IAmNYAS: Oscar Pineda-Catalan
A Q&A with Nobelist Mindset Mentor and Educator Oscar Pineda-Catalan.
Dr. Pineda-Catalan is a conservation biologist who has developed research and education programs to motivate and engage youth to pursue careers in science. He has managed programs that have opened opportunities for hundreds of New York City high school students to participate in structured research projects mentored by professional scientists: The Urban Barcode Project at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory's DNA Learning Center and the Science Research Mentoring Program at the American Museum of Natural History. He has also collaborated with the New York Academy of Sciences in the Nobelist Mindset Program, a Malaysian Initiative to develop soft skills of young people to participate in science, and with the Wildlife Conservation Society, training young professionals that work in conservation biology projects.
Dr. Pineda-Catalan obtained a Master's degree in Conservation Biology and a PhD in Ecology and Evolution at Columbia University. He pursued a Masters in Urban Studies at El Colegio de México and did his undergraduate studies in Biomedical Research at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. He is an expert in conservation biology who has conducted studies in genetics and the wildlife health of endangered species. He presently lives in Chicago, IL, working as an international consultant in science initiatives.
Why and how are STEM education and the Global STEM Alliance important to you?
STEM fields are facing a crisis period at the global scale. The number of talented people participating nowadays in science is declining. Through the Global STEM Alliance I can contribute to attracting and engaging talented youth to pursue careers in science, as well as motivate them to incorporate STEM perspectives in their professional activities.
MENTOR AND EDUCATOR
Sackler Institute for Comparative Genomics
American Museum of Natural History
New York, NY, USA
Nobelist Mindset Program
Fulbright and Kluge Fellow
PhD, Ecology and Evolution, Columbia University
MA, Conservation Biology, Columbia University
MA, Urban Studies, El Colegio de México
BA, Biomedical Sciences, National Autonomous University of Mexico
What are/were your goals for participation in the Global STEM Alliance?
I can contribute in three aspects in the Global STEM Alliance. First, I can mentor and train students who are interested in participating in science projects. Second, I can also train young scientists on how to mentor and work with teenagers. Finally, I can participate in developing workshops, courses, and other activities for this initiative.
What is the most important benefit you feel the Global STEM Alliance provides?
One of the most important aspects to motivating and engaging youth to participate in science is to provide them with adequate guidance and access to resources. Fortunately, technology can facilitate communication and reduce barriers for people to participate in STEM activities. The Global STEM Alliance can thus link interested youth with professional scientists who can mentor and provide support to them. Also this initiative can promote the development of global networks among all participants and potentiate their work.