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Published Monday February 12, 2024

From A Dream To Reality – Part Two with Andrea Esmeralda Hernandez Pina

By Cynthia Blockburger, Lindsey Intern, SARSEF

Haven’t read part one yet? Find it here!

Our last conversation with Andrea was terrific. Her journey with SARSEF, her work with the University of Arizona, and bridging her hometown community in Nogales with SARSEF deserve highlighting. Andrea’s journey has definitely left us wanting to know “what’s next,” so we asked!

Andrea shared that she attended a conference in her hometown, Nogales, Sonora, and it “was a big success!” How exciting to hear that the joy of science can lead us to reach our community and expand connections across all borders, physically, socially, and, of course, academically.

Andrea told me that she “reached over a hundred middle school students. I had the chance to share my academic trajectory, study tips, and valuable information about the inclusion and role of women in science. I felt the students enjoyed my time with them as much as I did”. Wow, I told you Andrea Esmeralda Hernandez Pina is amazing! Her excitement for spreading knowledge, not just for science but for showing others how to have A Dream To Reality – Finding My Purpose and Loving It!

Reaching for our dreams sometimes needs modeling, and Andrea certainly shows us how. “I reached over a hundred middle school students. I had the chance to share my academic trajectory, study tips, and valuable information about the inclusion and role of women in science. I felt the students enjoyed my time with them as much as I did, and I am sure they took away good motivation”. I can undoubtedly say that my motivation from meeting Andrea has increased. Giving valuable advice to students also seems to help us grow in valuable ways.

How, do you ask? Well, Andrea shared that she “received a certification from the Department of Education in my hometown and built an amazing connection with the authorities of the department and school I attended. I also gave talks at my high school, Rio Rico High School, and to the Rotary Club of Rio Rico”.

Lastly, Andrea says there will be more collaboration between her hometown and former high school. She is “looking forward to more collaboration with both sides of the border to unite our efforts to increase science literacy.” I am confident this is only the beginning of “what’s next” with Andrea Esmeralda Hernandez Pina.

About SARSEF’s Lindsey Intern, Cynthia Blockburger

Cynthia Blockburger is a highly qualified science teacher and mentor and is currently entering the final phase of her Ph.D. Candidate at the University of Arizona. She is also the Vice President of the College of Education Deans Graduate Advisory Board. In 2022, she was awarded the English Language Arts Title One School’s highest teacher-performer award for the Arizona Academic Standard Assessment. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Science and Mathematics from California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo and a Master’s in Education from The University of Arizona. She is a passionate educator with over 19 years of experience working with diverse students in grades K-20, specializing in STEM and English Language Arts. Over the years, Cynthia has developed various robust and diverse science curricula by state and national standards. In doing so, she has extended and fostered positive mentor and mentee relationships with students. As a first-generation graduate student, she has worked in various graduate associate positions, such as with Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Under the direction of the University of Arizona Dean Berry and Associate Dean Reyes, Cynthia has provided academic and administrative leadership to support programs in the College of Education, liaised between the college and all campus colleges/divisions, and served crucial roles in research. One of her many goals has been to continue diversifying available programs, such as the AACTE Holmes Scholar Program, to meet the needs of the extended community of learners. She has also worked with Dr. David Moore, Dr. Sara Chavarria, and Dr. Corey Knox to survey the UA campus landscape to identify where field-based or experiential programs could be more inclusive and provide a better student experience from historically marginalized backgrounds. Cynthia’s work supports research and commitment to Equal Opportunity, Diversity, and Inclusion, research findings, and possible solutions for raising awareness among mentors and organizers of field-based research, curricula, and academia. As a first-generation college graduate, she aims to empower students to love obtaining knowledge and develop the joy of striving for academic excellence with a solid foundation for learning.