Yashira has spent her life creating a unique academic and professional journey in the Environmental Science field. From a young age, she excelled in her passion for STEM by actively participating in Science Fairs. Further on, she conducted an undergraduate degree in Industrial Biotechnology at the University of Puerto Rico- Mayagüez and fused her courses with research by participating in Environmental Science/Engineering REU’s. She has collaborated with institutions such as the University of Michigan, South Dakota State University, and the University of Massachusetts. From all her undergraduate research experiences, she obtained two academic journal publications, one of which she is the fourth author. After this, she obtained a Master of Engineering in Civil and Environmental Engineering from her alma mater. Collaborations as a graduate student included The Environmental Protection Agency, Army Geospatial Research Laboratory, and North Carolina State University.
Since then, she has become an active team member, leader, mentor, and environmental science educator/spokesperson by creating accessible communication bridges between academia and communities through public outreach. Yashira is an enthusiastic learner, always improving her skills as well as discovering new things every day.
It was her passion for mentoring and community outreach, that she had developed through various activities in college, that led her to want to volunteer upon completing her master’s degree with nonprofits such as Lead Up- Mentoring Network and Clean Water Science Network Mentorship Program. Nevertheless, Lead Up- Mentoring Network truly opened her eyes to the infinite possibilities of educational resources and activities she could create for students from high school all the way up to graduate school in order for them to excel in their academic journey. After this opportunity, she knew that working with nonprofits was something she wanted to pursue as it aligned with her mission and purpose in life.
Recently, in a mission to increase her knowledge about climate change and its direct impacts on communities of Puerto Rico and Florida, she formed part of various programs and certifications with leading climate change nonprofits and government institutions. Programs include Community Leadership on the Environment, Advocacy, and Resilience (CLEAR) Program from Catalyst Miami, The Climate Reality Leadership Corps Training from The Climate Reality Project, Sprog Summer Training in Environmental Social Justice and Activism from Sierra Club Puerto Rico Chapter, Caribbean Climate Change School from 350.org and Voices GY, and Climate Adaptation Planning for Emergency Management (AWR-347) from the National Disaster Preparedness Training Center.
She hopes that her interdisciplinary background will be an asset to young adults within the Hispanic Access Foundation Programs, including MANO Project.
When not giving workshops to students in her spare time, you can find her doing yoga, looking for new local coffee shops everywhere she goes, taking care of her plants, going on nature walks, and/or reading a book.