A social network designed in 2006 by a young Yale professor to link Hispanic scientists now boasts more than 6,500 members and has not only spurred research collaborations, but has increased interest in science among Hispanic students, particularly those of Puerto Rican descent, a new paper claims.
"Having a data base of Hispanic scientists and creating a forum for their work has helped raise their visibility and in Puerto Rico, it increased science content in local media by an order of magnitude," said Daniel Colón-Ramos, associate professor of cell biology and co-founder of the network, Ciencia Puerto Rico (CienciaPR). The executive director of the network, Dr. Giovanna Guerrero-Medina, added, "Those scientists have published a book of essays that reflects the language, landscape and culture of Puerto Rico, which in turn resonates with students."
The social network helps connects the 64% of Puerto Rican Ph.D. science and engineering students who live outside Puerto Rico. "However, the model can be used to link any geographically dispersed community," Colon-Ramos said.
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PLoS Biol 11(12): e1001740. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1001740