Dr. Alba-Rubio has a huge interest in increasing the engagement of underrepresented groups in science. She participates in the Women in STEMM Day of Meetings (WISDOM), Latino Youth Summit, and EXCEL programs that UToledo offers to Toledo Public Schools. These activities not only provide students with hands-on experiences, but also with an introduction to the welcoming environment offered by UToledo. Both graduate and undergraduates students also engage in these programs. This provides them with valuable teaching experience, while visiting students have the opportunity to interact with a diverse pool of students.
Women in STEMM Day of Meetings (WISDOM) program
Latino Youth Summit
Toledo EXCEL program
Ohio's migrant schools
To reach out to underrepresented groups in Ohio's rural community, Dr. Alba-Rubio also visit rural migrant schools. She has set up experiments related to catalytic conversion of biomass. Children of migrant farm workers are in direct contact with nature and biomass, and enjoy learning the myriad of products that can be obtained from it. Most Ohio migrant farm workers are of Hispanic descent, and the PI—being Hispanic—often provides demonstrations in both English and Spanish languages. She expects to serve as a role model to encourage the participation of members of this underrepresented group in science.
"Women Scientists Near You" coloring book
As part of the NSF CAREER award, Dr. Alba-Rubio plans to create a coloring book entitled "Women Scientists Near You." This book will have illustrations and biographies of women scientists in the Northwest Ohio area, and will highlight the excitement of being a scientist. Scientists are normal people with hobbies, friends, and families, so this book will not only cover their research fields, but also their personal/human aspects. This book aims to change students’ perception of scientists and will be distributed at primary schools in the Northwest Ohio area. This book will be geared towards girls and boys, since the whole society needs to change their vision of science and engineering. In order to cover a broader spectrum of the students in the region, the book will be distributed in English and Spanish.