Giovanna Guerrero-Medina


Professional Title: 
Director, Yale Ciencia Initiative
About Me (Bio): 
Dr. Giovanna Guerrero-Medina, is the Executive Director of Ciencia Puerto Rico (, an international network of >8,500 scientists, students and educators committed to promoting scientific outreach, education and careers among Latinos. She is also Director of the Yale Ciencia Initiative at Yale University, where studies the impact of scientific networks like Ciencia Puerto Rico in improving access and participation in science and works to promote diversity through the Office of Diversity and Inclusion of the Yale School of Medicine. Under her leadership, Ciencia Puerto Rico has become one of the largest networked communities of Hispanic scientists in the world, has secured federal and foundation funding to support diversity and excellence in science education and career development, and in 2015 received recognition as a Bright Spot in science education by the Obama White House. Dr. Guerrero-Medina serves as Principal Investigator of the NIH-funded Yale Ciencia Academy, a national program to provide graduate students with opportunities for professional development, outreach, and networking. She is Co-Investigator of UPR-IPERT, a large NIH grant to establish innovative courses and online networks to promote early research experiences among students throughout Puerto Rico. She also led “Seeds of Success: A Girl STEM Ambassadors Program”, which brought 160 middle school girls from 119 schools in Puerto Rico together with 60 Latina STEM role models, increased girls’ scientific self-efficacy and attitudes towards science, and impacted over 10,000 people in Puerto Rico through student-led STEM outreach activities. Prior to her current position, Dr. Guerrero-Medina worked as Head of Science Policy at the Van Andel Research Institute, as Health Science Policy Analyst at the National Institutes of Health, and was a 2005 Christine Mirzayan Science and Technology Policy Fellow at the National Academies. Dr. Guerrero-Medina has been recognized as an Aspen Ideas Ricardo Salinas Scholar, the 2016 University of Puerto Rico Distinguished Alumnus in Science, and as a Professional Mentoring Skills Enhancing Diversity (PROMISED) Fellow. She is also a member of the Next Generation Researchers Initiative Committee of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. She has a Ph.D. in Molecular and Cell Biology from the University of California, Berkeley where she had a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Pre-Doctoral Fellowship to study the development of neuronal connections and develop genetically encoded sensors of synaptic activity. She received her B.A. in Biology from the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras.
Yale University

The purpose of this project is to leverage ongoing efforts related to science education and the current emergency and disaster recovery landscape in Puerto Rico. It will develop culturally relevant project-based science lesson plans that incorporate the disaster context that can be implemented both inside and outside of the traditional classroom. The project will allow displaced students to continue learning under the guidance of teachers, parents or social workers. The project will train educators in the use of disaster-related problem-based lessons and assess project implementation and the impact of the lessons. The final outcome of this aim will be a lesson plan template and implementation guidelines for other jurisdictions faced by natural disasters.