI.

Olivia Goldman_headshot - Olivia Goldman

Bryan Pérez-Soto

He/Him/His

GSMI Interviewer

GSMI

Department: 

I was born and raised in Puerto Rico. While majoring in Biology at the University of Puerto Rico at Aguadilla, I found a passion for both research and teaching. My research affinity is towards the biochemical aspect of life, especially in the study of genome/proteome interactions. I am a first-year graduate student at The Ohio State University. Acting advocate for the LGBTQ+ and minority communities. Hobbies include sudokus, sarcasm, and binge-watching Netflix. I cannot wait to give back the help Cientifico Latino offered when I applied to graduate school.

Olivia Goldman_headshot - Olivia Goldman

Bryan Rubio Perez

He/Him/His, They/Them/Theirs

Community Building Manager

GSEC

Department: 

Bryan is a third year PhD student at the University of Wisconsin - Madison. His research is in the engineering of plasmonic devices for biosensing. Bryan is interested in making science education at all levels accessible to everyone regardless of race, gender, sexual preferences, or socioeconomic status. As a first generation, low-income, Mexican-American Bryan understands the challenges that historically excluded groups face when pursuing higher education. Through various organizations and independent efforts Bryan has been able to engage with students at all levels by planning seminars, professional development events, community-building events, and STEM educational outreach events for elementary school school-aged students.

Olivia Goldman_headshot - Olivia Goldman

Daniel Salas-Escabillas

They/Them/Theirs, He/Him/His

Website Manager

Digital Experience

Department: 

Daniel is a native Pacific Islander of Guam and a Cancer Biology PhD Student at UMich. He studies the role of specialized cells in the progression of Pancreatic Cancer, soon to be the second most deadly cancer as of 2025. Daniel is a PREP Alum and 1st generation College/PhD Student. Overall, he is interested in becoming a PI and having a lab where students from Guam can come and work during the summer for experience. Daniel works to improve Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion through a number of initiatives at UMich, his undergrad alma mater as well as national programs. With CL, he hopes to provide underrepresented minorities the resources and opportunities needed to succeed in their chosen fields.

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Daniela Barraza

She/Her/Hers

Social Media team

Digital Experience

Department: 

Daniela is a first-gen Mexican-American scholar from Sunland Park, NM. She attended New Mexico State University for her undergraduate studies, where she obtained a degree in Biochemistry and participated in the MARC NIH program. Daniela is currently a PhD candidate in Biological Sciences at Harvard Medical School, studying the role of intestinal enteroendocrine cells in the host response to enteric bacterial infection. She is currently part of the CL social media team and has previously served as a mentor for our CL Graduate School Mentorship Initiative (GSMI) program. Outside of lab, Daniela enjoys playing soccer, cooking and spending time with family and friends.

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Daniela Cossio

She/Her/Hers

Small Mentorship Group Manager

GSEC

Department: 

I am proud to be first-gen, mexican-american neuroscientist. I received my B.A. in neuroscience from Skidmore College in 2018. I then worked as a research assistant at the Medical University of South Carolina. I've recently finished my first year as a neuroscience PhD student at UC Irvine and I am broadly interested in learning and memory. I am deeply passionate about STEM outreach, increasing diversity in science, and empowering future scientists.

Olivia Goldman_headshot - Olivia Goldman

Gabriela Gonzalez Vasquez

She/Her/Hers

Matching Team Member

GSMI

Department: 

Gabriela is currently a senior majoring in Biology at Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia in Peru. She's an incoming Biochemistry Ph.D. student at Vanderbilt University, where she was awarded the Russell G. Hamilton Fellowship. Previously, she worked as a research assistant at the Guengerich Lab at Vanderbilt, where she discovered her passion for the DNA damage and repair research field. During this time, as an international, she noticed how different was researching in the US and highlighted her desired to help students with similar backgrounds. Since then, she has volunteered in multiple science programs to aspire and help Peruvian girls and undergrads. In 2020 she was part of the GSMI cohort, and this experience motivated her to become a member of the Cientifico Latino team. Gabriela hopes to become a role model for Latin American students and underrepresented minorities, help them achieve their career goals, and promote diversity in STEM.

