Jean K. Rivera Irizarry
I am gay and I am a neuroscience PhD candidate.//
I am a gay Puerto Rican neuroscientist with a passion for science outreach and science communication. As a neuroscience PhD candidate at Weill Cornell Medicine, I focus on studying the neurophysiology of addiction, anxiety and affective disorders in order to understand why women are particularly susceptible. During my free time, I engage with a plethora of outreach initiatives and try to use social media to increase visibility as an underrepresented gay student in STEM. Heterogeneity in gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, and race are known to promote innovation, lead to better problem-solving and are important for long-term economic growth, yet there is a large disparity when it comes to diversity in STEM. This motivated me to get involved with many STEM outreach programs in Puerto Rico, Boston and currently in New York City.Organizing and participating in events like Brain Awareness Week, Rockefeller Science Day and the World Science Festival gave me a platform to be visible to students from diverse backgrounds. They allowed me to engage with students and provide them much needed exposure to STEM and the variety of career options available to them. More importantly, they also provide a platform for increased visibility as a LGBTQ+ scientist, activist and underrepresented minority.