1. Leah Defenbaugh
  2. SciGirls Outreach Manager
  4. Twin Cities PBS
  1. Alicia Santiago
  2. Scientist and Cultural and Diversity Consultant
  4. Twin Cities PBS

CEREBROedu: Una Ventana al Cerebro


2020 (see original presentation & discussion)

Grades 6-8, Informal / multi-age

CEREBROedu: Una Ventana al Cerebro, funded by the National Institutes of Health’s Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA), provides culturally responsive Spanish/English educational programming and digital resources to Latinx middle school students and their families in underserved communities. By engaging 18 community-based organizations nationwide, this three-year project:


  • Uses current research to help Latinx youth learn about around structure and function of the healthy and unhealthy brain, including disorders such as Alzheimer’s, depression and epilepsy;
  • Encourages Latinx youth and their families to consider careers in neuroscience and/or brain health; and
  • Promotes mental health literacy among Latinx participants.


All CEREBROedu content is created and validated by neuroscience/mental health and cultural responsiveness experts, field-tested, refined, and independently evaluated. Resources include:


  • Bilingual (Spanish/English) programming for children and family members, featuring hands-on educational activities around neuroscience and mental health information;
  • Bilingual digital media assets including brief videos highlighting Latinx role models who work in neuroscience and mental health care professions; and
  • Professional development workshops for Latinx-serving informal STEM educators on best practices for integrating BRAINedu activities and media into their existing programming.


Working together, CEREBROedu youth, parents and educators will explore the incredible “supercomputer” we call the brain! Third-party evaluation will assess how/if CEREBROedu programming and media inspires greater STEM interest and participation among youth, and provides parents/caretakers with the resources they need to support their children’s STEM learning and career exploration. 

This video has had approximately 195 visits by 129 visitors from 80 unique locations. It has been played 63 times.
activity map thumbnail Click to See Activity Worldwide
Map reflects activity with this presentation from the 2020 STEM For All Video Showcase website, as well as the STEM For All Multiplex website.
Based on periodically updated Google Analytics data. This is intended to show usage trends but may not capture all activity from every visitor.
show more
Original Discussion from the 2020 STEM For All Video Showcase
  • Icon for: Leah Defenbaugh

    Leah Defenbaugh

    Lead Presenter
    SciGirls Outreach Manager
    May 4, 2020 | 12:43 p.m.

     Hello, Friends!

    Thank you for taking the time to watch our video! This project works to provide culturally competent programming and media resources about the brain’s structure and function, focusing on Latinx middle school students and their families. In this video, Salvador,  a speech language pathologist  discusses how he trains the brain to (do different tasks.) help children improve their speech.

    • What best practices do you see for engaging Latinx youth and their families?
    • How could you use a video like this at your organization?
    • What questions does this bring to mind about the brain?

    We are excited to start this conversation with you, and thanks!

    !Hola amigos!

    !Gracias por tomarse el tiempo de ver este video! El objetivo de este proyecto es proporcionar programación culturalmente competente y recursos multimedia sobre la estructura y función del cerebro, enfocándose en los estudiantes latinx de primaria y  secundaria y sus familias. En este video, Salvador, un patólogo del habla y lenguaje, habla sobre cómo entrena el cerebro para ayudar a los niños a mejorar su habla.

    - ¿Qué prácticas efectivas ves en este video  para involucrar a los jóvenes latinx y sus familias?

    - ¿Cómo podrías usar un video como este en tu organización?

    - ¿Qué preguntas te vienen en mente sobre el cerebro?

    Estamos emocionados de comenzar esta conversación contigo, ¡y gracias!

    Leah Defenbaugh and Alicia Santiago

  • Icon for: Alicia Santiago

    Alicia Santiago

    May 4, 2020 | 01:02 p.m.


    ¡Gracias por visitarnos! Nuestro proyecto, CEREBROedu: Una ventana al cerebro, financiado por los Institutos Nacionales de Salud, proporciona programas educativos y recursos bilingües digitales culturalmente competentes para estudiantes latinx de primaria y secundaria y sus familias en comunidades marginadas. Los recursos de CEREBROedu incluyen:

    • Programación bilingüe (español / inglés) para niños y familiares, con actividades educativas prácticas sobre neurociencia e información sobre salud mental;
    • Recursos de medios digitales bilingües que incluyen videos breves que destacan los modelos a seguir de Latinx que trabajan en las profesiones de neurociencia y cuidado de la salud mental; y
    • Talleres de desarrollo profesional para educadores sobre las mejores prácticas para integrar las actividades y los recursos multimedia de BRAINedu en su programación existente.

