Semillas II, Cohort

Dr. Céline Cassé is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez where she teaches General Chemistry and Biochemistry courses. She received her Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from the Université René Descartes in Paris, France, and worked as a Postdoctoral Researcher at Cornell University and the University of Rochester, NY.  Her current project, titled “D’Cure, From Drug to Cure” aims at increasing the participation of LGBTQ+ Hispanics in the STEM disciplines.

University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez – Webpage – Coach: Jones

Dr. Jose Antonio Cabrera. In 2006, Dr. Cabrera was a postdoctoral scholar in the department of geophysics at Stanford University. In 2006 he completed his Ph.D. in physical chemistry from the University of California at Irvine. In 2001, he earned his B.S. in chemistry from California State University Los Angeles (CSULA) where he was a MARC fellow. Prior to his time at CSULA, Jose was a student at Cerritos Community College. Since 2008 he is an instructor of chemistry at San Jose City College. In 2012 he participated in the Linton-Poodry SACNAS Leadership Institute. In 2007 he participated in the 2017 SACNAS-HHMI Advanced Leadership Institute.

San Jose City College – Webpage – Coach: Vishwanatha

Dr. Tammy Castro received her Ph.D. in Molecular Pathology and Immunology from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. Currently, she serves as Professor of Biology at Bloomfield College in NJ and has over 15 years of experience teaching and mentoring undergraduate biology students of diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds. She is particularly interested in making undergraduate research experiences available to all students early in their college career and has mentored over 30 students carrying out independent research projects. Dr. Castro was born in Peru and migrated to the United States as a teenager.

Bloomfield College – Webpage – Coach: Chetty

Dr. Juan H. Sánchez-Méndez holds a bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biomedical engineering (Tulane University) and a PhD in electrical engineering (University of Arkansas). He teaches at the Electronics Engineering Technology Department at the University of Puerto Rico in Bayamón and is also Special Assistant to the Chancellor. For a decade he worked at the UPR system’s Vice President of Academic Affairs Office, where he led engineering technology, computing, and applied science programs obtaining ABET accreditation in ten campuses. He now serves as program evaluator for ETAC of ABET. His research interests include rehabilitation engineering, electronics, and STEM education

University of Puerto Rico Bayamón – Coach: Krug

Dr. Lissette Delgado-Cruzata earned a B.S. in Biochemistry at University Havana, Cuba, and her PhD from the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University. She is an Associate Professor of Molecular Biology at John Jay College in the City University of New York. She is currently funded by NIH to conduct research on epigenetic biomarkers on Latinas at high risk for breast cancer. She is passionate about increasing the number of underrepresented minority students that go on to graduate programs, and mentors many undergraduates in her research lab. She also has a deep commitment to increasing diversity and inclusion in the teaching of STEM disciplines.

John Jay College – Webpage – Coach: Jones

Dr. Omar Alberto Movil-Cabrera is an Assistant Professor in Chemical Engineering at the Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico (PUPR). He received his doctorate in Chemical Engineering from the University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez, and his bachelor’s in Chemical Engineering from Universidad del Atlántico-Colombia. Prior to joining PUPR Movil was a postdoctoral researcher and lecturer at Ohio University. Movil’s teaching interests include engineering materials, mass transfer operations, thermodynamics, and phase equilibria. In the past two years, Movil has been appointed as a summer visiting faculty at Idaho National Laboratory (INL) as part of a program sponsored by The U.S. Department of Energy. Since 2019, Movil has been a member of the advisory board of the Emerging Researchers National (ERN) Conference in STEM.

Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico – Webpage – Coach: Krug

Dr. Annette M. Gabaldón is an Associate Professor of Biology at Colorado State University-Pueblo, where she teaches anatomy, physiology, and nutrition and has a research lab. She enjoys working with students and helping them pursue their dreams. Dr. Gabaldon grew up in N.M and went to school at New Mexico State University, then she obtained her Ph.D. at the University of California, Davis. Dr. Gabladon has been fortunate to have good mentors who have guided her path, opening up new opportunities that she never would have imagined. She enjoys science and in her spare time enjoys activities like woodworking and writing children’s picture books.

Colorado State University-Pueblo – Webpage –   Coach: Krug

Dr. James McGarrah is originally from Bakersfield, CA, and has been teaching at Bakersfield College since 2017.  He earned a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Physics from UC San Diego and a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Rochester.  He was a postdoctoral fellow at Northwestern University as an ACS PRF Alternative Energy Fellow.  He has had academic appointments at Barnard College, SUNY Geneseo, and Union College.  He is currently the Associate Dean of Instruction for Physical Science and Engineering at Bakersfield College.

Bakersfield College – Webpage – Coach: Chetty

Dr. Jennifer Snyder is an Assistant Professor at San Diego Mesa College.

San Diego Mesa College — No Webpage Provided — Coach: Vishwanatha


Dr. Vishwanatha is a Regents Professor and Vice President and Founding Director of the Texas Center for Health Disparities at the University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth. He is a principal investigator of the National Research Mentoring Network and the NIH Specialized Center of Excellence in Health Disparities. Dr. Vishwanatha received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM) from US White House in October 2019. Dr. Vishwanatha’s research is in cancer molecular biology, experimental therapeutics and nanotechnology.

University of North Texas Health Science Center Webpage

Dr. Jones is currently Associate Professor of Microbiology, Immunology and Genetics at the University of North Texas (UNT) Health Science Center. Dr. Jones also serves as Director of the Center for Diversity and International Programs at the UNT Health Science Center. Dr. Jones believes strongly in promoting continuing education and professional development for postdoctoral fellows and early-stage faculty. As such, he has taken a keen interest in developing mentoring and professional development skills through active training within the National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN). As a certified master facilitator, Dr. Jones provides training in best mentoring and professional development practices across the country.

University of North Texas Health Science Center Webpage

Dr. Krug is currently Professor Emeritus of Regenerative Medicine and Cell Biology at the Medical University of South Carolina. His research focused on the molecular characterization of early heart development.  He also served as Associate Dean for Postdoctoral Affairs with administrative oversight of over 200 postdoctoral scholars and staff scientists. He is currently a professional development coach in several NIH- and NSF-funded mentoring programs that provides workshops on a variety of grant writing and career development essentials for postdocs and junior-to-mid career faculty. Krug was the 2019 recipient of the National Postdoctoral Association Garnett-Powers & Associates Mentor Award.

Medical University of South Carolina Webpage

Dr. Chellu S. Chetty is the Associate VP for Research and Regents Distinguished Professor of Biology at Savannah State University. He served on NSF and NIH review panels and also received >$18 M to conduct research and support faculty and students in the STEM disciplines. He has guided ten Doctoral students and has written or co-authored more than  two hundred and fifty professional research articles for publications. He has received several national honors and awards including 2003 US Presidential Award for Excellence in Mentoring.

Savannah State University-  Webpage