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Teaching and Inspiring Students in Puerto Rico

Graduate student Omar Padilla Velez, an NSF Graduate Research Fellow, wants to be a role model for students back home in Puerto Rico. He explains, “I believe that students greatly benefit from seeing and hearing from someone who grew up on the island, and faced the same struggles from lack of resources in the public schools and limited English language.”

Omar gathered a team of Cornell scientists working in fields from Chemistry to Physics, to bring science to students from middle to undergraduate schools in Puerto Rico. The middle and high school students built microscopes and created and tested their own batteries. The team traveled to Universidad Ana G. Méndez to present their research to undergraduates. Prof. Mitk’El B Santiago Berrios noted, “The presentations were awesome. We learned a lot from the Cornell students.”