    CEREBROedu busca que los jóvenes, familias y educadores participantes:

    • Conozcan la estructura, función y ciertos trastornos del cerebro (Alzheimer’s, depression and epilepsy), así como las mejores prácticas y hábitos cotidianos que fomentan y mantienen la salud del cerebro;
    • Aumenten su conocimiento acerca de la neurociencia y las oportunidades profesionales que ofrece; y
    • Se sientan empoderados para discutir y buscar apoyo para trastornos cerebrales y afecciones de salud mental.

    Visita el sitio web de CEREBROedu para ver videos de modelos a seguir, explorar los talleres de desarrollo profesional, consultar actividades para jóvenes y materiales para familias, ¡y aprender más sobre el programa!

  • May 12, 2020 | 03:54 p.m.

    En nuestro programa, respondemos lingüísticamente a nuestros estudiantes multiculturales con varios educadores que dominan el español (desafortunadamente no yo). Los formularios de consentimiento de los padres están en inglés, español y árabe, y proporcionaremos otros si así lo solicita. Si vienes a Detroit, visita el Belle Isle Aquarium (115 años, hermoso y una parte integral de nuestra comunidad).

  • Icon for: Alicia Santiago

    Alicia Santiago

    May 12, 2020 | 05:05 p.m.

    Hola Jeffrey! Por lo que veo, sí dominas el español!  :)  Acabo de ver tu video sobre "Creating STEM Pathways in Detroit" y es maravilloso! Algunos de nuestros educadores dominan el español y otros trabajan con voluntarios que hablan español. La idea de proporcionar formularios de consentimiento para los padres en varios idiomas es muy buena. Nosotros proporcionamos formularios en inglés y español. 

    Hace ya algún tiempo que no voy a Detroit pero me encantaría regresar e ir a visitar el acuario de Belle Isle. Veo que es muy hermoso! Además me fascina la comida árabe y ahí tienen los mejores restaurantes! Es deliciosa!

    Sigamos en contacto. Nuestros proyectos tienen muchas similitudes y tal vez podamos colaborar en un futuro no muy lejano.

    Mil gracias por visitarnos y hasta pronto!  Cheers :)

  • Icon for: Leslie Koren

    Leslie Koren

    Assistant Professor of Media Arts
    May 5, 2020 | 05:55 p.m.

    What a wonderful project! Thank you for sharing! 

  • Icon for: Leah Defenbaugh

    Leah Defenbaugh

    Lead Presenter
    SciGirls Outreach Manager
    May 6, 2020 | 10:11 a.m.

    Thank you!

  • Icon for: Preeti Gupta

    Preeti Gupta

    May 5, 2020 | 10:07 p.m.

    It was a great video to watch. Can you please share more details about the project in terms of how many students you reach and the details of what you do curriculum-wise to meet your project goals?

  • Icon for: Leah Defenbaugh

    Leah Defenbaugh

    Lead Presenter
    SciGirls Outreach Manager
    May 6, 2020 | 10:20 a.m.

    Thanks for the comment, Preeti!

    Over the course of the grant, we will have a total of 18 partner organizations. Each organization is in charge of implementing the 32 hour CEREBROedu curriculum at least once. The curriculum includes hands-on and reflection activities focusing on the form and function of the brain, and can be found here:https://www.cerebroedu.org/for-educators. We are also evaluating and adjusting the curriculum after each year (we are in such a phase now). 

    In order to reach our goals, we are taking a full family approach, including:

    1. Requiring welcome and culminating events for families,

    2. Sending home a family guide with activities and videos to watch, and

    3. Ensuring all family materials are available in Spanish and English so families can have these discussions in whichever language they feel most comfortable.

    In 2022, we plan on officially releasing all assets, guidebooks, etc more widely.

    Hope this helps!

  • Icon for: Liz Diaz- Vazquez

    Liz Diaz- Vazquez

    May 6, 2020 | 07:13 p.m.

    I really appreciate your group efforts to provide equal opportunities to our latin communities! Congratulations on this great project!

