Tag Archives: aauw

Local Women in Science, Business, Education and the Arts Honored by AAUW Puerto Rico

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

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.


maria del carmen

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.

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.


Co-President Betsy Parker’s Plans for 2014-2015


I am really looking forward to the coming year.  As a branch, we have so many good irons in the fire!  Co-President Jody will report in this space also about her foci for the year , so stay tuned for that.

I will focus on three areas that address our (local and national) need for younger member involvement and recruiting.

1. The first is called the Younger Women’s Task Force. https://www.aauw.org/membership/ywtf/

I am actively looking for someone to start this for us here in Puerto Rico. YWTF members are automatically AAUW members. They will be a semi-autonomous group from our branch and will have their own organizational structure, officers, program etc. The group is designed to be a social justice focused organization for women in their 20s and 30s. Because their concerns and issues are closely aligned with ours, the “semi” in the semi-autonomous will be our branch support, via womanpower, experience and resources.

2. The second initiative I would like to get started this year is an effort to recruit college and university partners (C/U Partners https://www.aauw.org/membership/college-university-partner/ ). Not only are the students of partner organizations all eligible for AAUW e-student affiliate membership, but are candidates for many other programs that AAUW has – both nationally and locally. Locally, for example, they become NCCSWL applicant material, and nationally we can make sure they know of the grants and fellowships they can apply for.

Additionally, my third initiative for this year, Tech Savvy requires a C/U partner campus on which to conduct the workshop. A C/U partner also gives us where to push for other AAUW grants like the current one offered through AAUW by Pantene on combating gender stereotypes.

3. The third initiative, as I mentioned, is bringing Tech Savvy to Puerto Rico (https://www.aauw.org/what-we-do/stem-education/tech-savvy/ ). Tech Savvy is an expanded and scripted version of our homegrown STEM BRIDGE initiative that has tracks for both the girls and the adults who advise them (parents and teachers, school counselors, etc.) Once we have at least one C/U partner we can begin to prepare our application to become a pilot site in 2016. A lot of advance work and planning will be necessary even to submit an application, so I want to get started now.

If you are interested in working with me, or just giving me your opinions on these endeavors, email me at aauwpr@gmail.com

Betsy Parker, September 2014