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AAAS Caribbean Division Holds 2008 Annual Meeting in Río Piedras, Puerto Rico
The Caribbean Division of AAAS will convene in Río Piedras, Puerto Rico, for its 2008 Annual Meeting featuring hands-on science lessons, teacher workshops, a plenary on teaching students with disabilities, and lectures by top Caribbean scientists.
Bringing together scientists, graduate and K-12 students, teachers, and the public, the two-day meeting will be held 3-4 October in the Natural Sciences building at the University of Puerto Rico's Río Piedras campus.
Caribbean Division President Margarita Irizarry-Ramírez said that as the only interdisciplinary meeting in the region, the conference plays a vital role in bringing together prominent stakeholders in Caribbean science, allowing them to communicate and engage the public on issues particular to the region.
"The meeting brings graduate and K-12 students face-to-face with real scientists and exposes them to what researchers and their work looks like," said Irizarry-Ramírez, a biochemistry professor at the University of Puerto Rico's Medical Sciences Campus. "These experiences often get students excited about science and broaden their vision of what a scientist does, perhaps encouraging them to study math and science in college."
The free conference, which will be conducted primarily in Spanish, officially opens with an administrative session and reception at 6:00 p.m. EDT on 3 October, with conference registration and the scientific and public events beginning at 8:00 a.m. EDT on Saturday 4 October.
[Registration for the Caribbean Division Annual Meeting will be on-site in Puerto Rico. For those participants outside Puerto Rico who wish to participate in the meeting, please send an email to Irizarry-Ramírez stating an intent to attend.]
The morning plenary session on 4 October will explore how teachers can connect with students with visual impairments and learning disabilities. Developed by Nicolás Linares, director of the University of Puerto Rico's Filius Institute of Disability, the session will also identify links between specific learning disabilities and delinquency.
"Learning effective techniques to reach all students in science and math classrooms is incredibly important and allows all citizens to benefit from exciting discoveries and advances," said Irizarry-Ramírez. Beyond members of the Caribbean Division, meeting invitations were sent to science and mathematics teachers associations, with the goal of bringing current and future educators to the conference.
Following the plenary session, there will be a workshop for young teachers demonstrating how to use water jets to teach students relationships between water levels and time. Concurrently, a series of three workshops for students entitled "Having a Ball with Chemistry" will show connections between sports and chemistry.
Later in the morning, three prominent Caribbean scientists will deliver lectures on a range of topics including a talk on structural biology by Raul Padrón from the Instituto Venezolano de Investigaciones Científicas in Altos de Pipe, Venezuela.
Following lunch, there will be a graduate student poster session in the Natural Sciences building lobby, followed by an awards ceremony and closing reception.
Besides its annual meeting, the Caribbean Division sponsored an Ethics in Research workshop last March and will sponsor a Puerto Rico Neuroscience Conference in November. It also offers fellowships for students and scientists who need travel money to present their work in conferences outside Puerto Rico.
The four regional divisions of AAAS—Caribbean, Arctic, Pacific, and Southwest and Rocky Mountain (SWARM, for short)—serve as networks for scientists, organizing meetings on regional issues and promoting publications from scientists active within the division.
The Caribbean is the youngest division, with its charter dating to 1985. The Pacific Division's origins date to 1915, followed by SWARM in 1920, and the Arctic Division in 1951. The Caribbean Division currently has more than 500 members throughout Puerto Rico, Central America, islands of the Caribbean Basin, Venezuela, and southern Mexico.
All AAAS members in good standing and who reside within the specified boundaries of a regional division are automatically considered members of that regional division. In addition, a AAAS member in good standing can request to become a member of any of the four divisions by notifying the division president. Non-AAAS members may attend the regional division meetings.
26 September 2008