    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Ashley Vazquez Negron
  • Icon for: Leah Defenbaugh

    Leah Defenbaugh

    Lead Presenter
    SciGirls Outreach Manager
    May 6, 2020 | 08:59 p.m.

    Thank you, Liz!

  • Icon for: Nickolay Hristov

    Nickolay Hristov

    May 7, 2020 | 12:42 p.m.

    Great video!  Besides this video or others like it, can you explain at least one of the BRAINedu activities that Latinx serving STEM educators are trained to integrate into their programming?  Can you give an example of one of the 18 community-based organizations that you are partnering with for this project?

  • Icon for: Alicia Santiago

    Alicia Santiago

    May 7, 2020 | 03:05 p.m.

    Hi Nickolay!

    I’m so happy you liked the video! The BRAINedu activities are organized in four modules that focus on mapping of the brain, how the brain works, the brain in action, and the brain’s link to behavior. An extremely popular activity from module 1 (mapping of the brain) involves the dissection of a sheep brain. Youth work in groups to dissect a sheep brain, identify the main parts and engage in observations and discussions about differences and similarities between human and sheep brains. They become familiar with the physical characteristics of the brain and discuss why scientist use animals to learn about the brain. These are some quotes from educators related to this activity:

    I think this is a great first lesson not only because the brain structure is being discussed, but because there is such a memorable activity this day (brain dissection). Good thinking. (No pun intended.)”

    “This is probably my favorite lesson. As a science major I took delight in getting to know more about the function of the brain. The dissection part was very well done and gave a great insight about the brain structure”.

    There are between 3 and 4 activities per module. Each module ends with a reflection activity that helps youth organize and process their learning. It allows youth to reflect on their work; what they learned, liked, disliked, and what they accomplished. Also, educators ask questions to prompt critical thinking and help students identify connections to previous learning and their lives.

    Educators use role model videos, like the one you saw, to learn about diverse Latinx professionals whose careers tie to the activities completed by youth. The goal is to increase youth awareness about the different careers in neuroscience and mental health and provide them with relatable role models that inspire them to envision themselves pursuing these careers.

    Educators running the programs receive online training to empower them to engage Latinx youth and their families around learning about the brain structure and function. They also learn how to spark discussions about neuroscience educational and career pathways, use role models in their programming, and talk about mental health.

    We are currently partnering with 18 Latinx-serving organizations across the country. Here is a link to our partners: https://www.cerebroedu.org/partners

    One of our great partners is OregonASK - or Oregon afterschool for kids. They collaborate with many public and private organizations to implement programs for children, youth, and families throughout Oregon. For the CEREBRO project OregonASK worked with a farm workers housing partner. This partner offers diverse programs to farmworkers and their families, including education and health programs.   They were very successful in implementing the program and are looking forward to continuing to work with us.

    Thanks again Nickolay and let us know if you have any more questions. Cheers!



  • Icon for: Nickolay Hristov

    Nickolay Hristov

    May 10, 2020 | 02:17 p.m.

    Alicia, thank you for the detailed responses, linked information and slice through the thinking and responses of your participants.  Seeing the other videos in the program was very helpful as well.

    Showcasing accomplished professionals is a clever idea that bridges the seemingly endless arc of education to professional expression.  Computer Science programs around the world are dealing with similar issues – students get lost in the minutia of coding languages and technical education and seemingly forget that all of it leads to the polished interfaces on our computer screens, increasingly in our smart homes and very soon, our self-driving cars.  This aspect of your project tackles that very eloquently.

    I also like how playful are these short films.  Clearly, with PBS expertise, you are masters of the story domain and that shows – a relatable, come-along narrative, that feels like a story rather than a promotional material.  This approach to science communication is still, unfortunately, so rare.  To help capture the full scope of the project, and to Martin’s and Preeti’s points above, it will be helpful to pull back even further and bring in the other elements of the fascinating work that you are doing.  You clearly know how to do it very well! 

  • May 7, 2020 | 11:05 p.m.

    Great work.  So important to understand how brain plasticity works, and the importance of repetition and contextualized experiences.  Is this a curriculum that helped Salvador in his work and you are evaluating its efficacy? Is this a curriculum that Salvador utilizes and you are researching its impact on work in Speech Language Pathology? 

  • Icon for: Alicia Santiago

    Alicia Santiago

    May 8, 2020 | 04:08 p.m.

