Written by Dwight Bachman
Willimantic. Conn: -- On Aug. 25, the Connecticut Latino and Puerto Rican Affairs Commission (LPRAC) presented Carmen Cid, dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at Eastern Connecticut State University, a "Latina Citizen of the Year" award at its annual award ceremony in New Haven. Cid was honored for two decades of work to enhance the career development of Latinas in the sciences.
Cid grew up in Havana, Cuba, and emigrated with her family to Brooklyn, NY, in 1968. She was fortunate to be encouraged by her parents and Cuban elementary school teachers to explore her interests in science, nature, music and foreign languages. Mentored by dedicated and forward-thinking guidance counselors, biology and music teachers and supported by Upward Bound and ASPIRA programs, she gained early admission to New York University after her junior year in high school.
Cid earned a B.A. in Biology from New York University, where she developed a love for plant ecology after taking a class that bussed students from Greenwich Village to the forests and wetlands of New York and New Jersey on Saturdays. Cid obtained a master's degree and Ph.D. in ecology from Ohio State University and Michigan State University, respectively, where women pioneers in ecology became her career mentors, the first time she had encountered women science professors.
Roberto C. Fernandez, a LPRAC Commissioner and the director of financial aid at Quinebaug Valley Community College, presents Cid with the "Latina Citizen of the Year" award.
For decades, Cid was the only Hispanic woman in plant ecology in the United States.
Cid has 28 years of experience in higher education and has received various awards for her work to improve representation and career development for women and minorities in the sciences. In 1991, she chaired the first Women and Minorities Committee of the Ecological Society of America (ESA), developing the first comprehensive human diversity and education plan for ESA.
Cid is proudest of her award-winning "Project Wonderwise" multimedia science education program, titled "The Urban Ecologist," which integrates her wetland ecology research done on Eastern's campus wetlands with interactive software to help 4th-6th graders explore nature in both English and Spanish. This is the only bilingual science education
multimedia kit highlighting a Latina ecologist, with her own Spanish translations of field trip videos, classroom inquiry activities and innovative field exploration software. It is part of the
4-H and USDA national curriculum for after-school programs in 27 states.
Currently Cid's mentoring activities focus on training deans and department chairs nationally how to develop university-wide models of inclusive excellence to enhance career development for all students and faculty, through her efforts as Co-Principal Investigator of a Council of Colleges of Arts (CCAS). Cid serves as a member of the CCAS board of directors and has a National Science Foundation grant to help promote career development of women in the sciences.