Author Archives: Marina

Happy 2016!


STEM, equity, and diversity are at the heart of CLACE.

This year we have made incredible progress in our programming, organizational infrastructure/culture and field positioning ourselves as unique agents of change when it comes to bringing Latinos to STEM experiences that ignite their interest in pursuing careers in STEM fields.

As 2014 Holiday Season arrive, and the year comes to an end, I wanted to pause to THANK everyone who has contributed to our many successes, for the great support that has propelled our accomplishments and allowed us to be able to support the incredible momentum with our diverse students and youth who are being impacted by CLACE.

May this Holiday Season we a blessed one.

Happy 2016!
Marina and CLACE team


Ciencia, Tecnología, Ingeniería y Matemáticas (por sus siglas al inglés, STEM), la equidad, la diversidad y la inclusión son el corazón de CLACE. Este año hemos progresado increíblemente en nuestra programación, infraestructura y cultura organizacional para posicionarnos como agentes únicos de cambio cuando se trata de impulsar a los Latinos a experiencias STEM, que los alientan a contemplar carreras en éstos campos.

Ya las festividades decembrinas del 2014 están aquí, y el año llega a su fin, es por ello que deseo hacer una pausa para agradecer a todos los que han contribuido con nuestros muchos éxitos, por el gran apoyo que ha impulsado nuestros logros y nos ha permitido continuar apoyando e impulsando a nuestros diversos e increíbles estudiantes y jóvenes que están siendo impactados por CLACE.

Nuestros deseos porque esta temporada de fiestas esté llena de muchas bendiciones

¡Feliz 2016!
Marina y el equipo de CLACE



December 2013

STEM Equity & Diversity: a Sisyphean Task

“As a first year teacher a parent accused me of favoring girls over boys in my earth science course.  In my defense, I explained I was working with boys and girls equally (50/50) and that perhaps this was the first time her son had experienced equity.”

STEM equity continues to elude educators.   Often assessed in terms of undergraduate degrees awarded to women and traditionally underrepresented populations — STEM equity, outside the life, medical, and social sciences, remains a source of concern and frustration for many.   Over thirty years of extensive research, by authors such as Seymour[1] and Tobias[2], articulates the nations’ shortsightedness in addressing the challenge resulting in an inability to engage and retain women and minorities in many STEM undergraduate programs.  If thirty years of research has illuminated the problem, why do we continue to lack equity in STEM education?

“There is no silver bullet”.

- Courtney Reed-Jenkins (NAPE)

 Extensive and disparate barriers complicate efforts to remediate the lack of diversity in STEM.   According to research by the National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity (NAPE) root causes that inhibit students from pursuing “nontraditional career preparation”, such as women becoming physicists or men becoming cosmetologists, fall into domains such as education, career information, family, the individual, and society.  Within these domains, root causes range from (lack of) early intervention to self-efficacy and from media messages to family characteristics.  All communities suffer from multiple impediments varying in degree and nature suggesting the need for unique solutions to increasing STEM equity and diversity.

 Recently, I’ve had the opportunity to participate and work with local and national leaders to promote efforts that lead to STEM equity and diversity.  Last month the Colorado Department of Education in collaboration with the NAPE introduced the STEM Equity Pipeline — an effort to use collaborative impact[3] to ensure equity in state and local STEM education efforts.  In this collaboration, NAPE and CDE elected to work closely with the states’ Career and Technical Education (CTE) community.  NAPE partnered with Colorado specifically because it recognized a rising tide of interest and commitment across and within disparate communities: industry, government/policy, and education.  NAPE and CDE hope to harness and focus the energy behind this wave, propelling it along a trajectory for success.  The kickoff meeting and workshop identified the need for a) collecting data b) identifying and selecting vocal representatives and c) creating a central database of STEM resources.

If NAPE’s STEM Equity Pipeline represents a national effort, the work of the Latin American Center for Arts, Science, and Education (CLACE) defines grassroots change.  Each week for a semester CLACE runs afterschool programs in STEM education at schools that caters to the education of traditionally underrepresented populations.  All students are welcome and families of every economic background take advantage of the extra hour of instruction and engagement in the sciences.  CLACE runs two signature programs:  Video and Green Labs.  Video Lab seeks to engage middle and high school age students in investigations and story telling around climate change.  Students work with videographers and scientists to learn about and articulate their understanding of climate change through bilingual media products.  Green Labs, designed for K-5, provides students the opportunity to study earth system sciences using simple, inquiry based activities and art.  CLACE selects facilitators for its afterschool programs from within the local community, seeking individuals who model academic and professional success in their fields of expertise.  By drawing upon leadership from within the community CLACE provides students of traditionally underrepresented populations the opportunity to redefine their definition of opportunity and success post-secondary school.