Olivia Goldman_headshot - Olivia Goldman

Grecia Odalis Rivera Palomino

She/Her/Hers

Social Media Team

Digital Experience

Department: 

My name is Grecia Rivera and I am from Peru. I am the first generation-student in my family, who was awarded for the Sweden government with a scholarship to attend college. I studied in Zamorano University (Honduras), earning a B.S. in Food Science and Technology (2015). While I was an undergraduate student, I worked at University of Arkansas as an intern. There, I found public health a remarkably wide interesting topic to approach. Currently, I work as a research scientist at Duke University in the Biomedical Engineering Department. My research is very wide and mainly related to Covid-19, droplet organoids generation, human microbiome, and stem cells. Experiencing firsthand that tools and information are often a lack, I joined Cientifco Latino to spread both between underrepresented minorities. Outside the lab, I like dancing, running, playing Switch, hanging out with friends, and hiking.

Olivia Goldman_headshot - Olivia Goldman

Hannah Young

They/Them/Theirs

Social Media Team

Digital Experience

Department: 

Hannah is a molecular biology PhD student at the University of Utah studying the roles of RNA editing enzymes and RNA sensors in antiviral immunity and autoimmunity. They received their Bachelor of Science degree from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona in Microbiology. Hannah is passionate about helping students from marginalized backgrounds, especially those with intersecting marginalized identities navigate academia and be successful in graduate school. They are also dedicated to mentoring undergraduate students and advocating for the LGBTQIA+ community in academia. Hannah was a GSMI scholar in 2019 and a GSMI mentor in 2020. Their experience with the GSMI opened up opportunities to join the Social Media Team.

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Irina Miralda Molina, PhD

She/Her/Hers

Mentor Screener

GSMI

Department: 

Originally from Honduras, I earned my PhD in Microbiology and Immunology from the University of Louisville in April 2020. Now, I am a part of Seattle Children's Research Institute as a Postdoctoral Fellow and ready to use my platform to mentor and encourage others to pursue a career in STEM. My research passions lie in studying host-pathogen interactions in the context of innate immunity, specifically from the point of view of neutrophils and mast cells. In my spare time, I enjoy baking and spending time with my Australian shepherd Tula and my collection of 100+ plants and succulents.

Olivia Goldman_headshot - Olivia Goldman

Jesus D. Cabrera Rivera

He/Him/His

Recruitment Team

GSMI

Department: 

My name is Jesus, an undergraduate student at the City College of New York pursuing a B.S. in Geology. I hope to address environmental issues in my community and pursue graduate school in the same field. Being formerly undocumented has brought me to work closely with my community and provide resources to them. Currently, I'm the Vice President of the CCNY Dream Team Club - a student club for undocumented students and allies. Also, I'm an Assistant for the Educational Opportunities Initiative, giving one-on-one consultations to improve the educational attainment for the immigrant community. And a volunteer for the Bronx River Alliance in their water quality and air quality stewardship programs. With my experiences navigating academia, I hope to continue bridging the educational gap in my community by volunteering with Cientifico Latino.

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José Fabricio López Hernández

He/Him/His

Moderator/Host, Mock Interview Developer, Assistant Editors

GSMI, Digital Experience

Department: 

My name is José Fabricio López Hernández AKA Fibo. I studied the undergraduate program in Genomic Sciences in Mexico at UNAM and a Master's in Biology at Cinvestav-IPN. Currently, I am a Ph.D. candidate in Zanders Lab at the Stowers Institute for Medical Research. I am interested in how evolution shapes genetics. I study how selfish genetic elements, that act in meiosis, spread in populations.

