Professional Title: Founder and President-Research Professor and Mentor
Current Career Sector/Type: Professional Nonprofit
Running For: Board Member
Institution: Scientific Caribbean Foundation
SACNAS CONECTION. My contact with SACNAS started after a member of the Model Institutions for Excellence (MIE) Board, Dr. Carlos Castillo Chavez talked to me about the SACNAS Annual Meetings. In the year 1999, we started sending students from UMET to the SACNAS Annual Meetings. Over 100 MIE scholars participated in the research presentations. We got best poster presentations for a good number of students like: Luisa Zambrano, Astronomy-Physics, Albuquerque, New Mexico (2003); Karla Hernandez, Chemistry, Yanine Rosario, Computer Science, Iris Olmeda, Cellular Molecular Biology, and Luisa Zambrano, Applied Physics, Austin, Texas (2004); Carlos Diaz, Chemistry, and Mathematics, Denver, Colorado (2005); Jose Alejandro Vega, Biological Sciences, and Dalvin Mendez, Chemistry, Tampa, Florida (2006); Cristina Tatis, Immunology, Kansas City, Kansas (2007); Jesselyn Calderon, Environmental Sciences, and Paul Nieves, Chemistry, Salt Lake City (2008); Emanuel Hernandez, Engineering, Dallas Texas (2009); Iva Moreno, Environmental Sciences, Anaheim, California (2010); Ramon Cardona and Joaquin Pockels, Computer Science, Dayanara Lebron, Applied Mathematics, Gabriel Porrata, Chemistry, and Jean Carlos Rivera, Engineering, San Jose, California (2011). The SACNAS Annual Meetings were a great contribution to the MIE Scholars, there, they found connection to graduate school, mentors willing to help them in the application process and in general peers from different universities across the US mainland. With the motivation of the MIE Scholars we founded the SUAGM-SACNAS Chapter to motivate other Puerto Rican students to participate in research oriented activities within the SACNAS community. Personally, the SACNAS Annual Meetings help me to connect with the Native American community and advice African American students from Bowie State University, Spelman and Xevier University of Louisiana to present their research projects at the SACNAS Annual Conferences.
A large network of research institutions and mentors in Puerto Rico, US mainland and abroad was created during the past 20 years under my tenure of Principal Investigator of NSF grants to serve the MIE scholars and students from Puerto Rico. A summary of the network follows: MIT, UC-Berkeley, Carnegie Mellon University, Stanford, Columbia University, Arecibo Observatory, University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez, UTEP, ASU, UC-Santa Barbara, UC-Irvine, University of New Mexico, Las Cruces, University of Vermont, Princeton, University of Alabama, Jackson State University, Washington University, St. Louis, University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign, Ohio State University, Mayo Clinic,, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, North Carolina State University, Sandia National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Argonne National Laboratory, INSA France, CSIC Spain, Universidad de Granada, University of Vigo, Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, Universidad de Santiago de Compostela, Moscow State University, Delft University of Technology, Groningen University, Technical University of Berlin, University of Heidelberg, University of Belgrade, Serbia, University of Tokyo, University of Queensland, Beijing Normal University, Tsinghua University, Qiannan Normal University for Nationalities, Chang’an University, China, Singapore University, Taiwan Normal University, University of Ottawa, UMAM, University of Costa Rica, Universidad de Sao Carlos, Brazil, Universidad Industrial de Santander, Universidad San Antonio Abad Cuzco, Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Peru, UNICA, Universidad de Santiago de Chile, Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile, Universidad de Chile, Universidad Austral de Chile, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Universidad de la Plata, Universidad de Belgrano, Argentina, University of the Virgin Islands, Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Santo Domingo, Cape Town University, South Africa, among others. This extensive network of research institutions and mentors is available for our students from Puerto Rico. As a Fulbright Alumni, many of the international mentors are Fulbright Scholars who visited Puerto Rico, when they were at US research institutions. Additionally, as a Life Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE). I was the Chair of the Western Puerto Rico Section (1991-1992) and Chair of the IEEE Caribbean Council (1993). My focus at IEEE was to serve the membership specially students and young professionals of Puerto Rico and the Caribbean. Since 2016, I am an Advisory Board member of the NIH proposal “Innovative Programs to Enhance Research Training (UPR- IPERT) at University of Puerto Rico, and since 2018, I am a member of the Advisory Board of the NSF proposal “Florida-Caribbean Louis Stokes Regional Center for Excellence” of the Consortium between University of the Virgin Islands and Santa Fe College, Florida.
The experience of being successful in getting NSF funding to a Minority Serving Institution in the amount of over 85 million over the last 20 years give me the opportunity to help SACNAS in their fundraising effort to continue serving thousands of students across the nation. Following is the list of all grants: (1) Model Institutions for Excellence, NSF grants for $24.5 million dollars for ten years (1998-2008); (2) NSF-AGMUS Institute of Mathematics, NSF grant for $2.1 million dollars (2008-2013); (3) Caribbean Computing Center for Excellence (CCCE), NSF grant for $2.3 million dollars (2009-2012); (4) MRI-Advanced Modular Incoherent Scatter Radar (AMISR), NSF grant for $2.3 million dollars (2010-2013); (5) Administration of Arecibo Observatory, NSF grant for $52 million dollars (2011-2018); (6) Spanish Research Council (CSIC), grant for 85,000 Euros for research experiences for undergraduates and graduates students from Puerto Rico, (2006-2013); (7) Supplemental grants from NSF Division for $55,000 for an outreach program in Atmospheric Sciences, a planning visit to China and Japan and an REU site in Astronomical Sciences in Chile (2002-2003); (8) supplemental grants from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) for $1.15 million for four years (2001-2004), (9) Institute of International Education, Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence Program, grant for $120,000 to support one Brazilian scholar at UMET for one year (2004-2005). (10) A Dwight D. Eisenhower Mathematics and Science Education, a grant for $30,000 for a summer institute for teacher training in mathematics and computer science during the summer of 1993; (11) Miscellaneous grants from Universidad Técnica del Estado and CORFO-Chile for $10,000 for planning, modeling and simulation of industrial dynamic systems during 1975-1977.
The main reason that move me to apply for the SACNAS Board of Director is to serving people, specially, economically disadvantage students and members of SACNAS community. I have the experience needed to mentor students. I started teaching engineering in the year 1973 at Universidad Tecnica del Estado, Valdivia, Chile. I was awarded the 2006 US Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring at the White House by President George Bush. During my tenure at a Minority Serving Institution, during the last 20 years I was able to mentor over 4,000 pre-college students with the Saturday Research Academy Program (early research in STEM-C fields), and over 700 undergraduates with REUs in Puerto Rico, US mainland research institutions and abroad, more than 300 got BS in Puerto Rico and over 135 were transferred to graduate programs, 70 got MS and 65 got doctoral degrees in STEM-C at major research institutions. I am a Fulbright Alumni with a network of scientists and good people around the world ready to help the SACNAS community. I am blessed to had the opportunity to be funded by the NSF with over 85 million to support economically disadvantage student development. This potential is here to help SACNAS to achieve higher goals for Native Americans, Hispanic Americans and African Americans, as well as people of any background of the United States of America.
The core responsibility of a SACNAS Board Member is to serve, support, guide and mentor members of his/her community. The experience of producing a successful best practice for economically disadvantage students from a Minority Serving Institution is giving me the opportunity to disseminate this practice among SACNAS’ stakeholders. Early research experiences among pre-college students is producing competitive and innovating research outcomes. We need a national forum for this segment of researchers and the SACNAS Annual Meeting will be an ideal place for them to present their research projects. I offer my services to implement this project as a Board Member.