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Virtual Saturday Research Academy

Citizen Diplomacy Action Fund Award

The Computer Science (CS) project at the Virtual Saturday Research Academy (VSRA) started during the last weeks of October 2021. A virtual meeting between the team leaders and team members in Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and Moscow was coordinated to start the recruitment process for each site. The registration forms were received and approved by the team leader committee. The first academy class started on October 23, 2021, at 9:00 am (site time). Now the project is running on all three sites. The Agenda, Registration, and parents' authorization are available for download.


Dr. Juan Arratia

Research Professor and Mentor at the Scientific Caribbean Foundation

San Juan, PR VRSA Site

Dr. Juan F. Arratia was born in Pomaire, Chile. He graduated from Universidad Técnica del Estado with a BS in Electrical Engineering in 1973.  He was awarded an MSc in Engineering from Louisiana Tech University, Ruston, Louisiana, in 1979 and a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri in 1985.  He has taught and conducted research at universities in Chile (Universidad Técnica del Estado and Universidad Austral de Chile), Puerto Rico (Universidad Interamericana de Puerto Rico and the University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez), and in the US mainland at Washington University, St. Louis, and Louisiana Tech University, Ruston, Louisiana.  He has lectured and given conferences on advanced automation, robotics, vision systems, artificial intelligence, total quality management, and science and engineering education in Chile, Bolivia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Panama, Mexico, Brazil, Nicaragua, Perú, Canada, Spain, the Netherlands, Turkey, Japan, Philippines, Singapore, Australia, China, Puerto Rico and in the US mainland. He was the Advanced Manufacturing Manager for Medtronic, Inc., a leading pacemaker company, and is a consultant in advanced automation for pharmaceutical and medical devices companies in Puerto Rico. From 1998 to 2008, he was the Director and Principal Investigator of the Model Institutions for Excellence (MIE) Project, a National Science Foundation-sponsored program based at Universidad Metropolitana in San Juan, Puerto Rico.  From 2008 to 2018, he was the Executive Director of the Ana G. Méndez University System (AGMUS) Student Research Development Center, designed to disseminate MIE best practices at Universidad del Turabo and Universidad del Este. For twenty years he was part of AGMUS and during his tenure, he wrote a proposal to NSF and was awarded more than 85 million USD for MIE, CCCE, AGMUS Institute of Mathematics, MRI-AMISR, MRI-Puerto Rico Laser, Administration of Arecibo Observatory among others. For his contribution to research activities, impacting pre-college and undergraduate students from Puerto Rico, in November 2007, he was awarded the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring at a ceremony in the White House in Washington DC.  From 2018 to the present he is the President of Scientific Caribbean Foundation in San Juan Puerto Rico. In October 2021, he was awarded the grant Citizen Diplomacy Action Fund (CDAF), funded by the US Department of State, impacting with research experiences, pre-college and undergraduates from Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, and Russia.

Leonid Zotov

Research Professor and Mentor

Moscow, Russia VRSA Site

Leonid Zotov is a senior researcher at Sternberg Astronomical Institute, Lomonosov Moscow State University, and associate professor of Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia. His research field includes Earth rotation, climate change, filtering methods. He has published over 50 papers and reads several lecture courses at Moscow University and Higher School of Economics. He worked at Wuhan University, The Ohio State University, Shanghai, and Paris observatory. He was a Fulbright scholar in the USA in 2009, a nominee of President of Russia grant in 2010, Chinese Academy of Sciences Young Visiting Scientist in 2011-2012, participant of Wuhan university's innovation and talent introduction “111” program in China since 2017. He defended his thesis "The study of links between the Earth rotation and Geophysical processes"  at Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia in 2019.

Petri Dishes


Research Professor and Mentor

Dominican Republic VRSA

Research information here


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Futuristic Car

Dr. Baker Abdalhaq
Fulbright Visiting Scholar at University of Colorado, Boulder


Overview of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

November 20, 2021, 9:00 am



Car Design

Dr. Said Alem
Fulbright Visiting Scholar

Autonomous Systems
 November 27, 2021, 9:00 am

Dr. Pei Jane
Fullbright Visiting Sholar

Bacteriology in the 21th Century

December 4, 2021, 9:00 am



Fulbright Talks

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