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Juan Martín Barajas PhD

He/Him/His

Academic Representative

Strategic Relations, GSMI

Department: 

I was born in the state of Jalisco, Mexico. My family family immigrated to the United States when he was just a few years old and settled in Colorado. I completed my Bachelor's degree in Biology from Colorado Mesa University and PhD at The Ohio State University College of Medicine. I am currently a postdoctoral fellow at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital where I study the role of genetic variants on stem cell fitness.

Olivia Goldman_headshot - Olivia Goldman

Juliana Laverde-Paz

She/Her/Hers

Mentor Screening

GSMI

Department: 

Hello, I was born and raised in Bogota, Colombia - a place I keep near and dear to my heart despite living in Miami, Florida. I have had a long journey to becoming a PhD student at the University of Miami. I earned my bachelor's and my master's in Colombia and came to the United States in 2016.The last 3 years I was able to work as a Research Associate at the University of Miami, opening the door for me to begin my studies towards earning a PhD. I am excited to step into a role where I hope I can help other aspiring scientists connect with their passion, or find it all together.

Olivia Goldman_headshot - Olivia Goldman

Jyoti Sharma

She/Her/Hers

GSMI interviewers, GSMI webinar moderator

GSMI, Digital Experience

Department: 

Jyoti Sharma is currently pursuing master’s studies in Biochemistry at the University of Montreal with Dr. Nicole Francis as her thesis supervisor. She is a zoology graduate from the University of Delhi (2017). She held research fellowships at Institut de Génétique Moléculaire de Montpellier (IGMM) – CNRS, National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), and Raman Research Institute (RRI).
As a team member, last year she handled the GSMI communications and shared resources on “Applying to Master’s Program in Europe” as a blog piece. This year she is excited to interact with the scholar’s aka protégés as a GSMI interviewer and share more of what she learned through webinars and infographics.
She is a proud first-generation student. In her spare time, she likes to watch planet documentaries and unravel trivia. She enjoys birding and currently learning the French language. She dreams to get lost in Andamans.

Olivia Goldman_headshot - Olivia Goldman

Kimberly Leon

She/Her/Hers

Data Manager

GSEC

Department: 

Hello, my name is Kimberly Leon. I am a PhD student in the Cognition and Neural Systems Psychology PhD Program at the University of Arizona. I earned my bachelor's degree in Psychological science at the University of Arizona. My research interest is bilingual language development. I aspire to bring to light the strengths of bilingual children and provide guidance on how to best aid the development of bilingual children. Ultimately, I hope to utilize my research to directly aid and serve bilingual communities.

Olivia Goldman_headshot - Olivia Goldman

Kirill Chesnov

Webinar Speaker

Digital Experience

Department: 

Kirill is a neurobiology graduate student working to develop new ways of interfacing with the brain at Duke University. He received his double BA in Neurobiology and in Computer Science from UC Berkeley. Himself being a first generation immigrant, Kirill seeks to help those struggling to navigate in American academic system, holding a firm belief that STEM education and careers should be accessible to everyone equally, despite their origins, immigration status, or financial situation.

Olivia Goldman_headshot - Olivia Goldman

Lear Brace, PhD

She/Her/Hers

Alumni Relations Manager

GSEC

Department: 

Lear is the Alumni Relations Manager for GSEC. SHe is also a Senior Scientist at OneSkin in San Francisco and has spent the past ten years researching the Biology of Aging. Lear grew up on the East Coast and trained at New England BioLabs and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute before joining the late James Mitchell's lab as a PhD student at Harvard University. Family and the realization that you CAN run away from snow brought her to California and a PostDoc at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging in Brian Kennedy's lab. Mentorship and teaching have always been extremely important, and she was thrilled to find opportunities with Cientifico Latino. Soon, in addition to working at a biotech company, Lear will also teach General Chemistry at a local community college in Oakland CA.

Olivia Goldman_headshot - Olivia Goldman

Linda R. Lara-Jacobo

GSMI Office Hours Coordinator

GSMI

Department: 

Linda is a doctoral candidate in toxicology from the Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS) in Quebec City, Canada. She was previously a professor at the Autonomous University of Baja California (UABC) in charge of the toxicology area and field experience at locations in the Lacandon Rain Forest, Cloud Forests, Boreal Forests, among others. She is also involved with community work in indigenous communities. Linda is passionate about mentoring and promoting diversity in STEM.