    Thanks for your comment Michael! Salvador’s video, and 5 other videos, are part of a role model video profile series being used by informal educators for a culminating reflection activity for each of the program’s four modules of instruction about the brain (Module 1/Brain Structure; Module 2/Brain Connections; Module 3/ Brain in Action; Module 4/Brain and behavior).

    The five videos highlight Latinx role models who work in neuroscience and mental health care professions. The role models include Salvador, a speech pathologist (this video); Marlene, a family therapist; Cori, a psychology student; Raquel, a psychology professor; and two more videos that will be added soon and include an MRI tech from Cuba living in Florida, and a neurology nurse from Puerto Rico, also living in Florida who works in a pain management clinic.

    The curriculum from each module is implemented by educators from each of our partner organizations (18 partners across the nation) who have been trained on how to engage Latinx youth in learning about the brain, and are skillful at providing the hands-on, inquiry-based activities included in each module.

    At the end of each module, youth watch one of the role model videos and reflect about what they liked and learned about the video;  make connections about what they learned in the module to the video, and have discussions about the role model’s job, family life, challenges and successes. The goal of the videos is to inspire and motive youth to pursue a career in neuroscience or mental health.

    Hope this answer your questions and thanks for watching our video! BTW, I saw your video about mathematical reasoning through movement, and it is pretty cool! It's a very interesting project! It is interesting to think how gestures can help us learn and change our minds! This could be an interesting topic for our curriculum! Something to think about  : )


  • Icon for: Martin Storksdieck

    Martin Storksdieck

    May 8, 2020 | 02:24 p.m.

    The video is a wonderful feature of Salvador, his work, and his life, and how elements of culture, history and sections of his life intersect. I love that. I read the comments above and still struggle, though, to understand the project. Something about brain plasticity, helping families, bit is it about using insights into brain plasticity as a theoretical foundation to craft interventions that help kids in need, or is it teaching about brain plasticity (kids seem young), or is it using principles from neuroscience in supporting bilingual education? The project description above indicates middle-school aged kids, but Salvador seems to work with younger kids. 

    Am I correct to assume that this video is actually not meant to discuss the project, but as indicated above, is to feature jobs that apply brain science in support of commiunities?

  • Icon for: Alicia Santiago

    Alicia Santiago

    May 8, 2020 | 04:25 p.m.

    Hi Martin! Thanks for visiting us!  :)   And yes, with these videos, we want youth to learn about and become aware of diverse careers in neuroscience and mental health. As I told Michael (see my response to Michael above), the videos are part of a culminating activity for each module. We want youth to see people like them succeed in these careers which will hopefully motivate them to learn more about the brain and pursue a career in neuroscience or mental health. Here is the link to the other videos https://vimeopro.com/user10550772/cerebroedu-profiles-for-partner-organization-review

    These videos are also shared at family celebrations organized by each of our partners. During these events, families also get connected to in person role models including neuroscientists and mental health professionals that in many instances help facilitate hands-on activities and have discussions with youth and families about their careers path, job and family life.

    Thanks again Martin, and let me know if you have any other question.  Cheers!


  • Icon for: Hannah Sevian

    Hannah Sevian

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 9, 2020 | 10:18 p.m.

    Gracias por compartir su video. Me gustaría comprender más sobre el diseño de su video. También en nuestras escuelas en Boston hay mucha gente Latinx que preservan su cultura de origen e idioma con sus familias. En nuestro proyecto, trabajamos con maestros de química para fortalecer su diseño de lecciones y sus interacciones con los estudiantes de maneras más receptiva. Alentamos a los maestros a utilizar modalidades más allá del lápiz y el papel, que incluyen, por supuesto, trabajo de laboratorio, pero también videos, modelos moleculares, software de modelado, etc. Con respecto a los videos, estoy interesada en aprender formas en que los maestros puedan diseñar videos que sean más receptivos, especialmente ahora cuando es más común durante Covid-19. Veo que la historia personal de Salvador da la bienvenida a los espectadores del video al compartir la vida personal de Salvador. ¿Es este método de dar la bienvenida a los espectadores parte de su teoría general de acción?

  • Icon for: Alicia Santiago

    Alicia Santiago

    May 11, 2020 | 12:51 p.m.

