Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month

The American Society for Microbiology celebrates the achievements and contributions of Hispanic and Latine scientists across the field of microbiology. We believe that the various perspectives, experiences and backgrounds of our diverse membership enhance innovation, broaden the research agenda and further scientific advancement.

ASM Programs and Publishing

ASM is committed to celebrating, supporting and elevating Hispanic and Latine scientists throughout STEM. In 2020, ASM published a collection of papers in the Journal of Microbiology and Biology Education, which includes strategies for inclusion of Hispanic and Latine scientists in microbiology programs and research on disparities in remote learning faced during COVID-19 by students who are first-generation and from historically underrepresented groups.

Members of the Puerto Rico Society of Microbiologists, an ASM branch, created the first and only Spanish language session “ASM En Vivo!" at ASM Microbe, and the branch produces ASM’s Spanish language podcast “El Mundo de Microbios.” The branch is also highly engaged in supporting the next generation of scientists through participation in the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minoritized Scientists (ABRCMS), one of the largest conferences bringing together historically underrepresented students in STEM, a quarter of whom identify as Hispanic and/or Latine.

El Mundo de Microbios

Conversactiones sobre microbiología e infecciones. Conducido por el Dr. Max Brito.

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Committing to Inclusive Diversity with Equity, Access and Accountability (IDEAA)

As we recognize Hispanic and Latine scientists and their achievements, we also acknowledge remaining barriers that must be addressed in the field. According to ASM’s 2020 DEI Taskforce Report survey, 12% of respondents identify as Hispanic and/or Latine. This is not representative of the U.S. population, with 18.4% identifying as Hispanic and/or Latine. To address these gaps, we aim to increase diversity within our leadership and volunteer positions to ensure that ASM reflects the demographics of the U.S. population and the entire spectrum of professionals strengthening and promoting the field of microbiology.

Our survey also indicated the need for increased Hispanic/Latine leadership within ASM and the desire for mentorship opportunities among students and early career scientists from the Hispanic and Latine communities.  With this in mind, ASM launched the Future Leaders Mentoring Fellowship, which supports master’s and doctoral graduate students from underrepresented groups in exploring leadership opportunities in the microbial sciences. MicroBio-LEAP, a national Science Foundation (NSF) funded project led by ASM, will complement this programming as it focuses on driving culture changes in STEM by training and supporting senior-level leaders as IDEAA champions. We also developed an open call process on our volunteer page to increase equitable access to ASM’s opportunities and attract a more diverse applicant pool.


Featured Articles 

We prioritize the creation of robust content that celebrates IDEAA in the microbial sciences, elevates the voices of scientists from historically underrepresented groups and identifies and engages with the work that still needs to be done to ensure the field of microbiology promotes IDEAA.

A Boricua Scientist Educator: From Carolina, Puerto Rico to North Carolina

Dr. Verónica A. Segarra is a Hispanic/Latina scientist, artist, professor and science outreach enthusiast. Segarra celebrates her Hispanic culture by bringing her authentic self into all that she does. Hispanic Heritage Month serves as an opportunity for her to add a level of intentionality to celebrating her heritage.

Working in Academia with Mentorship at the Forefront

Dr. Jorge Vidal studies the molecular pathogenesis of Streptococcus pneumoniae and has many accomplishments in mentoring. We celebrate his career as associate professor at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

Microbes and Social Equity: The Microbial Components of Social, Environmental and Health Justice

At ASM Microbe 2022, Drs. Monica Trujillo, Ariangela Kozik and Carla Bonilla emphasized that every aspect of human life—from access to food, housing and health care—impacts how we interact with microbes and microbial ecosystems.

Featured Spotlights

Spotlight profile articles highlight the work and experiences of microbiologists from a diversity of backgrounds and identities in science.

Prioritize Your Voice: Spotlight on Samantha Avina

Samantha Avina, a Ph.D. candidate at Rutgers-Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and an ASM 2022 Future Leaders Mentorship Fellow, urges early-career microbiologists to prioritize their voice.

The Power of Mentorship: Spotlight on Dr. Carla Bonilla

Dr. Carla Bonilla, an assistant professor of biology, asserts that mentorship and finding community are key for early-career scientists to flourish.

A Seat at the Table: Spotlight on Dr. Mary Sánchez Lanier

Dr. Mary Sánchez Lanier discusses DEI issues in the lab and urges budding scientists, especially women in STEM, to take control of their narratives and give themselves credit for their achievements.

Featured Journals Content

Strategies to Foster Latine Inclusion in Microbiology Programs

In this Journal of Microbiology and Biology Education (JMBE) article, Lilliam Casillas Martinez explores how culture can affect student learning, using the example of microbial mats—resilient laminated ecosystems—as inclusive communities in the microbial world.

Building Research Integrity and Capacity (BRIC): An Educational Initiative to Increase Research Literacy Among Community Health Workers and Promotores

Community Health Workers (CHWs), also known as Promotores de Salud, are critical to reaching underserved populations, where health disparities are more prevalent. Learn more about a study designed to support CHWs/Promotores in obtaining academic training in community- and clinic-based research design.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Microbial Sciences—the Texas Perspective

Dr. Maria Elena Bottazzi discusses Hispanic leadership in vaccine sciences while advocating for women in biotechnology in this mBio article.

Featured Videos and Podcasts

Microbiology Is... Your Microbiome, Your Health

Dr. Filipa Godoy-Vitorino discusses the importance of a healthy microbiome and ways we can keep our microbiomes functioning properly to prevent diseases, such as cervical cancer. 

Hispanic Leadership in Vaccine Sciences With Dr. Maria Elena Bottazzi

Recorded at ASM Microbe 2023, Dr. Cesar A. Arias has a conversation with Dr. Maria Elena Bottazzi about the journey and role of women from historically underrepresented groups in science and the current challenges to delivering science and global health equitably.

Mundo de los Microbios

El Mundo de los Microbios, conducido por Dr. Max Brito, es un programa educativo que consta de podcasts semanales dirigidos a mejorar la comprension y apreciacion del rol vital que los microorganismos juegan en nuestro planeta y promover la microbiologia.

Minority Mixer at ASM Microbe 2022.

Minority Mixer at ASM Microbe 2022.

Source: American Society for Microbiology

Get Involved at ASM

Interested in becoming involved with ASM’s DEI efforts?