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Twitter: @PhDeez

Marguerite Matthews, PhD

She/Her/Hers

Scholar Pod Director

GSMI

Department: 

Marguerite is a neuroscientist by training and civil servant by profession. She currently serves as a Scientific Program Manager who helps manage federally-funded programs and initiatives that enhance the diversity in the biomedical research workforce. She has a PhD in neuroscience from the University of Pittsburgh and a BS in biochemistry from Spelman College.

Olivia Goldman_headshot - Olivia Goldman

Twitter: @mm5200

Maria Maldonado, PhD

She/Her/Hers

Non-Academic Liaison

Strategic Relations

Department: 

Originally from Argentina, Maria moved abroad, first to England and then to the US, for her undergraduate and graduate studies in biochemistry and molecular cell biology. She is currently a postdoc studying plant respiration using biochemical and structural biology approaches. Between her PhD and postdoc, Maria spent several years working in the consulting and financial industries in the US and Europe focusing on the pharma and biotech sectors.

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Melissa Ramirez, PhD

She/Her/Hers

GSMI Community Engagement Coordinator

GSMI

Department: 

Melissa is a computational and synthetic organic chemist. She was born in Los Angeles, CA and raised in Pasadena, CA as part of a Mexican American family. She is a first-generation college student and obtained her BA in chemistry at the University of Pennsylvania in 2016. Thereafter, Melissa attended the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) where she received a PhD in chemistry in 2021. Melissa served as Community Engagement Coordinator for UCLA's Organization for Cultural Diversity in Science and is enthusiastic about continuing to contribute to diversity initiatives in the STEM fields. She was motivated to join the Cientifico Latino team, which she will contribute to while also serving as a postdoctoral fellow at the California Institute of Technology starting the summer of 2021.

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Mindy Le

She/Her/Hers

Blog Editor in Chief

Digital Experience

Department: 

Mindy graduated from Yale University, earning a B.S. in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology. She currently attends the University of Florida College of Medicine. Mindy is passionate about improving access to educational resources in the sciences. Her parents immigrated from Vietnam to the U.S., where she was born and raised in Titusville, FL.

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Nicholas Alexander Cerda

He/Him/His

GSMI Strategic Relations Team Member

GSMI, Strategic Relations

Department: 

Nicholas is a Gene Therapy and Vaccines PhD student at the University of Pennsylvania developing therapeutic mRNAs for use in lipid nanoparticles in the laboratory of Dr. Drew Weissman. He is Mexican American and was born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley. He got his start in research in the High Scholars Program at the University of Texas Pan American before starting undergrad at the University of Texas at Austin. He earned a bachelor's degree in biology with a concentration in microbiology. Since his start at the University of Texas, he has been avid about helping underrepresented minorities excel in STEM and has been involved in multiple outreach initiatives. He plans to continue these efforts during his graduate studies to continue to foster a welcoming and supportive environment for URM.

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Paola Figueroa-Delgado

Webinar Speaker

Digital Experience

Department: 

Paola is a PhD student in the Department of Cell Biology at Yale University, where she currently studies the neuronal cytoskeleton. She was born and raised in Puerto Rico where she received her Bachelors of Science at the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus. During her time as an undergraduate student, she was a NIH BP-ENDURE Fellow and founded the National Neuroscience Student Association. She is a passionate and driven advocate for underrepresented and marginalized individuals in STEM and has continuously mentored and supported them throughout her career. She began mentoring pre-college URM students in the Arecibo Observatory Space Academy program, while as an undergraduate, as a Universities Space Research Association Fellow. Furthermore, she was the Education and Outreach Chair for the International Space Development Conference from 2014 to 2016 and was the organizer of TEDxUPR, among other conferences. She is passionate about making STEM accessible and creating an environment that is diverse, equitable and inclusive to all individuals, specifically those who are historically marginalized. At Yale, she serves as the Yale Biology and Biomedical Sciences Diversity and Inclusion Collective Outreach Branch Leader, Cell Biology Department Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee PhD Student Representative, Women in Science at Yale Board Member, among others.

