Transforming science education through research-driven innovation
February 12, 2022
“I have been very fortunate to meet amazing women trying to make progress in science. It has been easy for me to encourage and empower them in their career, just by explicitly recognizing their excellent skills and aptitudes.” – Dr. Carolina Vera
Each Darwin Day, BSCS celebrates the impact of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. We also celebrate the unlimited possibilities of what a diverse and inclusive scientific community can achieve. So now, we use this occasion to highlight scientists who at times have been overlooked or undervalued due to their positions in society.
Carolina Vera is one such scientist. Today she is one of the most influential meteorologists and climate scientists in South America. And it’s because during her childhood in Argentina, she often wondered “why.” Why were some summers hot and dry, with little to no rain? Why were others filled with flooded fields? With plenty of encouragement from her mother, she was inspired to investigate.
Carolina’s research focuses on climate variability and simulation—and has been applied to help improve mathematical models used to make forecasts. She also serves as a leader on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and contributes to knowledge on our capacity for climate resilience. Perhaps most importantly, she uses her position to advocate for underrepresented groups of scientists.
As a female scientist in South America, she has experienced her fair share of challenges. There were times when she was the only woman in a meeting and felt pressure to prove that she deserved to be there based on merit, not representation. There were other times when she was asked not to speak up if it meant contradicting her male peers. But with a strong female support system of her own, she overcame these challenges and has become an important voice for other female climate scientists.
At BSCS, we made a commitment long ago to educate students about the science they need for life. That includes both evolution and climate science. Today, we are equally committed to educating all students about the value of their voices in the scientific community. As we face some of the most pressing societal challenges of any generation, we need more scientists like Carolina Vera—scientists who are advancing the field through innovation and inclusion.
Daniel C. Edelson
BSCS Executive Director