Tampa, FL (Sept. 30, 2013) – Tickets are still available to the Museum of Science & Industry’s annual fundraiser – the National Hispanic Scientist of the Year gala on Saturday, Oct. 12, at 7 p.m. This year, the gala honors Raúl Cuero, Ph.D., renowned inventor and president/research director of the International Park of Creativity in Bogota, Colombia.
A Scientific Research Collaborator at NASA, Dr. Cuero invented the technology to eliminate and destroy toxic and radio-nuclide contaminants using Martian Simulant Soil. This technology was selected as one of the three most important to the environment in the global MOOT CORP competition in Austin, Texas. Dr. Cuero also has been published in more than 110 scientific journals and was recognized as outstanding alumni of the year for his inventions and contributions to science by the University of Heidelberg.
Proceeds from the gala fund “Meet the Hispanic Scientist” day (Friday, Oct. 11), where more than 1,300 students from underserved communities and low-income schools will enjoy an exciting day of mentoring with Dr. Cuero, along with access to more than 450 MOSI hands-on exhibits. MOSI is a non-profit, community-based institution and a leader in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) education dedicated to making a difference in people’s lives by making science real. Event proceeds also help fund MOSI’s educational programming, including the YES! (Youth Enriched by STEAM) Team, an educational enrichment and vocational training program designed to help at-risk youth develop and progress in a supportive, peer-group environment.
“The gala is so rewarding to everyone who attends because they can see first-hand the impact that Dr. Cuero has had on these kids,” said Wit Ostrenko, MOSI president. “Making a difference in people’s lives by making science real is MOSI’s mission and Dr. Cuero’s legacy.”
The original development of MOSI’s National Hispanic Scientist of the Year award and fundraiser was prompted in 2000 when statistics showed an alarmingly high dropout rate for Hispanic students. Department of Education research shows that Hispanics are more likely to drop out of high school than any other ethnic group in the U.S. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the 2008 dropout rate for Hispanic students was 18.3% compared to 9.9% for African Americans and 4.8% for Caucasians. 
MOSI will present this year’s National Hispanic Scientist of the Year award to Cuero during a gala award ceremony on Saturday, Oct. 12, at 7 p.m. For tickets to the gala, visit mosi.org or call 813-987-6030.
Additional information on Cuero
Dr. Cuero also is the president and research director of the International Park of Creativity (IPOC). IPOC’s objectives are to create young inventors under the mentorship of inventors, to create and/or invent new technologies and products for global markets, implement scientific research and developments for diverse industries and/or other institutions seeking new technologies and products for a competitive global market, and to be a “Think Tank” center for economic, social, scientific and technological development.
During his professional career, Dr. Cuero was one of the first scientists to go to China and South Africa to lecture on biotechnology in 1986. He has been published in more than 110 scientific journals in the fields of biology, microbiology, molecular biology and synthetic biology. He has received an Honorary Doctorate of Science from the University of Antioquia, Colombia, for his scientific contributions and an Honorary Doctorate in Humanities from the University of Caldas, Colombia, for his scientific contributions that benefit society. He has received the title of Commander granted by the Mayor of Manizales, thanks to his contributions to the city of Manizales and for the development of young scientists and inventors. He also received the 2012 Colombian Leadership Award for outstanding performance in science and technology. Dr. Cuero was the 2011 Keynote speaker at the World DNA and Genome Congress, as well as the keynote speaker on biochips and biosensors at the world congress on molecular medicine in China in 2012.
About MOSI (Museum of Science & Industry)
MOSI is a not-for-profit, community-based institution and educational resource dedicated to advancing public interest, knowledge, and understanding of science, industry, and technology, and is home to the only IMAX® DOME Theatre in the state of Florida. With a total size of more than 400,000 square feet, MOSI is the largest science center in the southeastern United States. Learn through play inside Kids In Charge! the largest Children’s Science Center in the nation; The Amazing You—a 13,000-square-foot exhibition on health and wellness; or Disasterville, featuring Bay News 9 WeatherQuest, which combines education and 10,000 square feet of interactive exhibits on the science behind natural disasters. Conquer your fears on MOSI’s Sky Trail® Ropes Course, featuring 35 elements on a 12 – 36-foot-high, multilevel structure, or soar 700 feet on the Sky Trail Zip Line. Budding inventors can engineer anything imaginable and hold it in the palm of their hand in MOSI’s new technology playground and inventor’s studio, Idea Zone, and preschoolers can experiment with friction and collision physics in Slippery Science, a PNC Passport to Science – Grow Up Great Initiative. Additionally, MOSI recently unveiled its newest exhibition Mission: Moonbase, funded in part by NASA, where guests can travel to the moon to operate a lunar colony. MOSI is the proud winner of the 2009 National Medal for Museums by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the nation’s highest honor for museums. For more information on MOSI, visit www.mosi.org.
Former MOSI National Hispanic Scientist of the Year Award honorees
Dr. Nora D. Volkow (2012), Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse at the National Institutes of Health; Cristián Samper (2011), Director of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History; Dr. Dan Arvizu (2010), Director and Chief Executive of the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory; Dr. Nils J. Diaz (2009), chair of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission; Dr. Lydia Villa-Komaroff (2008), molecular biologist; Dr. Louis A. Martin-Vega (2007), industrial engineer; Dr. Inés Cifuentes (2006), seismologist; Dr. Edmond J. Yunis (2005), physician, researcher, Harvard professor; Dr. Antonia Coello Novello (2004), former U.S. Surgeon General; Dr. Mario Molina (2003), Nobel Laureate in Chemistry; Fernando “Frank” Caldeiro (2002), NASA Astronaut; Dr. Alejandro Acevedo-Gutiérrez (2001), Marine Biologist.