As we were conducting our project, we came across the issue of underrepresentation of the Latinx community in the STEM field. We found that there is a lack of representation for Latin Americans in science and technology, and a lack of opportunities in general for them. As we researched this problem, we found that there are many different ways in which we can show our support, and create an inclusive environment for the Latin American community with simple things such as our language and how we share our message. We wanted to learn more about this issue, so we decided that before creating a strategic plan to tackle inclusion and diversity, we would seek the opinions and perspectives of professionals.
We conducted two interviews with experts in both the STEM field and diversity and inclusion for the Latinx community. We first interviewed Cibele Zolnier Sousa de Nascimento, an iGEM Ambassador LATAM, who is a member of the iGEM Diversity & Inclusion committee this year. We then interviewed Daniel Domínguez-Gomez, a biotechnology engineer from Mexico, who has co-founded the company AllBioTech, which strives for increasing opportunities for Latin Americans in STEM. It was an honor and a pleasure to have the opportunity to speak with them, and they gave us insight and information about our inquiry. After talking with both experts, and learning more about the depth and complexity of this topic, we put together a seven-step plan with ideas on how to effectively support the Latinx community, create an inclusive environment, and create more opportunities for Latin Americans in STEM as a whole.
Cibele Zolnier Sousa de Nascimento is an iGEM Ambassador. She is a Latinx member of the iGEM Diversity & Inclusion committee. She works in the synthetic biology field, currently working in Brazil, and was a part of an iGEM team in the past. She strives for more inclusion and opportunities for the Latinx community in STEM, and was very insightful and helpful providing information to our team’s outreach strategy.
Daniel Domínguez-Gomez is a biotechnology engineer from Mexico. He is the founder and CIO at Ingenex Lab, an independent R&D lab aiming to develop novel biotech, bioinformatics, and synbio projects for agriculture. He also is the co-founder of AllBioTech, which is a company striving to promote biotech development in Latin America. He is a biotech activist and strives to share the benefits of biotech with others.
Our podcast Boss Women in STEM was made to inspire girls to pursue a career in STEM. By speaking with famous and successful females in the STEM field, we hoped to create a place for girls to know that they can achieve “the impossible.” We talked to these female scientists about the challenges they faced in the STEM field and how they overcame them. We hoped to make a supportive environment for girls, motivating them to explore the STEM field.