Mr. Miguel A. Soto-Class SY ’91, Founder & President, Center for the New Economy
Mr. Soto-Class, Founder and President of the Center for the New Economy, has a wide range of experience in the private, public and non-profit sectors. He has worked for major firms in the legal and banking industries in Puerto Rico and the U.S, and has been involved in various aspects of policy-making during the past decades. Soto-Class was one of the editors of “The Economy of Puerto Rico: Restoring Growth” published by the Brookings Institution in 2006. Since 2003, he has been a regular columnist for El Nuevo Día, Puerto Rico’s largest circulation daily. In 2008 Soto-Class was selected as an Aspen Institute Ideas Fellow.
Soto-Class currently serves in the Advisory Council for the Conservation Trust of Puerto Rico; the YouthSave Advisory Board at the New America Foundation in Washington, D.C.; and the Community Innovator’s Lab at MIT in Boston, Massachusetts.
Soto-Class has a B.A. from Yale University and a Juris Doctor from Vanderbilt University.
Dra. Giovanna Guerrero, Head, Science Policy and Special Populations Research Branch, Van Andel Research Institute, MI
Dr. Giovanna Guerrero-Medina joined Van Andel Research Institute (VARI) in 2010. As Head of the Science Policy and Special Populations Research Branch, Dr. Guerrero-Medina works with VARI researchers to develop new research programs focused on translational goals, to promote internal research policies that support investigators, and to establish infrastructure and strategies to increase the engagement of diverse communities in research. She also co-directs the Van Andel Institute Graduate School’s course on Responsible and Effective Conduct of Research.
Before joining VARI, Dr. Guerrero-Medina worked for the Office of Science Policy and Planning of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) where she communicated progress in understanding and treating neurological disease to Congress and developed strategic plans and evaluations of research funding programs. Achievements included leading a team of NINDS staff and extramural advisors in re-examining the role of NINDS in basic research; leading an internal team to examine the role of NINDS in health disparities research and workforce diversity; and helping design a funding opportunity for the broadening participation of underrepresented groups in neuroscience research. From 2006-2008, Dr. Guerrero-Medina participated in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Emerging Leaders Program, which afforded her the opportunity to perform details with several offices at the HHS, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and the National Institutes of Health. Her career in science policy began through a Science and Technology Policy Fellowship at the National Academies. She has extensive experience in scientific program development, strategic planning, policy analysis, writing and editing for lay and technical audiences, government research funding programs and practices, and research and training performance analysis. Dr. Guerrero-Medina obtained a Ph.D. in Molecular and Cell Biology in 2004 from the University of California, Berkeley and has a B.S. in Biology from the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras. Dr. Guerrero-Medina also serves as Director of Operations for the Puerto Rican scientific community web site Ciencia Puerto Rico.
Dr. Diane Davis, Professor, Massachussets Institute of Technology Department of Urban Studies and Planning
Diane E. Davis, Professor of Urbanism and Development at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, specializes in Latin American urban political economy. Prior to moving to Harvard, she served as the head of the International Development Group in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at MIT, where she helped develop and coordinate a practicum on the challenges of achieving socially inclusive environmental sustainability in the Rio Piedras watershed.
Davis is the author of Urban Leviathan: Mexico City in the Twentieth Century (Temple University Press 1994; Spanish translation 1999) and Discipline and Development: Middle Classes and Prosperity in East Asia and Latin America (Cambridge University Press, 2004) as well as co-editor of Irregular Armed Forces and their Role in Politics and State Formation (Cambridge University Press, 2003) and Cities and Sovereignty: Identity Conflicts in the Urban Realm (Indiana University Press, 2011). Her published works examine the relations between urbanization and national development, comparative international development, the politics of urban development policy, and conflict cities. She has explored topics ranging from historic preservation, urban social movements, and identity politics to urban governance, fragmented sovereignty, and state formation to planning theory. Her current research focuses on the transformation of cities of the global south, particularly the urban social, spatial, and political conflicts that have emerged in response to globalization, informality, and political or economic violence. A prior recipient of research fellowships from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Heinz Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, the United States Institute for Peace, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Carnegie Corporation of New York, Davis now coordinates a large scale project titled Urban Resilience in Conditions of Chronic Violence, funded by USAID. An elected member of the Urban and Regional Development Section (RC21) of the International Sociological Association (ISA) and a member of Panel SH3 (Environment and society: environmental studies, demography, social geography, urban and regional studies) of European Research Council, she also serves on the Editorial Boards of City and Community, Political Power and Social Theory, and the Journal of Latin American Studies.
Dr. Efrén Rivera Ramos, Professor and Former Dean of the University of Puerto Rico Law School
Dr. Efrén Rivera-Ramos is Dean and Professor of Law at the University of Puerto Rico School of Law. He holds a B.A. in Political Science and a J.D. from the University of Puerto Rico; an LL.M. from Harvard University; and a Ph.D. in Law and Social Theory from University College London.
