DAS Virtual Science Week 2020 Full Conference Schedule

Presenters Biographies

Jenny Gil

10th Grade: Corals and the Zooxanthellae
13/4/2020, 9:45 A.M.

3rd Grade: Algae vs Plants
15/4/2020, 10:30 A.M.

PK-K: Bacteria World
17/4/2020, 10:30 A.M.

Jennifer Gil-Acevedo is an environmental scientist working with the microalgae of south Florida at Florida International University. She has interned at the Smithsonian twice and was also an AAAS Mass Media Science & Engineering Fellow who worked at CNN en Español. As a Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellow, she will travel to three Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute facilities in Panama, collecting microalgae samples. She will be documenting her research in Spanish and English through blogging, microscopic pictures and videos. She will display an exhibit where visitors will use their senses to discover the invisible world of microalgae. Gil-Acevedo studied interdisciplinary science at the University of Puerto Rico. She recently completed her master’s in environmental science at Florida International University.


Jake Kheel

6th Grade:
The Fish That Lays the Golden Egg

14/4/2020, 10:30 A.M.

Jake Kheel is a sustainability innovator, thought-leader, and award-winning documentary filmmaker. For fifteen years he has confronted social and environmental challenges in the tourism industry as Vice President of Grupo Puntacana Foundation in the Dominican Republic. The foundation has pioneered numerous ground-breaking initiatives, launching the first Zero Waste project in the country, as well as leading one of the most expansive coral reef restoration initiatives in the Caribbean.

Under his leadership, Grupo Puntacana Foundation has received numerous international awards for its environmental programs, including awards from World Tourism and Travel Council, Conde Nast Traveler, Travel & Leisure, and National Geographic Traveler. His upcoming book, Waking the Sleeping Giant: Unlocking the Hidden Power of Business to Save Our Planet, uses examples from his vast experience in Punta Cana to demonstrate how companies can drive breakthroughs in sustainability.

Jake is the President of the National Association of Businesses for Environmental Protection (ECORED) in the Dominican Republic, an association of nearly 100 prominent companies committed to sustainability. ECORED has led efforts to create a “circular economy” through innovative community waste initiatives, while influencing national laws and public policy on solid waste management.

Jake co-directed and produced the award-winning documentary film Death by a Thousand Cuts, which explores Dominican-Haitian deforestation and escalating human conflict on the border. The film was acquired by Participant Media and Univision and screened at three dozen international film festivals.

Jake has a Master’s in Environmental Management from Cornell University and a B.A. from Wesleyan University.

Maria Villalpando

8th & 9th Grade:
Local Coral Conservation Strategies

14/4/2020, 11:15 A.M.

Maria Villalpando is a Biology: Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior B.S. graduated from the University of Texas at Austin. During her college career, she conducted research on Switchgrass ecology and evolution and its biofuel potential for 4 years at UT Austin, the effects of paternal pollen diversity on plant performance at the University of Bern in Switzerland, migrating butterfly population density at UT Austin, and comparative tropical ecosystem functions in Costa Rica. She was an intern at FUNDEMAR for four months in 2017 in which time she coordinated the student volunteer education program, coral garden maintenance trainings, and the documentation of the spawning of various coral species for the first time in the Dominican Republic. She was hired as the Program Coordinator for FUNDEMAR in April 2018 where she oversees and manages all of FUNDEMAR’s programs to enhance their efficiency and success, particularly the education and scientific monitoring programs.

Aldo Croquer

7th Grade:
Climate change and coral bleaching

14/4/2020, 9:45 A.M.

Aldo Croquer. Is a PhD in biology of organism graduated from Simon Bolivar University. During the past 20 years, he has dedicated to study coral reefs in the Caribbean region. Particularly he has worked on the effects of different stressors on coral reef health. For years he studied the dynamics of Caribbean coral diseases using different experimental approaches. He is currently the coral manager of TNC for the Dominican Republic.

Laura Díaz

Importance of Seagrass

4 – 5th Grade: 15/4/2020, 9:45 A.M.
9th Grade: 17/4/2020, 9:45 A.M.

Laura Díaz is a marine biologist and passionate about science. She studied Ecology and Environmental Management and recently completed a master’s degree in Marine Biology. Since 2016 she has worked in the area of environmental education, starting in the Children and Youth Library as coordinator of the Environmental Room “Greta Park”. In 2017 she participated in the monitoring of coral reefs carried out by Reef Check. After finishing her work at the Children’s Library, in 2018, she joined as a volunteer and then as an operations assistant, to the Deep Green Foundation in Boca Chica where she worked with important marine ecosystems such as phanerogams and coral meadows, also participating in the development of environmental education activities, monitoring and data collection of the specimens of the mangrove restoration carried out by that foundation.

Someira Zambrano

Fishing ban on marine species in the Dominican Republic

PK-K: 16/4/2020, 9:45 A.M.

Someira Zambrano works as Director of the Dominican Reef Network implementing strategic actions for the conservation of coral reefs in the Dominican Republic along with various public-private organizations. She is a geographer from Universidad Central de Venezuela with experience in coordinating projects related to legal and technical environmental management. She has worked with the management of coastal and marine protected areas in the field of environmental planning, contributing to the design and application of sustainable tools to regulate the use of natural resources

Aurelio Reyes

Our Humpback Whales

10th Grade:  16/4/2020, 11:15 A.M.

4th Grade:  17/4/2020, 11:15 A.M.

