We are all diverse – my philosophy

My education journey is the inspiration of how I want to contribute as a Faculty member. I was educated in very different cultures, geographies, languages, and scientific systems: Argentina, Germany, and USA. I further had the privilege to participate in specific international courses in Brazil (cell biology), Italy (RNA), and Switzerland (microscopy) where I learned scientific topics but similarly important, I interacted with scientists from very different backgrounds, understanding each other always in English but also trying to understand our maternal languages and cultures. During this educational journey, I learned that everything can be different to what I can see and think. I realized that the perspectives from others always expand mine. I experienced that flexibility opens us doors and collegiality gives us opportunities. I confirmed that respect is the best thing we can offer to others and also receive from them.

This educational path influenced my way of thinking, my goals as a Faculty member and educator, and my understanding of diversity. I am convinced that diverse colors, sounds, cultures, languages create the best environment for education.

We are all diverse. I believe that the only way to promote diversity is by creating the consciousness that each of us is unique and valuable. This is my philosophy in the lab (and in my life).

Diversity and minorities need to be actively supported. I am part of this group myself as a PI originally from Argentina and as a woman. I work very seriously to show in my own career that we can have a career in academia, be solid faculty members, and excel as mentors. I try to perform my work with the goal of progressing in my position thus other minority and diversity members can feel they can also be part. I would like to be a good example to them.

In my lab, I have trained and am currently training several young scientists who are part of the underrepresented minorities (undergrads and PREP scholars), and female graduate students and postdoc. Furthermore, I am/was part of numerous (>22) thesis committees at UNC-Chapel Hill, out of which most are from women and/or men from underrepresented backgrounds. I have also been an active contributor to the Postbaccalaureate Research Education Program (PREP) at UNC-Chapel Hill serving as: (a) mentor of three scholar so far, all of which successfully transitioned into top graduate programs (UNC-Chapel Hill, Columbia University, Washington University at Saint Lous) (see previous members for their publication/award records in the lab), (b) mentoring and guiding the NSF-GRFP application of one of them which has been successful, (c) teaching two workshops each year during 2017 – 2020 (“Keeping Lab Notebooks” and “The Importance of Mentoring”), (d) being a member of the PREP Advisory Board (1/2023 – 12/2024), and (e) serving in the admissions’ interviews with the PREP candidates.

As a woman and underrepresented minority, I frequently receive invitations to participate in panels and seminars oriented to diversity members. These are some of the panels and seminars I was honored to be part to promote inclusion:

  1. Retreat Dept. Biochemistry and Biophysics, UNC-Chapel Hill, invited for the Women in Science Table for discussion with trainees about my career path, 10/2019
  2. Initiative for Maximizing Student Development (IMSD), UNC-Chapel Hill, invited panelist for the Retreat for Graduate Students about my career path, 6/2019
  3. Training in Biological and Biomedical Sciences (TIBBS), Academic and Research Intensive Career Association, UNC-Chapel Hill, invited speaker for the young faculty panel for the seminar series about the transition from being a PhD trainee to holding an academic/research-intensive position, 9/2018
  4. Society for the Advancement of Hispanics and Native Americans in Science, UNC-Chapel Hill Chapter, invited Speaker for the Lunch & Learn Roundtable, 3/2017
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