Dr. Rivera-Ramos’s expertise is in legal services and as public interest lawyer. He is currently a member of the organizing committee of SELA; Vice-President of the World Association of Mixed Jurisdiction Jurists; Consulting Editor for Psychology, Public Policy and Law, published by the Schools of Law of Miami and Arizona; a member of the Program Committee of the recently created International Association of Law Schools; and a member of the Diversity Committee of the Section on Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar of the American Bar Association.
Dr. Rivera-Ramos has belonged to several commissions appointed by the Puerto Rico Supreme Court which have rendered reports on important issues pertaining to the administration of justice. He received the 2006 Deborah L. Rhode Award granted by the Section on Pro Bono and Public Service of the American Association of Law Schools for outstanding contributions to the cause of equal justice from a position in legal education. He has taught courses and seminars on Jurisprudence, Evidence, Sociology of Law, Law and Social Change, Constitutional Law, and the Legal Profession.
Dr. Rivera-Ramos has published extensively on many subjects. He is the author of The Legal Construction of Identity: The Judicial and Social Legacy of American Colonialism in Puerto Rico (APA Books, 2001). He has also lectured widely and presented numerous scholarly papers in Puerto Rico, the United States, Europe and Latin America. A published poet and a former professional journalist, he also writes a regular column in a leading Spanish language newspaper in Puerto Rico.
Dr. Aníbal Gonzalez, Professor, Yale Department of Spanish and Portuguese
Aníbal González is Professor of Modern Latin American Literature at Yale University. His most recent books are Love and Politics in the Modern Spanish American Novel (2010) and a critical edition of Manuel Zeno Gandía’s Redentores for the Editorial de la UPR (2010). He is currently writing a book on of the role of religious discourse in the contemporary Latin American novel.
Mr. Pedro Julio Serrano, Communications Manager, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
Pedro Julio Serrano, a well-known and respected Latino/a LGBT movement leader, is the communications manager of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. In 1998, he became the first openly gay and hiv+ political candidate in the history of Puerto Rico to run for office. In 2003, Serrano also founded Puerto Rico Para Tod@s (Puerto Rico for All), an organization that advocates for LGBT equality and social justice in Puerto Rico. Serrano has been an outspoken advocate for LGBT and human rights, participating in thousands of interviews and public events throughout his 14-year-old career as a human rights activist and has received numerous awards for his activism.
Mr. Orlando Rivera ’77, National Chairman of the Yale Latino Alumni Association
Orlando Rivera launched his professional career from atop a uniquely developed academic platform combining disciplines from the fields of Architecture and Sociology. He leveraged undergraduate degrees from Yale University with advanced degrees in Architecture, Urban Planning, and Planning in Underdeveloped Nations from Columbia University. He is the youngest child of migrants from Puerto Rico who achieved numerous, but modest accomplishments in both their individual and collective journeys for the Sueño Americano.
Rivera has creatively crafted a professional career through which he has effectively supported the improvement and enhancement of the lives of “underprivileged and disadvantaged” families and communities – typically Puerto Rican/Latino and African American households. He has been a significant contributor to numerous community-based development efforts in low- and moderate-income communities across America.
An accomplished community development practitioner, he continues to work extensively on a wide array of development issues and matters, such as: real estate development (including housing, commercial, and industrial development where families can live and/or own their homes, shop for their preferred products and/or own the businesses which sell them, and maintain sustainable employment); economic and workforce development (targeted at creating new and widening employment opportunities as another form of community development); as well as organizational development and community organizing (to attain and/or preserve local political will, dreams, and aspirations).
Until the recent downturn in the European Economy, Mr. Rivera was scheduled to direct the redevelopment efforts of the island of Baracaldo in Bilbao, Spain. This island was once a military/industrial complex recently rezoned for the revitalization and integration of the island’s land mass into the physical, social, & economic fabric of the great Basque Country municipality, now home of the new Guggenheim Museum. Presently, he is developing an ingenious effort to deliver high-impact community development services to Latino communities throughout the American Gulf Coast Region (from Houston, Texas to Coamo, Puerto Rico).
Dr. Antonio García Padilla, Professor and Former President of The University of Puerto Rico
Antonio García-Padilla was born in Coamo, Puerto Rico. He received his law degree from the University of Puerto Rico in 1978 and a Master in Law from Yale University in 1981. Before becoming the Eighth President of the University of Puerto Rico, in November 2001, García-Padilla was Dean of the School of Law at the same university for fifteen years, President of the Luis Muñoz Marín Foundation of Puerto Rico, Member of the Council of the American Law Institute, and Member of the Accreditation Committee of the American Bar Association. Earlier in his career he was law clerk to Judge Stephen G. Breyer, now Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, then serving as a Judge in the Federal Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, and to Justice Angel M. Martín of the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico. He was an Adviser to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico, Dr. José Trías Monge. During his tenure as President of the University, García-Padilla launched an ambitious agenda of institutional development at the University of Puerto Rico. He returned to his Chair in October 2009 as Dean Emeritus of the School of Law. He teaches courses and seminars in Civil Procedure, Constitutional and Commercial Law. He is the President of the Puerto Rico Academy of Jurisprudence and Legislation. Garcia Padilla is author of many essays on legal and education issues in Puerto Rico and abroad.