Aurelio Reyes is an environmental educator and communications manager at the Center for the Conservación y el Ecodesarrollo de la Bahía de Samaná y su Medio Ambiente (CEBSE), an NGO dedicated to biodiversity conservation and monitoring for the sustainable development of the Samaná Region. Their work is to help change the coastal communities’ perceptions of the ecosystems around them, with the intention of having them as conservation allies.

His favorite part of the job is scuba diving and being directly involved with biodiversity and activity that he has been doing for the past eight years, working with marine mammals and corals. He believes that with education, it is possible to awaken a love for our country in people’s minds. He dreams of a reality in which people value the wonders we have and with a generation of young people willing to break the traditionalism of environmental unconsciousness.

Jesús Gilberto Concepción

Development of a scientific mind

11 – 12th Grade:  13/4/2020, 10:30 A.M.

Dr. Concepción began his teaching career at the Universidad Nacional Pedro Henríquez Ureña (UNPHU), in the School of Chemistry, later being recognized as Professor Emeritus. He obtained a BS and Ph.D from the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras campus with a concentration in Organic Physical Chemistry in studies of dynamic systems of ionic pairs, he completed a Post-doctoral degree at Syracuse University, New York, USA.

He is a member of the Academy of Sciences of the Dominican Republic. Currently, his field of research is oriented to neuroscience. He has published more than three hundred papers in scientific and educational journals, and in high circulation newspapers with his column “Quality Matters”, he has also presented conferences in universities, congresses and management activities around the world. He has two books “Simply Quality” with three editions and “Wellbeing, the Unique Journey to Success”.

His publications in English and contributions to science can be obtained at https://www.researchgate.net./ and search under Jesús Gilberto Concepción.

Paola Tineo

Impact of sunscreens on coral reefs

11 – 12th Grade:  17/4/2020, 11:15 A.M.

She is a Doctor in Medicine and has a Bachelor in Interior Design. Self-taught environmentalist for 20 years. She has been teaching sustainability and quality of life at UNIBE since 2006. She wrote, for several years, for the magazine “La Casa” in her column ilovegreen on sustainable design. Also for the magazine Nuestros Hijos, about tips for an eco-friendly life. For the last two years she has contributed to the “Green Segment” of the radio program “12 y 2”, with Sergio Carlo and Karina Larrauri.

Facilitator and consultant on sustainability, climate change, healthy eating and eco-friendly lifestyles for children and adults. Co-writer of the “Guía Escolar para El Estudio De Ecosistemas de Agua Dulce: ríos y lagos” published in 2017, consulting for the Dominican National Commission for UNESCO (CNDU). For Universidad Iberoamericana (UNIBE) she designed and elaborated the programs and teaching strategies for subjects on Sustainability and Quality of Life. As representative of UNIBE for the Environmental Network of Dominican Universities (RAUDO), and together with the Council for Climate Change and Clean Development Mechanism and UN CC: Learn, trained more than 200 Higher Education teachers on Climate Change. She represented RAUDO in the Subcommittee Planet (belonging to the High Level Inter-Institutional Commission for Sustainable Development of the Dominican Republic), to work at the national level on SDG 6, 12,13,14,15, and to achieve an effective implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Creator of the weblog paolatineo.com and social networks @ecopaolatineo, where she provides tips for a healthy and eco-friendly life.

Founder of Zero by ecopaolatineo, the first store in the Dominican Republic under the Zero Waste philosophy. Zero By ecopaolatineo seeks to facilitate the acquisition of healthy and low environmental impact products, offering consumers plastic-free solutions. With this alternative, consumers can purchase personal hygiene, household cleaning and grocery products in non-plastic containers, reusable on each visit.

Sara Taveras & María Fernandez

The Importance or Recycling

1st – 2nd Grade:  16/4/2020, 10:30 A.M.

DAS Green Team was founded in November 2014. It is a club open to students, parents and teachers interested in environmental protection.

Mission Statement

It is the mission of the CDA Green Team to protect the environment by promoting sustainable initiatives among the ICDA community and to inspire others to actively incorporate green practices into their lifestyles.

Sara Taveras, the current DAS Green Team President, and Maria Fernandez, Club Member, will address the importance of recycling.

Dra. Yaneris Polanco

What is Pediatric Neurology and how to take care of COVID-19?

1st – 2nd Grade:  16/4/2020, 10:30 A.M.

Dr. Yaneris Polanco is a pediatric neurologist and a parent in our community. At DAS Virtual Science Week, she will be sharing with our 1st and 2nd grade students about her career, experience and educating the children on how they can take care of themselves from COVID-19.

How to make compost at home

8th Grade:  16/4/2020, 11:15 A.M.

Saiurys Bonet

Saiurys Bonet holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business and an  International Master’s Degree in Sustainable Development and Corporate Responsibility. Co-founder of Una Vaina Verde, a social enterprise that promotes and offers sustainable solutions in the Dominican Republic, including training, design, sustainable event production, and consulting services. Current Head of the Integrated Management System at Punta Catalina Thermoelectric Power Plant. Also works at Desde el Medio Group as strategic planner for projects and staff leader and general event coordinator.

Chris Kaput

Chris Kaput holds a Master’s of Science in  International Development Studies. Co-founder of Una Vaina Verde, a social enterprise that promotes and offers sustainable solutions in the Dominican Republic. Certified permaculture designer.  He is an independent development professional with a passion for creating positive impact through scalable, sustainable design solutions. Recent work has increasingly focused on efforts to integrate smallholder farmers in the global agricultural supply chain.