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National Hispanic Heritage Month Spotlights Diversity

By: France-Elvie Banda
Wednesday, September 21, 2022
From September 15 to October 15, Hispanic Heritage Month honors the unique history and contributions of the Hispanic/Latinx community. This year’s theme, Unidos: Inclusivity for a Stronger Nation, spotlights diversity within the Hispanic community—from language to racial identification and even cultural traditions. This year’s theme seeks to uplift the various voices that represent the Hispanic/Latinx community and highlights the importance of diversity in building strong communities. 
As the Hispanic/Latinx community continues to evolve and redefine what it means to be Hispanic, Latino/a, and Latinx in America, many are using language as a vehicle to drive inclusivity. Terms like Latinx or Latine have emerged to signal a desire for greater gender and indigenous inclusivity with the Hispanic/Latinx community. Below are notable Hispanic/Latinx scientists who are pushing boundaries and making the life sciences a more innovative and inclusive space. 
  • Sonia Zárate, PhD, a trained molecular biologist, is the senior program lead for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Scientific Mentorship Initiative (HHMI SMI). As a champion of diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusivity, Zárate advocates for mentorship development as a tool for culture change within science. In addition to her work at HHMI SMI, Zárate is also principal facilitator for the Center for the Improvement of Mentored Experiences in Research (CIMER) and master facilitator for the National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN).
  • Omar A. Quintero-Carmona, PhD, an associate professor of biology at the University of Richmond, has a doctorate in cell biology from Duke University. Much of Quintero-Carmona’s research focuses on the dynamic nature of cells and the molecular processes that underlie cellular functions. Due to his commitment to inclusivity and mentoring in and out of the lab, Quintero-Carmona received the 2021 ASCB Prize for Excellence in Inclusivity. 
  • Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa, PhD, a world-renowned researcher, and neurosurgeon, and his team have published more than 150 scientific studies on the development of brain cancer. Quiñones-Hinojosa’s research has been pivotal in developing minimally invasive neurosurgical techniques with the use of nanotechnology. Quiñones-Hinojosa is currently the William J. and Charles H. Mayo Professor and Chair of Neurologic Surgery and director of the Neurosurgery Brain Tumor Stem Cell Laboratory at Mayo Clinic.