The Power of Inclusion

True diversity is about creating structures to support individuals from all backgrounds that allow them to bring their whole selves to the workspace. Inclusion is crucial given the increasingly creative approaches required to solve the complex health challenges of our era.


"Our Microbes, Our Global Health" workshop participants

I strongly believe inclusive research topics attract diverse talent. From my own personal experience, it is not enough to recruit diverse scientists; they must also see themselves reflected and included in the research itself. In 2018, I co-organized the "Our Microbes, Our Global Health" Workshop and Symposium at Cornell University with the goal is to broaden the scope of microbiome research so that it addresses microbiomes of all kinds. Throughout the week we discussed how microbiome research and therapeutics can address global health issues. Researchers and students from all over the world came to Ithaca to discuss these topics and build strong long-lasting partnerships. In fact, that meeting sparked the creation of multiple transnational research projects amongst attendees.


As an AAAS IF/THEN Ambassador,  I am honored to serve as a STEM role model for girls in the United States and abroad. I am honored to be included among 125 incredible Ambassadors; women who represent a diversity of STEM-related professions from entertainment, fashion, and sports to business and academia. Collectively, we will connect with students in person and through various media platforms to shift narratives about women in STEM and inspire the next generation of pioneers. At a personal level, I look forward to taking my current efforts to the next level and participate in new initiatives to improve the visibility of Latinas in STEM and empower Latinx girls all over the world. 


Our discipline sits at a crossroads. While biomedical engineering has embraced interdisciplinarity and made important progress towards achieving equality for women, equality for other minoritized populations including LGBTQI persons, African Americans, Latinxs, Native Americans, and professionals with disabilities has lagged behind. For people like us, surviving science and academia is only possible with the support of our communities. In light of this, Dr. Brian Aguado and I co-founded LatinXinBME, an online community that provides professional development, moral support, and resources for professors, industry professionals, postdocs, and students. While apart geographically, we organize meetups at conferences, virtual writing groups, and mechanisms to review abstracts and applications. Anyone is welcome to join!

LatinXinBME community logo


Having arrived from another country, I did not immediately understand the inequities that permeate American society. It was not until I moved to Wisconsin that I began to understand the experience of existing as a Latina in this country. Dealing with all the issues associated with immigrating to the U.S. began to feel like a burden. In 2015, we ( students and faculty) got together to create the Colombian Badgers, an organization to unite, support, and promote Colombian culture at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. During my time as President and now as an alumnus, this community taught me it is possible to contribute to building a better country from abroad.

Celebrating Colombian Independence in 2015



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