As an alumna of the Health Sciences Academy of the Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health herself, Vanessa Vales-Lewis now gives back to the place that inspired her passion, combining her love of education and the sciences to inspire the next generation of under-represented STEM professionals.
Vanessa’s love for the sciences was ignited by participating in the anatomy and physiology classes at the Health Sciences Academy, but it was not until she began tutoring students in college, that Vanessa found her true calling in science education. As a first-generation American born Afro/Indo-Carribean student, Vanessa saw a much-needed role for herself to address the chronic shortage of minorities in the healthcare and STEM fields. Vanessa now dedicates her life to bridging the gap in academic achievement for students of color. By serving as an outstanding leader and inspiring role model for her students, Vanessa reaches out to college-bound youth through innovative programming and hands on anatomy and physiology curricula to create and sustain positive change within her community, helping to foster the next generation of health professionals.
With over ten years of educational experience, Vanessa updates curricula to address the students’ emerging learning needs and strives to inspire her students to be life-long learners, reminding them, “Science changes every day, what we learn today can be modified tomorrow. If you don’t believe me, let’s count how many planets we have in our current solar system!” Vanessa holds a BA in Biology from Northeastern University, MA in Teaching Adolescent Sciences from CUNY Brooklyn College, and is pursuing a PhD in Urban Education – Science, Mathematics and Technology/Learning Sciences from the CUNY Graduate Center. Upon receiving her doctoral degree, Vanessa plans to continue her research working with educational leaders to bridge the STEM education gap by developing and implementing effective educational strategies that appeal to under-represented and underserved students.