The Chemist: Hispanic Heritage Month


Hey everyone! Some of you may know that Hispanic Heritage Month is from September 15- October 15, so naturally we decided to feature a Hispanic woman in STEM.

For this post I dediced to feature Idelisa Bonnelly de Calventi, a Dominican marine biologist who’s the “Mother of marine conservation in the Caribbbean”. Scientists come in many different fields so I thought I’d switch it up from my normal chemistry and give you all a little biology and feature a woman that helps #savethewhales.


She was born in the Dominican Repulic on September 10, 1931 and is the founder of the Institute of Marine Biology and the Dominican Foundation for Marine Research. Her claim to fame lies in the fact that she helped create the first Humpback Whale Sanctuary of the North Atlantic in 1986. Her rap sheet doesn’t stop there. She’s won numerous awards including, UNEP's Global 500 Roll of Honour, Unesco's Marie Curie Medal and the Order of Merit of Duarte, Sánchez and Mella. BBC has also named her one of most important women scientists in Latin America.

Pretty cool right? Here’s a little bit of her academic and career background.

Marine biology wasn’t something that people studied in the Dominican Republic and this lead her to university studies in New York. In 1953, she enrolled at Columbia University, graduating with a BS in marine biology in 1956. Then she went on for a master's degree from New York University in 1961. After that, it was onto her first job at the New York Aquarium as a research assistant.

It was in 1962 that she returned home to teach at the Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo (UASD), founding the first institution for the study of biology in the country. Four years after that she founded the Institute of Marine Biology, where she taught from 1967 to 1986 and thennnn was the graduate studies coordinator until 1992.

But wait, there’s more.

She ALSO founded the Academy of Sciences of the Dominican Republic in 1974, where she started publishing. Her work mainly focuses on methods of managing and conserving marine resources.

I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty impressed by everything she’s accomplished in general and for her field.

Remember to #savethewhales and I’ll see you next week!

-The Chemist

#MacScientist #HispanicHeritage #Science #MarineBiology

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