Born and raised in Mexico City, Rice Creek Director Lucina Hernandez always had dreams of becoming successful in life, especially in the area of science. As a child, she loved animals and was certain that she wanted to pursue a profession in science as an adult.
“When I was a child, my dream was to go to Africa to study animals,” Hernandez said Wednesday afternoon. “I dream, I dream, I dream to work with animals.”
Hernandez presented her trials and triumphs while being a woman ecologist in Mexico as part of Liberal Arts and Sciences lecture series on in Sheldon Hall.
Her appointments to director of Rice Creek Field Station and Assistant Professor of Biology at Oswego State in 2008 has helped further her research, work and publications within the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) field.
Hernandez area of specialty is in ecology and conversation with research interests in various areas including mammal biodiversity, predator-prey interactions and impact of the global change in terrestrial mammal communities.
She has worked with more than 45 publications and is known worldwide for her work in ecology and conservation. Hernandez will be recognized in the month of April at the International Conference of Biology Diversity in China.
Hernandez was able to gain a great amount of experience by working for Gonzalo Halffter, who created the Institute of Ecology. She was able to gain connections with scientists in the U.S. through the institute’s creation of Biosphere Reserves in 1970.
In addition, Hernandez worked for various biospheres in Mexico such as the Mapimi Biosphere in 1976. The biosphere protected endangered Bolson tortoise species, which are the largest tortoise species found in North America. La Michilia Biosphere was another reservation that Hernandez worked on, which protected the endangered species of Mexican wolf.
Although Hernandez gained many experiences within the field of ecology, she faced many trials in order to become a successful woman in science. “People brought me down by telling me that I should not study biology, instead I should do some work with flowers,” Hernandez said.
“My wedding was more important than my PH.D to my family,” Hernandez said about one of her trials.
“As I arrived in America and came to SUNY Oswego. I was surprised to see that the president of the school was a woman and that many women held high positions,” Hernandez said. She was used to seeing men in high positions and in many areas of the workforce.
Despite all of the trials Hernandez faced, she made triumphs by becoming the first woman to become the director of the bio-reserves at the branch of Durango at the Institute of Ecology.
“My main goal is being able to facilitate research experiences to students and many women,” Hernandez said. She added “I think it’s important for professors to have a relationship with students and watching them succeed.”
Hernandez said her biggest commitment is to help her students to make their dreams a reality.
“All of us have dreams, some of us have dreams close to us, but we do not see it,” she said. “It is the help of the professors to help students achieve their dreams.”
Oswego State will present a series of lectures based on women is in STEM professions. Lectures are free to the public and will be held in Sheldon Hall Historic Classroom (Room 222) at 4 p.m. on Wednesdays until the month of May.