The UA SRP is delighted to announce that Dr. Monica Ramírez-Andreotta is the recipient of the 2019 American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Early Career Award for Public Engagement with Science.
Ramírez-Andreotta currently leads the UA SRP Research Translation Core and works closely with UA SRP Director Dr. Raina Maier on the Training Core. Ramírez-Andreotta has long been affiliated with the UA SRP as our first research translation coordinator and later as a graduate trainee and Karen Wetterhahn Memorial Awardee.
The AAAS Early Career Award for Public Engagement with Science was established in 2010 “to recognize early-career scientists and engineers who demonstrate excellence in their contribution to public engagement with science activities.” The award consists of a $5,000 honorarium, a commemorative plaque and complimentary registration and travel to the AAAS Annual Meeting. Ramírez-Andreotta received the award during the 185th AAAS Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.
Ramírez-Andreotta was recognized for involving communities most affected by pollution, poor water quality and food insecurity in the scientific process. She has pioneered several collaborative research projects that create science learning opportunities and engage community members in data collection, interpretation and translation of results into action.
As part of the UA SRP, she launched Gardenroots in 2008, a citizen science project geared toward community members living near a hazardous mining waste site in Arizona. Ramírez-Andreotta and nearly 100 trained participants collected soil, water, and plant samples. Their work revealed that the public utility’s drinking water contained arsenic levels above the drinking water standard, a finding that resulted in the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality issuing a violation to the water supplier. Gardenroots worked with local water authorities and the owners of affected households to provide information about water treatment technologies designed to reduce arsenic concentrations in drinking water. The Gardenroots program has since grown into a nationwide initiative.
Ramírez-Andreotta also leads Project Harvest, a citizen science project that engages community health workers and more than 150 families living near sources of pollution in monitoring harvested rainwater, soil, and plants. To make the project accessible to community members, all materials are available in both English and Spanish.
In addition to these large-scale projects, Ramírez-Andreotta conducts free screenings of soil for urban gardeners and organizes science events for children and families.
The UA SRP congratulates Dr. Monica Ramírez-Andreotta on this well-deserved award!