Search Currents Currents Archives Contact Currents UC Santa Cruz Home Page
Currents Online

January 22, 2007

Biologist Martha Ziga contributes to book on Latina scientists

By Tim Stephens

Martha Zúñiga, professor of molecular, cell, and developmental biology, has contributed her personal story to a new book of essays by Latina scientists. Flor y ciencia: Chicanas in Mathematics, Science and Engineering, published in 2006 by the Adalante Project, is intended to encourage and inspire young Latina students interested in careers in science.

Photo of Martha Zuniga

Martha Zúñiga

"We would like to be able to distribute free copies of the book to high school students," Zúñiga said. "A common question we hear from students is, 'How did you get to where you are now?'"

The idea for the book emerged from a workshop funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) at a 2003 meeting of Mujeres Activas en Letras y Cambio Social (MALCS, Women Active in Letters and Social Change). The group obtained additional funding for the project from NSF and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and Zúñiga was invited to contribute an essay. Aída Hurtado, professor of psychology at UCSC and a member of MALCS, wrote the introduction to the book.

Zúñiga said she doesn't think she had to overcome as many obstacles as some of the other contributors to the book--her parents were teachers and she was not the first in her family to go to college. Nevertheless, her path was not easy, and the story of how she persevered to forge a successful career in science is full of valuable insights.

As Hurtado noted in the introduction, "The contributors to this volume have led extraordinary lives... [yet] they see their lives as ordinary, fulfilling, and achievable by anybody that puts their mind and heart to it. The message that rings loud and clear is 'You too can do it because I did and I'm no different from you.'"

Email this story
Printer-friendly version
Return to Front Page