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Samantha De León Sautu, MD

She/Her/Hers

Editor Assistant

Digital Experience

Department: 

Sam is an argentinian-born, panamanian-raised medical doctor and writer, currently pursuing a Human Development, PhD in Cornell University.

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Valeria Montserrat Juárez

She/Her/Hers

Marketing Officer

GSEC

Department: 

Valeria is 2nd year PhD student in the joint Emory University and Georgia Institute of Technology Biomedical Engineering program. She is Mexican-American, and was born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas. Valeria's research focuses on modelling gut microbiome - lymphoid cell interactions using biomaterials, organoids and microfluidics. In 2020, she was recognized as a National GEM Consortium Associate Fellow. Valeria also graduated with highest honors from the UTSA in 2020, earning her Bachelors of Science in Biomedical Engineering. While at UTSA, she was an NIH MARC U*STAR fellow and a College of Engineering Haliburton Ambassador. Valeria continues to be passionate about mentorship, educational outreach and supporting underrepresented and marginalized students in STEM. She aims to inspire, motivate, and train the next generation of successful scientists and engineers and make academia more diverse, equitable and inclusive for all.

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Vianna Martinez

She/Her/Hers

Data Team

Strategic Relations, GSMI

Department: 

Hello everyone! I was born and raised in the Central Valley of California and graduated with my B.S. in Biology from the University of California, Merced. After a year working in Public Health, I will be an incoming Pathology PhD student at Duke University. As a queer Latina, I have become very passionate about promoting diversity and establishing a welcoming community in STEM.

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Wendy C. Aquino Nunez, M.S.

She/Her/Hers

Recruitment Lead

GSEC

Department: 

Wendy is a Cell, Molecular, and Developmental Biology Ph.D. candidate at the University of Kansas studying tau aggregation in-vivo using C. elegans. Born in The Dominican Republic, Wendy moved to Puerto Rico as a teen where she attended high school and later pursued a bachelor's degree in Molecular Biology at the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus. After undergrad, Wendy moved to Georgia where she participated in the NIH Bridges to Doctorate Program at Kennesaw State University and completed a master's degree in Integrative Biology. At the start of her Ph.D., Wendy was awarded the University Fellowship and later became an NIH T32- Dynamics Aspects of Chemical Biology grant, fellow. Throughout her career, Wendy has remained passionate about science and creating an inclusive environment for minorities.

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Yanitza Rodriguez, PhD

She/Her/Hers

GradSchool 101 Workshops Coordinator

GSEC

Department: 

I am interested in studying the molecular interactions of biomolecules that constitute a wide range of cellular and functional processes to develop therapeutic agents for various diseases. Apart from my commitment to Science, I am also committed to our community of diverse intellectual students where my goal is to help others achieve their dreams.

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Giovanna Guerrero-Medina, PhD

Advisor, Executive Director of CienciaPR

Faculty Advisor

Department: 

