In the Fall of 2021, I sought out to highlight the stories of Latino/a/x researchers generally in "Ecology and Evolution". With the support of Dr. Carly Kenkel, Dr. Oliver Rizk and Emily Aguirre, we were able to put on a series titled "Cuentos-Contos" (short stories in Spanish and Portuguese) to be shared to our Marine and Environmental Biology section at the University of Southern California. Now I am sharing these short stories to Ecoevoevoevo to share with a wider research community as I believe it is important to highlight researchers from similar backgrounds in academia as this space is often isolating. Throughout the next couple of weeks, I hope you feel inspiration, empathy and joy as every person details how their career, passion and aspirations intersect with their culture and identity. To start off, I highlight several talented scientists: Emily Aguirre, Ivan Moreno, Melody Aleman, and Dr. Suzana Leles.
Angeleno microbial ecologist, Emily, studies algal-bacterial symbiosis in the emerging cnidarian system, Aiptasia pallida, using genomic, culturing and microscopy techniques. In this cuento, she highlights her support system as a "non-traditional" student and discusses inefficient, outdated and harmful academic structures. Emily concludes by suggesting solutions for improving the academy, and transforming it into a space that truly supports talent, ingenuity and diversity.
To learn more about the featured scientists reach out via their emails or websites. Ivan - imoreno[at]ucsd.edu, Melody - maleman[at]usc.edu, Suzana - suzanaleles[@]gmail.com, Emily - Emily Aguirre (weebly.com).