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Natural Rubber: How a passion for science led me to work with a plant product my Mayan ancestors utilized, with Grisel Ponciano, PhD, Molecular Biologist, USDA
Why would a person like to pursue a career in STEM? Because it is a very rewarding profession. STEM careers are based on teamwork and it is fun to work together to achieve a common goal. Being a scientist is a way to help the world be a better place to live in. Scientists are constantly learning and applying their knowledge to improve every single aspect of our human existence, and to find better practices to take care of our precious planet Earth. For example, my current research involves developing a plant to cultivate here in the USA to extract natural rubber necessary for the manufacturing of thousands of products we use every day. By having our own natural rubber source, we help the environment by polluting less when we import rubber from across oceans. During my presentation you will learn about natural rubber production and its impacts on our lives and planet. I will also share my own experiences becoming a scientist and how it brought me where I am today and where I could go in the future.

This series is free and open to all high school girls (and boys too) who want to know how one gets from taking science, computer, and math classes to choosing a career in STEM and getting a job after college. This webinar series is presented by AAUW-OML with a grant from the Bettelheim Family Foundation. We will present 1-2 webinars per month where you'll meet women in STEM careers sharing their story and how you too can find your passion in a STEM career.

May 2, 2021 04:00 PM in Pacific Time (US and Canada)

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Grisel Ponciano
Molecular Biologist @United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) - Agricultural Research Service
The path to my career began in my childhood when my parents gave me a chemistry kit as a gift! I knew then I wanted to be a scientist. I earned a Bachelor’s degree in biochemistry at Universidad del Valle in Guatemala, and then a Ph.D. in molecular plant pathology at Kansas State University in the USA. As a postdoctoral fellow, I did research with rice at San Francisco State University. As a scientist at USDA-ARS I have worked with potatoes, and since 2010 with a rubber producing plant known as “guayule”.