Español: La Dra. Giovanna Guerrero-Medina es Directora Ejecutiva de Ciencia Puerto Rico (CienciaPR) y Directora de la Iniciativa Yale Ciencia, en Yale University. A través de estos puestos, la Dra. Guerrero-Medina desarrolla y estudia programas que amplían la participación en la educación y las carreras STEM. Bajo su liderazgo, CienciaPR se ha convertido en una de las comunidades de científicos hispanos más grandes del mundo, ha obtenido fondos federales y de fundaciones para apoyar la diversidad en la educación científica y el desarrollo profesional de científicos, y en 2015 recibió el reconocimiento como “Estrella” en la educación científica de hispanos por parte de la Casa Blanca. La Dra. Guerrero-Medina es investigadora principal de la Academia Yale Ciencia, con fondos del NIH, la cual provee oportunidades de desarrollo profesional, divulgación científica y creación de redes a estudiantes graduados a través de los EEUU y Puerto Rico. También dirige el programa Ciencia al Servicio, con fondos del NSF, para promover colaboraciones entre científicos y maestros en el desarrollo de lecciones de ciencia más pertinentes y efectivas. La Dra. Guerrero-Medina ha trabajado como Directora de Política Científica en el Instituto de Investigación Van Andel, como Analista de Políticas de Ciencias de la Salud en los Institutos Nacionales de la Salud, y fue becaria del programa Christine Mirzayan de Política Pública en Ciencia y Tecnología. Tiene un doctorado en biología molecular y celular de la Universidad de California, Berkeley, donde tuvo una beca pre-doctoral Howard Hughes para estudiar el desarrollo de conexiones neuronales a través de sensores de actividad sináptica genéticamente codificados. Obtuvo su B.S. en biología de la Universidad de Puerto Rico, Río Piedras.

English: Dr. Giovanna Guerrero-Medina is Executive Director of Ciencia Puerto Rico (CienciaPR) and Director of the Yale Ciencia Initiative at Yale University, positions that allow her to advance programs that broaden participation in science education and careers. Under her leadership, CienciaPR has become one of the largest networked communities of Hispanic scientists in the world, has secured federal and foundation funding to support diversity in science education and career development, and has received recognition as a “Bright Spot” in science education for Hispanics by the Obama White House and as Science Defender by the Union of Concerned Scientists. Dr. Guerrero-Medina currently leads the NIH-funded Yale Ciencia Academy, which provides young scientists from diverse backgrounds opportunities for professional development, leadership, and community outreach. She also directs the NSF-funded Ciencia al Servicio program, to promote collaborations between scientists and teachers so that students in Puerto Rico have access to culturally-relevant, engaging and effective science lessons. Dr. Guerrero-Medina’s career spans positions in government, non-profit, and academic settings. She has a B.S. in Biology from the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras, received a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from the University of California, Berkeley and was a National Academy of Science and Technology Policy Fellow.

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Enrique M. De La Cruz, PhD

Faculty Advisor, Yale University

Faculty Advisor

Department: 

Dr. De La Cruz is a Professor in the Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry (MB&B) and Head of Branford College at Yale University. He is a first generation Cuban-American who was raised in Newark, NJ. Dr. De La Cruz received his undergraduate degree in Biology from Rutgers University where he was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa and Beta Beta Beta Honor Societies. He earned his Ph.D. degree in Biochemistry, Cell & Molecular Biology (BCMB) with Dr. Thomas D. Pollard at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and received postdoctoral training in the laboratories of Drs. H. Lee Sweeney and E. Michael Ostap at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. He was a Visiting Scientist at Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Commissariat à l'Énergie Atomique (CEA) & Université Joseph Fourier in Grenoble, France in 2009, a Mayent-Rothschild Senior Researcher Fellow at the Institut Curie, Paris in 2015, and an Invited Professor Fellow at ESPCI Paris Tech (école supérieure de physique et de chimie industrielles de la ville de Paris), Paris in 2016. Dr. De La Cruz research focuses in the areas of actin and myosin regulation, RNA helicases, and signaling enzymes.

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Sua Myong, PhD

Faculty Advisor, Johns Hopkins University

Faculty Advisor

Department: 

Dr. Sua Myong is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biophysics and an affiliate of CMDB (Cellular Molecular Developmental Biology and Biophysics) graduate program at Johns Hopkins University. She is a first generation Korean-American who came to the US as a Sophomore High School student. Dr. Myong received both her undergraduate and doctorate degree at University of California, Berkeley (Molecular Cellular Biology, Biochemistry/Nutrition). Her research interest in the field of Single Molecule Biophysics developed in her postdoctorate years in the laboratory of Dr. Taekjip Ha at the University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign. The current research area in the Myong laboratory include investigating molecular interactions involved in telomere processing, gene expression mediated by G-quadruplex and phase separation implicated in neurodegeneration (ALS/FTD). Dr. Myong led a three year long (2012-2015) STEM outreach in Jefferson Middle School (Champaign, IL) in the form of weekly afterschool science club for teaching 7&8th graders experimental science and quantitative data analysis. The outreach effort involved approximately 50 undergraduate students in Bioengineering program at University of Illinois who prepared lesson plans with Dr. Myong and teaching the middle schoolers in a group of 2-3 students per week. Dr. Myong is passionate about STEM outreach and is privileged to be a part of the Cientifico Latino!