CLACE is an example of “informal science education”.  According to post-doctoral students Lisa Hope Schwartz and Kathleen Hinko at the University of Colorado, Boulder, informal education environments often succeed where formal environments do not because constraints on learning and teaching are very different.  In fact, in talking to Schwartz and Hinko, I needed to clarify terms.  Where I would use “teaching and learning” to describe education they were appt to use “exploration and identify development”.  Both post-docs work with and study the impact of informal education programs on student perceptions of STEM education and careers.  Some research studies [dh1] show that at the end of formal education, high school, teenagers in Western Europe outscore their US peers on many standardized tests.  Yet, later in life, these same Europeans no longer retain an advantage over US citizens.  One possible explanation is that many North Americans remain engaged in learning STEM concepts and content through opportunities provided by informal education institutions such as museums, aquariums, and planetariums.


  • Marina La Grave, Latin American Center for Arts, Science, and Education
  • Kathleen Hinko, University of Colorado Boulder
  • Jennifer Jirous, Colorado Department of Education
  • Courtney Reed-Jenkins, National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity
  • Liza Hope Schwartz, University of Colorado, Boulder

By: Doug Haller, STEM Consultant

June 2013

Univision Climate Change Special!

CLACE and its colleagues from CU Planetarium, Cal-Wood Education Center and Dr. Luna Rodriguez, colaborated with Univision Colorado for this unique Climate Chnage documentary, don’t miss it, May 16 and 17.

CLACE y colegas del Planetario de CU, Centro de Educación Cal-Wood y la Dra. Luna Rodriguez colaboran con Univisión Colorado en este excelente documental de Calentamiento Global, no se lo pierdan el próximo 16 y 17 de mayo!


May 2013

StarNet blog post by Lisa Curtis

2012-03-01 22.14.12-2Lisa Curtis from StarNet and SSI features CLACE in her most recent blog, thank you Lisa!

“Research shows that parental involvement is critical to a child’s academic success. But we’re finding out that other adults can also play an important role in student achievement. The evidence is clear that students do better academically when families, schools, and communities work together to support their learning. In this equation for success, public libraries can provide the community involvement that contributes to a child’s evolving identity as a STEM learner.

Many libraries offer STEM programs for school-age children. When developing these programs, consider finding ways to connect them to the community. For example, a science program for children—especially one that takes place over several sessions—could conclude with a presentation by the children for their parents and others. This model of students presenting their work to the community has been successful in out-of-school programs, such as those developed in my neighborhood by CLACE, and could easily be implemented in a library setting.

Many libraries already display children’s artwork. But now, as libraries add science and technology to the literacies they address, it’s easy to imagine expanding student art displays to include science-themed artwork and posters describing science projects.

The Louisville (Colorado) Public Library, which is near my home, recently invited a high school robotics club to demonstrate their robots at the library. Many high schools have astronomy clubs. Programming staff could invite astronomy club students to host a star party one evening at the library. Students who are involved in citizen science activities, such as collecting data about plants or rainfall, could give presentations at the library on their activities and findings.

If your library works through partnerships or on its own to add community to STEM education, please tell us about it in the comments area below or by contacting me.”

– Lisa Curtis

May 2013

2011SeedCollection4-1Saturday June 15 – join WRV and CLACE on a Seed Collection Crew Leader Training 2013

This fun 6-hour long training is an opportunity for our students and facilitators  volunteers to learn the basics of botany, seed collection and crew leadership for our Native Seed Collections in 2013. Seed collections are some of the most relaxing WRV projects a crew leader can engage in. No experience necessary!

WRV will be working with Boulder County and City of Boulder to expand our native seed collection efforts. Crew Leaders are essential to the success of our seed collection projects. Without seeds, restoration is difficult. And without crew leaders, collecting good seed is nearly impossible. Come join the crew leader ranks and have a great time leading crews this summer!

Come and join us, this will be a fun learning day out in the field!

May 2013

MAYAN COMPUTER Game Developed by CLACE team!

CLACE team (Dr. Barry Kluger-Bell and Marina La Grave) developed a unique Engaging Latino Students in Science workshop for NASA MAVEN’s mission that has been brought to teachers in Berkeley area with great success! During this half day workshop at this prestigious University we were able to share our MAYAN COMPUTER card game.

The Mayans developed a sophisticated mathematical system to help with their astronomical observations and calculations and their calendar. Our MAYAN COMPUTER game connects students and families of Central American origins to their Mayan heritage.

Once again, CLACE demonstrates that by connecting cultural dots, we can effectively bring diverse students back to being proud of being descendants from very amazing line of scientists that greatly contributed to science and continue to do so even today!

