CICA, Interdisciplinary Center of Chemistry and Biology of the University of A Coruña, has just promoted an agreement between the University and the Fundación Secretariado Gitano. Through this agreement, researchers and academics will be able to participate as mentors of young Roma within the PROMOCIONA Program of the Foundation.
This program aims to reduce the school dropout rate of the Roma community in compulsory education, which is currently around 65%. In addition, they support young people in pursuing post-compulsory education to increase their chances of entering the labor market. A fundamental part of the program is the actions taken to involve the participants' families in the educational process.
CICA supports the Foundation's commitment to education as a transformative tool for eradicating social discrimination, and materializes it with this agreement. As a starting point, the pre-doctoral researcher, Charlene Harriswangler, has tutored one of the female students in the program, Antonia Gabarri Jiménez, whom she has advised and introduced to the daily tasks of a laboratory.
The 4th grade student expressed her preference for the Applied Sciences subject during the mentoring activity, ''because it is related to the rules for working in a laboratory and I learn issues related to chemistry''. She and the researcher explored together the different possibilities she has to work as a Laboratory Technician, a profession that now, after her time in the REACT!-IMMO group at CICA, it is clear that she wants to perform.
The researcher highlights the importance of mentoring in this educational stage and recommends other researchers to participate in the program: ''it is very rewarding that someone finds your work interesting'' says Charlene, ''explaining the research I do at a more general level has been a very enriching experience''.
CICA is the Interdisciplinary Center of Chemistry and Biology created at the University of A Coruña in 2015. It has more than 150 researchers organized in three scientific areas: i) Biomedicine, ii) Food, Pollution and Health and iii) Nanoscience and Advanced Materials. Research excellence, technology transfer and the transmission of knowledge to society form the three pillars on which the research center is based. It is recognized for attracting talent, the visibility of women scientists and the promotion of gender equality, with a female presence of more than 50%.Fundación Secretariado Gitano (FSG) is an intercultural social entity that has been working for 40 years for the promotion and equal opportunities of the Roma population in Spain and in the European context. It develops programs and services to defend the rights of Roma people mainly in the fields of employment, education, health and housing, and its work is also aimed at promoting more active policies for the social inclusion of the Roma population, fighting against discrimination and guaranteeing equality for all people.