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Alan S. Goldman, PhD

Faculty Advisor, Rutgers University

Faculty Advisor

Department: 

Alan Goldman was born and raised in Queens, NY. He received his B.A. and Ph.D. from Columbia University, studying the mechanisms of photoinduced organometallic reactions. He then took an IBM Post-doctoral Fellowship in the lab of Prof. Jack Halpern at the University of Chicago. Goldman began his independent career as an assistant professor at Rutgers University where he is currently Distinguished Professor of Chemistry. His research focuses on the development and mechanistic study of reactions catalyzed by transition metal complexes, with a focus on energy-related problems. He is faculty advisor for LEEDAR, an outreach program through which Rutgers graduate and undergraduate students try to bring the excitement of scientific research to high school classrooms, and is Director of the Graduate Program and Chair of the Graduate Admissions Committee of the Rutgers Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology. Goldman has received an Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship, a Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Fellowship, the ACS Catalysis Lectureship Award for the Advancement of Catalytic Science, and the American Chemical Society Award in Organometallic Chemistry. He is delighted to be part of Cientifico Latino!

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Cristina Sotomayor

Volunteer

Team Alumni

Department: 

Cristina is currently a sophomore majoring in Mathematics at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, where she is involved in undergraduate research in computational genomics and in mathematical biology. She is passionate about pushing boundaries between disciplines to further scientific research, and hopes to promote diversity in science by sharing resources for Latin American students and underrepresented minorities, especially at the undergraduate level.

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Diego Alvarado Mateo

Assistant Editor at York College, City University of New York

Team Alumni

Department: 

Diego is a biologist at York College, City University of New York, and a Spanish speaker from the island of Puerto Rico. Previously, a 2016 CUNY Summer Research Program (CSURP) fellow and a 2017 Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP) scholar, where he conducted research in a Behavioral and Molecular Neuroscience at Hunter College. He always felt that exploring and learning go hand in hand. Therefore, he is enthusiastic about being able to help others learn or understand and increase their knowledge of a subject and the STEM community.

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Gabriela Bosque Ortiz

co-Director of STEM Initiatives

Team Alumni

Department: 

Gabriela is currently a Ph.D. student in the Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program at Yale University. She was born and raised in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico. Previously, she received a Bachelor of Arts in Biological Sciences at Cornell University.

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Jazmin Emilia Aguilar-Romero

Volunteer

Team Alumni

Department: 

Jazmin is currently a second-year PhD student in chemistry at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign conducting research on acid-degradable, acid-amplifying polymers for biological applications. She is Chicana/Mexican-American, was born and raised in Los Angeles, and moved away from the warm West Coast to do her B.A. in Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Cornell University. While at Cornell, Jazmin became involved in student organizations aiming to build a support network for underrepresented minorities in STEM where she discovered a passion for mentoring and teaching other students. She has continued building on this through mentoring undergraduate students in research, organizing workshops in her SACNAS chapter, and joining the Cientifico Latino team.

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Marisa Rubio, PhD

STEM Communications Director

Team Alumni

Department: 

Marisa is passionate about addressing the disconnect between basic science and society through more effective communication and by making careers in science available to everyone. She earned her B.S in Chemistry from Marshall University and Ph.D. in Molecular Biophysics & Biochemistry from Yale University. After postdoctoral training at the National Institutes of Health, Marisa returned to Yale and is currently a science writer in the Office of Development. She is a first generation Cuban-American and grew up in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley of West Virginia.