OR&R Supports Young Women in STEM and Presents on Marine Debris at a Virtual High School Earth Day Symposium in Puerto Rico
MAY 7, 2021 — On April 23, NOAA’s Office of Response and Restoration (OR&R) and Marine Debris Program (MDP) staff participated in the 2021 Earth Day Virtual Symposium of a specialized science, mathematics, engineering and technology (STEM) secondary school, Escuela Especializada en Ciencias, Matemática y Tecnología (CIMATEC), in Caguas, Puerto Rico.
The symposium brought together ocean experts and over 100 CIMATEC students and teachers to celebrate Earth Week. The symposium’s purpose was to provide information on marine debris research and management challenges, and potential career paths for women in the ocean field.
The symposium was organized by the MDP Hurricane Response Coordinator, Yaritza Rivera-Torres, and Professor Mara Morales-García, CIMATEC’s Club Marina mentor. Club Marina is a student based marine sciences club of 12 CIMATEC women supported by a grant provided by the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation in partnership with the MDP. The grant’s purpose is to empower young female students in the marine debris field through direct exposure to marine debris topics and first-hand education from women of science. It included the development of a Spanish virtual video series highlighting STEM and marine debris prevention.
Guest speakers presented on the National Marine Sanctuaries Foundation and MDP partnership (by MDP Mid-Atlantic Regional Coordinator, Christy Kehoe), derelict fishing gear and debris impacts to wildlife (by MDP Northeast Regional Coordinator, Demi Fox), marine debris research and applications across diverse fields (by MDP Research Specialist, Carlie Herring), careers in marine sciences (by OR&R Environmental Compliance Coordinator, Rosa L. González), and pioneering women in oceanography (by Dr. Brenda M. Soler-Figueroa, Smithsonian Institution). Speakers presented either in English or Spanish for the diverse audience.