About Científico Latino
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, 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.
Científico Latino Team
Robert W. Fernandez (Founder and co-Director of STEM Initiatives)
Rob is working on his Ph.D. in Molecular Biophysics & Biochemistry at Yale University, and 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, due to the support of his family and STEM mentors at York college, this motivated him to pursue higher education in STEM despite obstacles and he became the first scientist in his family. He previously worked on studying the social behavior of fruit flies and is currently mapping every neurotransmitter receptor in the nervous system of the nematode C.elegans.
While pursuing his Ph.D. at Yale, he prioritized mentoring undergraduates in the research lab and at Yale to teach them to be independent researchers and to help their professional development by providing access to STEM opportunities; he worked as the STARS II coordinator, where he mentored 24 STARS II students from underrepresented background and defines this experience as the best part of his doctoral studies. He aims to change the STEM narrative by making STEM accessible to everyone and help underrepresented students succeed in STEM.
Olivia Goldman (co-Founder and co-Director of STEM Initiatives)
Olivia is a neuroscientist and graduate student studying chemosensory perception in mosquitoes at Rockefeller University. She is a co-founder and chief creative officer of the immersive media company NeuroStorm Studios. 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. She is passionate about making science accessible to anyone who is curious.
Gabriela Bosque Ortiz (co-Director of STEM Initiatives)
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.
Daisy Duan (STEM Education and Outreach Director)
Daisy Duan is a BQBS first-year 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. 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.
Mindy Le (Blog Editor in Chief)
Mindy is a recent graduate of Yale University, earning a B.S. in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology. She currently works as a research assistant in the Yale Department of Immunobiology, studying B cell development in Dr. Eric Meffre’s lab. Mindy is passionate about increasing scientific literacy in society and is motivated to improve communication in science. After her parents emigrated to the U.S. from Vietnam, Mindy was born and raised in Titusville, FL.
Carlos Rico (Lead Outreach and Workshop Coordinator)
Carlos Rico grew up in Leon, Mexico where he nurtured his scientific curiosity by playing with his toy microscope and chemistry set. In 2006, he enrolled in Hamilton College where he majored in chemical physics with a minor in biology. Looking to apply his chemistry knowledge to solve biomedical problems, he pursued doctoral studies in the Tri-Institutional training program in chemical biology in NYC. Carlos joined the laboratory of Dr. Thomas Sakmar at the Rockefeller University where he developed new biophysical tools to probe G-protein coupled receptor ligand-binding interactions at the single-molecule scale. To support his research efforts, Carlos was awarded the NSF graduate research fellowship in 2012. During this time, Carlos enjoyed teaching and mentoring that after graduation he joined the imaging core facility at Rockefeller. Seeking to expand his mentoring role outside the university, Carlos joined Cientifico Latino where he hopes to inspire, motivate, and help young underrepresented STEM students pursue a scientific career and become successful scientists and engineers.
Born in San Juan, Sebastian has lived most of his life in the island of Puerto Rico. He majored in Industrial Microbiology at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez Campus where he became a part of the local MARC program (Maximizing Access to Research Careers). Through a series of summer internships, as well as undergraduate research, Sebastian gained significant research experience in host-pathogen interactions, which motivated him to pursue a PhD in Immunology. As a current PhD student at Yale University, Sebastian currently works studying immune responses in the brain and how those responses may promote pathology under certain conditions. As a Puerto Rican and a MARC fellow, Sebastian feels a deep commitment to helping students from underrepresented groups apply to, navigate and perservere in grad school. As part of the Científico Latino team, Sebastian works closely with the Graduate School Preparation Initiative.
Juan Barajas, Ph.D.
Juan is currently a postdoctoral fellow studying defects in blood formation at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Juan was born in La Barca, Mexico, but moved shortly after to a small agriculture and farming community in Eckert, Colorado. Juan is proud to be a first-generation Mexican-American college student and the first scientist in his family. He received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology from Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction, Colorado and went on to pursue his Ph.D. at The Ohio State University College of Medicine. While pursuing his Ph.D., Juan was awarded the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Gilliam Fellowship for Advanced Study in 2017. Juan is passionate about increasing access to STEM education to all, but especially in rural agricultural communities. He is excited to be a part of the Científico Latino volunteer team!
BOARD OF ADVISORS
Enrique M. De La Cruz, Ph.D (Faculty Advisor, Yale University)
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.
Sua Myong, Ph.D (Faculty Advisor, Johns Hopkins University)
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!
Alan S. Goldman, Ph. D. (Faculty Advisor, Rutgers University)
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 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 Científico Latino!
Marisa Rubio (STEM Communications Director)
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.
Diego Alvarado Mateo (Assistant Editor at York College, City University of New York)
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.