From folklore to molecular pharmacophores: Cultivating STEM students among young, first-generation female Mexican-Americans

Gardea J. Jessica, Rios L. Laura, Rituraj Pal, Jorge L. Gardea-Torresdey, Mahesh Narayan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The Research and Engineering Apprenticeship Program of the Academy of Applied Science has funded several high school student summer internships to work within the Department of Chemistry at the University of Texas at El Paso. Over the last nine years, young Mexican-American scholars have been recruited into STEM-specific (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) laboratories to cultivate and nurture their interest in research. This commentary describes vignettes from a successful program in which coauthoring students are paired with a graduate student to advance a molecular-level understanding of biomedical intervention by traditional phytoremedials (plant-based remedies) in neurodegenerative disease processes. Considering that the selected phytoremedials originate from Mexico, Latin America, and the Indian subcontinent and are familiar folklore (kitchen theraceuticals) to the participating Hispanic and Indian scholars, the research project provides an enhanced sense of importance, ownership, and enthusiasm. Eventually, it cements the bridge to a future STEM-related college education, engages in the nation's STEM capacity-building mission, and contributes to the nation's Hispanic science and technology workforce of tomorrow.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-43
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Chemical Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2011


  • Bioanalytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Biophysical Chemistry
  • CLIC
  • Collaborative/Cooperative Learning
  • First-Year Undergraduate/General
  • General Public
  • High School/Introductory Chemistry
  • Public Understanding/Outreach
  • Women in Chemistry


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