National Geographic Explorer Mireya Mayor joins FIU

MIAMI, Oct. 3, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Mireya Mayor has joined Florida International University as director of the Exploration and Science Communications Initiative in the College of Arts, Sciences & Education.

She is developing an innovative program to help scientists effectively communicate complex topics in straightforward and exciting ways to many audiences including government officials, news media and the general public.

"There has never been a more important time for scientists to know how to communicate their work and to engage publicly on the vital role that science plays in understanding and tackling the critical issues and challenges of our time," Mayor said.

Mayor's ultimate goal is to help restore public confidence in the important work being done by scientists -- work that can save lives, heal the planet and ultimately, improve the quality of life for people all across the world. She also serves as a spokesperson for the slate of environmental initiatives within the college.

"Dr. Mayor's experiences will help our scientists improve how they communicate and help bring the environmental solutions we are developing to the public and decision makers," said Mike Heithaus, dean of FIU's College of Arts, Sciences & Education.

Mayor is an anthropologist, wildlife correspondent, author, National Geographic Explorer, National Science Foundation Fellow, and Fulbright Scholar who has spent most of her career reporting on wildlife and habitat loss while advocating for solutions to the alarming trends. She is the author of Pink Boots and a Machete: My Journey from NFL Cheerleader to National Geographic Explorer, which chronicles her unconventional career path.

The daughter of Cuban immigrants, Mayor grew up in Miami and attended the University of Miami earning bachelor's degree in anthropology and English. She spent four years as a Miami Dolphins cheerleader before setting off to one of the most remote regions of the Amazon where she immersed herself with the local tribes.

The following year, Mayor completed the first ever long-term and genetic studies of two critically endangered primates -- Perrier's sifaka and the Silky sifaka. She earned her Ph.D. from Stony Brook University and later became the first female wildlife correspondent for National Geographic on the "Ultimate Explorer" series on MSNBC. Her work in Madagascar, which includes the discovery of a new species of mouse lemur, led to the establishment of a national park to help protect the endangered species.

Most recently, Mayor was named a Fellow at the Explorers Club, selected to be an insider for O, The Oprah Magazine, and will star in a new television series on Travel Channel. The two-time Emmy Award nominee has hosted dozens of wildlife shows, including the Nat Geo WILD series Wild Nights with Mireya Mayor. She was also the host of Nat Geo Mundo's La Cuba De Hoy. She was a major contributor for National Geographic's Complete Survival Manual, has written articles for National Geographic's kids magazines, and is working with National Geographic Learning on videos and textbooks for classrooms.

JoAnn C. Adkins

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SOURCE Florida International University