    Hola Hannah! Gracias por visitarnos. Que gusto saber que tú también trabajas con estudiantes y familias Latinx :)

    Los videos de CEREBROedu son un elemento muy importante de nuestro programa. Uno de los objetivos de este proyecto es aumentar el interés de los jóvenes en carreras relacionadas con la neurociencia. Los videos tienen como objetivo dar a conocer a los estudiantes y sus familias la gran variedad de carreras profesionales que existen en el área de neurociencias y salud mental. Una manera efectiva de hacer esto es a través de videos de modelos a seguir como el de Salvador. Con estos videos, se busca que los jóvenes se identifiquen con personas como ellos que han luchado cada día por alcanzar sus sueños y tener éxito en su vida profesional y personal. Personas como Salvador inspiran a los estudiantes y los animan a seguir interesándose por la neurociencia y a seguir carreras en éstas áreas. 

    Efectivamente, mostrar la vida personal de Salvador es parte de nuestra teoría general de acción para lograr que los videos sean más receptivos. Con ello buscamos que los jóvenes y (sus familias) se identifiquen con los profesionistas que se muestran en los videos. Esto sucede al darse cuenta de que estos profesionistas son personas como ellos, con familias con características semejantes a las de los estudiantes, y que han enfrentado diferentes retos durante su vida y carrera profesional. Esto hace que muchos estudiantes se identifiquen con ellos y se vean a sí mismos como futuros psicólogos, patólogos del habla y lenguaje como Salvador, neurólogos, neurocientíficos, etc. Los videos también ayudan a desafiar los prejuicios y estereotipos que existen sobre Latinx en STEM en relación a su potencial intelectual y habilidades para la ciencia.   Con los videos se busca empoderar a los jóvenes Latinx para que sigan por el camino de la ciencia.

    Mil gracias nuevamente Hannah por interesarte en nuestro proyecto! Cheers! :)


  • Icon for: Preeti Gupta

    Preeti Gupta

    May 10, 2020 | 01:47 p.m.

    I am interested in hearing your thoughts about why you focused on Latinx communities with this topic? It seems that when talking about the brain, we could be talking to all different kinds of communities. How children learn, how we use the affordances of how the brain develops to modify our teaching practices are all relevant to all..but I do think that how enactment of these lessons happens has to be culturally connected. Tell us more about your theoretical basis for the project. What makes the curriculum culturally relevant?

  • Icon for: Leah Defenbaugh

    Leah Defenbaugh

    Lead Presenter
    SciGirls Outreach Manager
    May 11, 2020 | 10:31 a.m.

    Hi, Preeti!

    Great questions. Twin Cities PBS has a long history of telling the stories of underserved populations around STEM. In every one of our grants, we research and/or evaluate needs, programs, and how we can best serve underserved audiences. During our research (which can be found here), we found that Latinx youth were far less likely to be engaged in STEM, leading to fewer Latinx people pursuing STEM careers. Neuroscience is no exception. In 2018, 5% of psychologists were Hispanic, vs. 18% of the population as a whole. Focusing specifically on Latinx youth does not mean we think this is the only demographic group that is underserved. For instance, that same report noted that 4% of the psychology workforce is Black vs 12% of the population. However, we chose to focus on Latinx youth because of the intersection between the need for programming they see themselves in, along with the small neuroscience workforce participation, meaning a lack of role models for Latinx youth.

    We focused on several factors in order to achieve cultural competency:

    - A strong family component, with family days at the camp, along with a family guide with activities and discussion topics.

    - A requirement to provide in person and video role models that are all Latinx. This connects youth with possible career paths and families with possible local services. 

    - Activities reviewed by our team and advisors to ensure cultural competence. These activities can definitely work for youth that are not Latinx, but we ensure that they are engaging and practice the low floor, high ceiling model of academic engagement: youth can come in no matter with little background or a lot of background, and learning will still occur.

    - Reflections and tie-ins to youth's everyday lives. This is a best practice in education writ large, but especially important for marginalized youth as they encounter subjects.

    - Yearly iteration based on ongoing evaluation. We do not expect to get it all right the first try, and thank the educators, families, and youth that are implementing this program for their honest feedback.

  • Further posting is closed as the event has ended.

Multiplex Discussion
  • Post to the Discussion

    If you have an account, please login before contributing. New visitors may post with email verification.

    For visitors, we require email verification before we will post your comment. When you receive the email click on the verification link and your message will be made visible.



    NOTE: Your email will be kept private and will not be shared with any 3rd parties