Adriana Hernandez, graduate student in the program of Chelsea Specht, has been selected as a 2019 fellow of the Yale Ciencia Academy for Career Development (YCA). Hernandez and other YCA fellows will kick off their year by attending the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Annual Meeting in Washington, DC (February 14-18, 2019).
As described in her YCA biographical sketch, Hernandez received her bachelor’s degree at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she completed ethnobotanical research on the Mescalero Apache’s ceremonial use of cattail pollen with Ines Talamantez. Her interest in botany developed into a position as technician and lab manager at the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, where she completed population genetics and ecological research to preserve California’s rare and endangered native plants. The results of this research were adopted by land managers in the Channel Islands of California and formed the basis of a mitigation project. Hernandez is continuing biodiversity and conservation research in the Specht lab at Cornell through studies of the evolutionary development and climatic niches of polymorphic lilies. As a Mexican immigrant, first-generation college graduate, and aspiring professor, Adriana works toward leveraging her experiences to overcome systemic injustices; to cultivate inclusive settings, identify students in need of academic support, and help their development toward scholarship and the exploration of diverse career paths.
YCA provides graduate students with opportunities for mentoring, networking, and skills development, and for making contributions to their communities through science outreach. The program is led by the non-profit organization Ciencia Puerto Rico (CienciaPR), in collaboration with Yale University.
CienciaPR is a nonprofit organization that connects over 10,000 Puerto Rican and Hispanic scientists, students, and educators worldwide through an innovative online platform. By leveraging its community’s collective knowledge, the organization has created thousands of resources to improve science education and help forge the next generation of Hispanic/Latinx STEM leaders.