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URMC / Clinical & Translational Science Institute / Stories / October 2023 / Janiret Narváez Miranda Selected as Yale Ciencia Academy Fellow

Janiret Narváez Miranda Selected as Yale Ciencia Academy Fellow

Janiret Narváez Miranda, a trainee in the UR CTSI’s Translational Biomedical Science PhD Program, is among 16 young science leaders from across the U.S. and Puerto Rico who were selected as fellows of the NIH-funded Yale Ciencia Academy (YCA) for Career Development. This highly competitive, year-long program equips biomedical and health sciences PhD students from historically marginalized backgrounds with the knowledge, skills, and networks they need to find great postdoctoral positions and advance their careers.

Narváez Miranda, who is originally from Puerto Rico, is passionate about two things: science that she can take from the bench to the bedside, and promoting the inclusion of historically underrepresented people in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields.

For her thesis research, she studies how consuming breastmilk can influence infants’ gut microbiome and their immune responses to vaccines. Long-term, she hopes to conduct research that ameliorates the health inequities that affect marginalized communities.

“I am still figuring out the exact career I want, but I want whatever career I do to help promote the inclusion and participation of underrepresented groups, especially LatinX/Hispanic and Puerto Ricans, in translational research, and I think YCA will be a tremendous help in reaching that goal,” she said.

YCA fellows are competitively selected from a pool of nationwide applicants and must be within two years of completing a biological or biomedical graduate program. Selected applicants must demonstrate a commitment to inclusion and social impact, the ability to persevere and overcome roadblocks, a willingness to receive and incorporate feedback, and a good understanding of their strengths and weaknesses.

“Our goal is to complement traditional graduate training to help our fellows become the scientists they want to be,” said Giovanna Guerrero-Medina, PhD, director of Yale Ciencia Program. “Our current cohort of fellows is impressive for their scientific accomplishments, as well as their leadership.” 

Photo of the 2023-2024 class of Yale Ciencia Academy fellows from June 2023In June, the new cohort of fellows gathered at Yale University where they participated in workshops, community building, networking, and mentoring activities alongside last year’s fellows. Over the upcoming year, they will gather once a month for online conversations with role models and experts who will share advice to help them develop important career planning, mentoring, and scientific and interpersonal communication skills. At the end of the program in the summer of 2024, the cohort will meet again in person at Yale for final workshops and to welcome the next group of YCA fellows.

“The opportunity to bring together the incoming and outgoing YCA cohorts is very special,” said Steven Paniagua, PhD, research associate for YCA. “It is a chance for these young leaders to pass off the torch and impart wisdom, along with establishing a feeling of unity and a roadmap for the incoming group.”

Narváez Miranda was compelled to apply for the fellowship after she learned about it from former Translational Biomedical Science PhD student, Denisse Vega-Ocasio, who was selected as a fellow in 2020.

“She shared with me all the amazing things she had gained as a fellow and how supportive and diverse the community they had created was,” said Narváez Miranda. “For me, it was attractive not only that the program is designed to provide the tools to succeed in different areas such as career planning, mentorship, and science communication; but that the program is specifically tailored to include and support graduate students from underrepresented groups in STEM.”

Students interested in the next YCA application cycle should sign up here.


Yale Ciencia Academy is led by Yale University’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, in collaboration with the non-profits Ciencia Puerto Rico and Science Communication Labs.


Narváez Miranda is part of the Translational Biomedical Sciences PhD Program, which is supported under the University of Rochester CTSA award number TL1 TR002000 from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences of the National Institutes of Health. The program provides in-depth mentoring and multi-disciplinary training to lay the foundation for a career dedicated to the translation of basic biomedical research into improved health.

Michael Hazard | 10/4/2023

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