AAUW Puerto Rico recognized four exceptional women on Friday, March 27 at their annual Leadership and Service Awards Luncheon at the AFDA Club in San Juan focusing on Science, Education, the Arts and Business. The luncheon is held every March during Women’s History Month.
Honoree Sarai Santiago Rodríguez, educator
Sarai Santiago Rodríguez was recognized for her contributions to the field of education. Founder and Director of Explora Clínica Integral, she is the only provider of services to children with autism using the Teacch method. Santiago told our audience that her future plans are to continue to serve the needs of children with autism, and to develop programs for young adults on the spectrum, a populations not currently being served.
Tara Rodríguez Besosa was recognized for her
Honoree Tara Rodríguez Besosa, entrepreneur
entrepreneurial accomplishments. Rodríguez is the co-founder and co-director of Departamento de la Comida focused on local organic produce and artisanal food products. Looking forward Tara recently turned half of El Departamento de la Comida into a non-profit organization that develops markets for local, sustainable farmers and serves consumers looking to eat better, buy better, and support the local economy.
Honoree María del Carmen Gil, promoter of the arts
María del Carmen Gil, former Chancellor of the Puerto Rico Conservatory of Music from 1998 – 2012, and currently founder and director of the Fundación para Música y País, a foundation dedicated to making music education accessible for all children at a time when these programs are being cut from both public and private schools. Gil was recognized for her contributions to the arts in Puerto Rico.
Dra. Melween Martínez, scientist
Melween I. Martinez, a Professor at the University of Puerto Rico – Medical Sciences Campus and the first female Director of the Caribbean Primate Research Center and the Animal Resources Center. Recognized for her contributions to science, Dra. Martínez reminisced about the challenges she faced as a woman in a field dominated by men, and discussed her plans to continue her important research into stroke and dengue fever.
AAUW San Juan is a branch of the national AAUW, active in Puerto Rico for over 50 years. The mission of AAUW is to promote equity for women and girls through research, education, advocacy and philanthropy. Nationally AAUW supports fellowships for women pursuing advanced degrees and grants to community organizations with projects addressing equity for women and girls; lobbies the US federal government on issues affecting women and girls, and sponsors research into women’s issues covering topics like pay equity, sexual harassment, and women in STEM. Locally, AAUW Puerto Rico is involved in a writing workshop project for survivors of domestic violence; sponsorship of college women to attend the National Conference of College Women Student Leaders; and their annual Leadership and Service Awards to raise the visibility of women in the community.
From left to right: Elizabeth Parker, AAUW Puerto Rico Co-President, Tara Rodriguez, Maria del Carmen Gil, Dra. Melween Martínez, Sarai Santiago, Juanita Morris, AAUW Awards Luncheon chairperson.
For more pictures of this event, please click here.