Jorge Nicolas (Nico) Hernandez-Charpak, STROBE'S Assistant Director of Research and Knowledge Transfer, has been recognized for his outstanding work to diversify the field of physics. He received the CU President’s Diversity Award in April.
The CU President’s Diversity Award recognizes CU faculty, staff and students who work to develop a culturally and intellectually diverse university community. Each award comes with a $2,000 prize.
Throughout his career, Hernandez-Charpak has worked to diversify the field of physics—from mentoring graduate and undergraduate STEM students to organizing panels of LatinX scientists to speak about STEM careers. As part of STROBE, he helped secure a six-year, $4 million National Science Foundation award between Fort Lewis College (a non-tribal Native American Serving Institution in the Four Corners region), Norfolk State University (a member of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities), and the STROBE NSF Science and Technology Center for Real-Time Functional Imaging at CU Boulder. This led to the Partnership for Education and the Advancement of Quantum and nanoSystems (PEAQS), a new partnership with the STROBE Science and Technology Center.
In two years PEAQS has already created a vibrant research community of 12 undergraduate student researchers, and trained more than two dozen undergraduate students and graduate students through research activities. The student cohort is very diverse - with 37% female and nearly 50% underrepresented minorities.
In addition to research and training, Hernandez-Charpak designed PEAQS to provide students with cross-institutional exchanges, access to diverse mentors, professional development and communications training, and engaging the K-12 community—all of which build skills they need to be successful scientists. PEAQS also reaches out to diverse populations of high school students, paving a university pathway for a diverse new class of science and engineering students.
Hernandez-Charpak also co-founded CU-Prime and LatinoLabs. CU-Prime serves hundreds of STEM undergraduate students each semester—organizing professional workshops, talks, and discussions by his fellow graduate students. LatinoLabs is a podcast featuring LatinX scientists and covering the exciting world of research.
“He is truly an outstanding candidate, with exceptional leadership abilities in the area of diversity, that are having a sustained long-term impact on the CU community and beyond, including the state of Colorado and the US,” STROBE Director Margaret Murnane said.