Chief Marketing & Strategy Officer at Deloitte Postdigital Enterprise, Deloitte Consulting LLP
Giovanni Rodriguez is a noted innovator, author and public speaker on organizational leadership and marketing. Today, he is a senior member of the social-technology team at Deloitte Consulting LLP where he is helping to design new services in the digital/social/mobile arena. Before joining Deloitte, Giovanni was chief marketing officer at BroadVision, a company which specializes in cloud-based enterprise and social networking solutions. Prior to his work at BroadVision, he was co-founder and managing partner of The Conversation Group (TCG), one of the first social-technology consulting firms. A regular contributor to Forbes.com, he is currently writing a book on how mass movements are made on the new social web. Giovanni has advised numerous leading B2B companies and consumer brands and is especially known for his work in positioning technology companies in transition. He is a founding fellow at the Society of New Communications Research and a board member at Latinos for Social Media. He is a graduate of Princeton University.
Mónica I. Feliú-Mójer
Vice Director and News Editor of CienciaPR
Mónica I. Feliú-Mójer was born and raised in Vega Alta, Puerto Rico. She is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Program in Neuroscience at Harvard Medical School. In Josh Kaplan’s laboratory at the Massachusetts General Hospital, Mónica studies the molecular and cellular mechanisms that regulate synaptic transmission in the nematode C. elegans. Mónica is also very interested in science policy, and increasing scientific literacy in the lay audiences and the youth. Being the news editor and vice-director of CienciaPR gives Monica the opportunity to pursue these interests, raising awareness about Puerto Rican science and research; the importance of science in our society; and contributing to the education of the future generations of Puerto Rican scientists.
Mónica earned her B.Sc. at the University of Puerto Rico in Bayamón in 2004. She did her undergraduate research with Dr. Carlos Jiménez Rivera at Universidad Central de Caribe (currently at the Medical Sciences Campus of the University of Puerto Rico) studying a model of addiction in rodents. After college, Monica worked as a Research Assistant in Morgan Sheng’s Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where her research was aimed at understanding the molecular architecture of synapses and the mechanisms underlying synaptic plasticity.
Director and Co-Founder of CienciaPR and Assistant Professor of Cell Biology at the Yale School of Medicine Program in Cellular Neuroscience and Neurodegeneration and Repair
Daniel Colón-Ramos was born and raised in Barranquitas, Puerto Rico. He completed his B.A. at Harvard University, where he did research, in collaboration with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, on the use of medicinal plants by indigenous groups in Central America. He then completed his PhD in the lab of Dr. Sally Kornbluth at Duke University, where he combined bioinformatics, molecular biology, biochemistry and cell biological approaches to answer questions critical for understanding the molecular mechanisms of apoptosis, a physiological process tightly linked to cancer. He then trained in molecular genetics, physiology and neurobiology as a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Dr. Kang Shen at Stanford University.
The Colón-Ramos lab at Yale is interested in understanding the developmental events that direct precise neural connectivity. In particular, it is interested in how these events are coordinated in complex neuropil structures such as the brain. How are these developmental events simultaneously coordinated between pre- and postsynaptic partners to allow precise wiring? How do they give rise to highly organized neuropil structures such as the brain? Their lab uses the nematode C. elegans to look at the development of circuits in vivo and with single cell resolution.
Besides research, Daniel is very interested in science and Puerto Rico. He is part of a non-profit scientific think tank (Council for the Advancement of Puerto Rico Research and Innovation (CAPRI)) interested in these issues. CienciaPR is one of the initiatives CAPRI has spearheaded, with the idea of helping nucleate a community of scientists interested in science and Puerto Rico. Their hope is that through the CienciaPR community, fellow scientists find a voice and become more participatory on the important social, economic and educational issues Puerto Rico will face in the 21st century.
Christine E. Nieves Rodríguez
Program Associate for the Pioneer Portfolio at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in Princeton, NJ
Christine E. Nieves Rodríguez is a Program Associate for the Pioneer Portfolio at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in Princeton, NJ. The Pioneer Portfolio supports disruptive innovations and technologies with the potential to transform health and health care, leading to dramatic improvements in people’s lives. As a program associate, Christine explores new approaches that may be important to the future of health and health care, and works towards accelerating progress in areas that have significant potential to create breakthroughs.
This past year Christine was the emcee for the Hispanic Heritage Foundation Youth Awards (HHYA), of which she was a former recipient herself. The HHYA is a scholarship program recognizing college-bound high school students across the U.S. for excelling inside and outside the classroom in the areas of Business, Community Service, Education, Engineering & Math, Health Care, and Science.
While finishing her undergraduate degree, Christine was a presenter for Telemundo’s public affairs TV show, En Portada. She also anchored FactCheck.org’s webcasts, Just the Facts, in collaboration with the Annenberg Public Policy Center. Christine received her Masters of Science in Evidence-Based Social Intervention from Oxford University in England and her Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Public Service from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. She was raised in Ponce, Puerto Rico where her family currently resides.