My roots: Boricua de pura cepa!

My first time entering a clean room to conduct a physics research project.


Who am I and how did I get here?

Working with Trachemys stejnegeri stejnegeri (Puerto Rican slider) at the University of Puerto Rico at Humacao under the guidance of Dr. Neftalí Ríos López.

My name is Nayelie Morales and I just graduated from my Physics Applied to Electronics bachelor at the University of Puerto Rico at Humacao. During this fall, I will start my master’s degree in physical Oceanography at the University of Puerto Rico Mayagüez Campus.

Scuba diving at the Blue Hole in Belize.

Born and raised in Puerto Rico, one of the most beautiful islands in the Caribbean. I have always lived close to the beach, and it has been a safe place since I can remember. I enjoy scuba diving along the shores of the island and reading books while watching the sunset. I love to go camping in the beach and in the forest!

Butterfly inventory in a farm at Hatillo, PR as part of the Mapa de Vida project.

I always wondered if there was a way I could help the environment. I found a nonprofit organization called Para La Naturaleza and I started volunteering by helping in the tree nursery and reforestation projects. After a few years, I became a lead volunteer in the DUNAS project which focuses on the restoration of sand dunes to protect cultural artifacts and the ecological environment. Later, I became a lead volunteer at the project Mapa de Vida, which focuses on collecting environmental data to design management plans and create conservation strategies in farms around the island. After looking for opportunities to expand my data collection skills and field work experience, I found the Latino Heritage Internship Program and the rest is history!

During one weekend, I decided to visit the Smithsonian Folklife Festival and got to see Los Pleneros de la Cresta, a folkloric music group from Puerto Rico. It reminded me how much I was missing dancing and the people from the island. Plena and Bomba are folkloric Puerto Rican music and hearing it in the National Mall made me feel emotional and filled with joy.

This internship has been a valuable and incredible experience. I am grateful for everyone that welcomed me, helped me, and teached me about the Parkway. I am sad that I have to leave, but I am excited to see what my future holds! Hopefully, this is not a goodbye, and I will see you soon!

Entrance to the Pterocarpus Forest in Humacao, PR.

La Boca Beach at Barceloneta, P.R.

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