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NeuroBoricuas: A New Model of Science Education from Puerto Rico to New York

by Centro Staff


In the spirit of solidarity and inclusion, a young team of Puerto Rican scientists have taken it upon themselves to make science education accessible to underserved communities, and to encourage the development of future neuroscientists from underrepresented backgrounds.

NeuroBoricuas is a non-profit organization that promotes neuroscience education in an effort to “revolutionize the way science is taught in schools in Puerto Rico.” As such, they believe in empowering students to become both mentees and mentors, and in establishing a culture of collaboration early in their academic careers.

The organization, which has collaborated with Ciencia Puerto Rico, Yale Ciencia Academy, and the Puerto Rico Center for Environmental Neuroscience (PRCEN), among others, has been successful in schools and universities throughout Puerto Rico and continues to expand at a significant rate.

Their wish now is to extend this unique learning opportunity—which is free of financial cost to the participating schools or universities—to young Boricuas everywhere, including to students enrolled in high schools and colleges around New York City associated with the City University of New York (CUNY), as well as in other cities across the United States.

Part of the NeuroBoricuas model includes visiting schools to talk about neuroscience and current research, in addition to training students and educators about basic neuroscience and how to use equipment for teaching and research purposes. The lab incorporates modules related to neurophysiology, pharmacology, biotechnology and other scientific fields. The NeuroBoricuas education team has also produced a curriculum that provides an introduction to neuroscience and developed highly competitive projects that have been presented at national and international science fairs. If a participating school is interested, NeuroBoricuas can facilitate the creation of a neuroscience lab using affordable equipment from their collaborators at Backyard Brains.

The NeuroBoricas team includes over a dozen scientists and educators from world-renowned research institutions such as Columbia University, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Hunter College (CUNY) and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. Together, they are hoping to make a difference in science education in Puerto Rico and beyond.

To contact NeuroBoricuas and enroll your school, contact Christian Bravo-Rivera, president of NeuroBoricas, at christian.bravorivera@upr.edu.

For more information, visit www.neuroboricuas.org

© Center for Puerto Rican Studies. Published in Centro Voices 5 April 2019.