The Grass Foundation invited Dr. Ulises Ricoy to be their first Director of Outreach Initiatives. This honor is the result of Ulises’ years of passion and dedication to outreach, to broadening access to neuroscience and neurophysiology via low cost approaches in rural and urban communities, and his diligence to paying attention to institutions with limited resources. In addition to this role at the national level, Ulises received a $20,000 (2020) grant to continue his efforts in the Southwest region. Given the current pandemic, Ulises will implement a virtual low-cost approach workshop in neurophysiology in his NSCS 195A student success course. The idea is to empower NSCS students (URM, first gen) in the course to become peer mentors to younger students in Tucson high schools Instructors and students. This is a fun way to retain students, build community, and do outreach! CONGRATULATIONS Ulises!
The Mission of the Grass Foundation is as follows:
The Grass Foundation assists in advancing knowledge in neuroscience. The Foundation promotes scientific excellence by enabling and catalyzing scientific discovery across, rather than within the confines of individual academic institutions. As part of this mission, the Foundation wants to make education in neuroscience and mechanistic scientific reasoning more broadly accessible, to communities where these approaches are not currently practiced. The Foundation recognizes that by broadly educating individuals that the function of neurons is a physical, mechanistic process that can be measured, it promotes the idea that the basis of experience and mental health is physical and understandable using the process and tools of science.
Infrastructure and equipment costs have been a major limiting factor that has constrained access to neurophysiological teaching and research. Technological advances, especially those in consumer electronics, have made it possible to create inexpensive and robust instruments for neurophysiology and, as a result, the Foundation invested in the development of high-quality research amplifiers in conjunction with Backyard Brains that are sufficiently inexpensive for this education and outreach mission.
The next step of the Foundation’s outreach mission was to investigate and demonstrate feasibility of ways to empower individuals with an interest in neuroscience and neurophysiology education in particular. The Foundation has funded workshops designed to provide equipment to train and disseminate neurophysiological approaches to teaching and research. These workshops have provided a viable model for promoting the Foundation’s core goals of scientific education in neuroscience. We now wish to take a further step to amplify and scale this outreach and education effort to communities that have limited resources. To this end, the Foundation is engaging a Director of The Grass Foundation Outreach Initiatives.