We also shared with our teachers a wonderful resource translated by LaGrave, “The Universe of our Elders” this book is a proven fact that when the scientific community reaches out and honors local indigenous communities as the one in the  Atacama Dessert that houses ALMA, many great things can happen! 


April 2013

A change of scenery, Cal-Wood, a NICE place!

399662_532275273491108_179437817_nA change of scenery, and time in nature, undoubtedly help students connect with Nature and each other. This amazing two-day retreat has continued to allow us to foster strong relationships and create a shared sense of community values and memories among our students!

Our NASA NICE grant allowed us to be able to bring Video Lab students from Fairview High School and Manhattan Middle school to this adventure, where they spent a weekend in Cal-Wood Education Center as part of a fina

l school year celebration and NTD program!

This retreat was carefully designed for our students to gain invaluable personal knowledge and outdoor experiences in order to allow them to bond together as a class, make fund and wonderful memories together.

Univision Colorado was up there as well!  Univision Evening News Director Ana Melgar, and Meteorologist Gaston Heredia. They interviewed our students -and other students from Boulder High School who happened to be there for a weekend retreat (what great coincidence) with Assistant Principal Francis Schneeweiss.

The topic of discussion? What do you know about Climate Change? Is it true? Why are you up in the mountains on a Saturday? Doing what and why?

Our high school students participated in a role as chaperones or help with the program.

Leading this experience where CLACE’s CEO Marina La Grave, High School Video Lab Director Juan Stewart, Middle School Video Lab Director Margi Dashevsky, ESL teacher

David Stewart, and Cal-Wood Director, Rafael Salgado and CLACE’s CFO Umberto Filesari (who carried cameras and other equipment up the hill!)

Stay tuned for more pictures later this week!




Thank you Cal-Wood, Univision Colorado, Margi, Juan and David for making this a unique, unforgettable and wonderful experience to all!

April 2013

May 3 Celebration!

May 3 Poster

NASA-CLACE-OPEPA’s Nuestra Tierra Dinámica

End Program Celebration @ CU Boulder Atlas Building

Friday May 3rd.

4:00 to 8:00 pm.


4:00-5:00 pm CU’s Museum of Natural History Fun!

5:00-7:30 pm CU’s Atlas Building Celebration with scientists & CU faculty, student’s videos, special guests and much more!

7:30-8:00 pm Star Gazing Party with CU Planetarium & Fire Department Fire Fighters & Fire truck!

CU Buff Bus leaves Columbine Elementary at 3:45pm.

UNIVISION Colorado will be covering the event!


Celebración Final @ CU Boulder Atlas

Viernes 3 de Mayo

4:00 a 8:00 pm.


4:00-5:00pm Diversión en el Museo de Ciencias de CU!

5:00-7:30pm Celebración en el edificio CUAtlas con cieníficos y facultad de CU Boulder, Videos de alumnos, invitados especiales y mucho más!

7:30-8:00 pm Noche estelar con telescopios del Planetario de CU Planetarium & el Departamento de Bomberos, bomberos y camión de bomberos

El autobús de CU Buff sale de Columbine a las 3:45pm.

¡UNIVISION Colorado cubrirá el evento!

April 2013

Café Científico para adolescentes

get_photo.phpCLACE, Casa de la Esperanza y CU Science Discovery tienen el placer de invitarlos a los Café Científico para Adolescentes de Colorado. El Café ofrece oportunidades para conocer e interactuar con científicos locales en un ambiente divertido e informal tanto en Boulder como en Longmont. Únete a nosotros para explorar temas de actualidad científica y disfrutar de rica comida gratis! Los Café Científicos se reúnen mensualmente en Boulder y en Longmont. Ver detalle de nuestros próximos eventos en: Teen Science Cafe (SPANISH) 4-10-2013

Los esperamos!

April 2013

Be amazed!

artworks-000040268175-l19hm7-originalYesterday I went to pick up grand daughters Matilda and Camila from school; as we were walking out of the school, Mati made a sudden stop and let go off my hand as she went off to follow and ant carrying a small leave… all three of us got on our knees and enjoyed this tiny sight for quite sometime! This moment shared led to a great conversation -about insects and their strength -over yogurt ice cream that ended with a commitment to start an ant farm this spring…

What would happen to our world if we took a closer look at our children’s daily “doings”  and offered frequent experiences, became active learners with them and took on having  conversations that lead to reflections on sustainability and deep appreciation for all the resources mother Earth gives us? because……”In the end we will conserve only what we love;  we will love only what we understand;  and we will understand only what we have been taught.” Baba Dioum




April 2013