Science literacy is an issue across the United States. The need for skilled workers in the fields of science, technology, and engineering regularly outstrips the supply of graduates in those fields, and most high school graduates don’t have sufficient background in math and sciences to be able to major in those fields.
The Coalition for the Public Understanding of Science (COPUS) works to improve science literacy. One of their initiatives is the Paul Shin Award, honoring individuals whose passion for science has led them to share their love of science in a way that helps get more people involved in and aware of science in daily life.
The most recent honoree is Mónica I. Feliú-Mójer, Ph.D., Vice-director and News Editor for Ciencia Puerto Rico. Ciencia Puerto Rico had its start as an initiative of the Council for the Advancement in Puerto Rico for Innovation and Scientific Research (CAPRI). The goal of the organization is to encourage scientific study of Puerto Rico, to encourage scientists in Puerto Rico, and to support “the next generation of Puerto Rican scientists.”
Ciencia Puerto Rico maintains the world’s largest database of Puerto Rican scientists, including both scientists from Puerto Rico and those who study phenomena within Puerto Rico. The group has prepared teaching materials for K-12 designed to enhance interest in science careers. Above all, Ciencia Puerto Rico serves as a hub for the community of individuals and organizations interested in promoting science literacy and awareness in and about Puerto Rico.
Feliú-Mójer was honored in recognition of both her work as Vice-director and for her generous unpaid hours in support of Ciencia Puerto Rico.