Board of Directors

Dr. Frances Colón is CEO of Jasperi Consulting, a firm specializing in science, technology and innovation policy and program advising. Colón is the former Deputy Science and Technology Adviser to the Secretary of State (2012-2017) where she promoted integration of science and technology into foreign policy priorities. She is a fellow of the U.S.-Japan Leadership Program, the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations and the Austria Leaders Program. In 2016, Colón was named one of the 20 most influential Latinos in technology by CNET. Dr. Colón earned her Ph.D. in Neuroscience in 2004 from Brandeis University and her B.S. in Biology in 1997 from the University of Puerto Rico.

Dr. Franklin A. Carrero-Martínez directs a broad portfolio with diplomatic and representational obligations with Europe and Eurasian countries. In 2014, Franklin was the Acting Science Counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City where he focused on U.S.-Mexico bilateral science issues.

Mariela Martínez is a creative problem solver and facilitator leading teams and networks to translate innovative ideas into tangible results.Mariela has an expertise in regional economic development, design thinking, project management, and managing peer-learning networks. Most recently she served as the Senior Project Manager for the Global Cities Initiative (GCI) at the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program.

Jorge Salichs is an attorney with over ten years of combined experience in the legal services and management consulting fields. He currently has a proprietary law practice, specializing in commercial contracts advisory, startups/corporate formation, administrative law and regulatory affairs, healthcare law and compliance, and corporate governance.

Edwin J. Rivera is a Certified Parks and Recreation Professional with over 20 years of experience managing recreation facilities and programs in the non-profit and public sector. Currently, Edwin is a Facility Director at the M-NCPPC Prince George County in Maryland.

Margarita Varela has had a wide range of professional experiences in both the public and private sectors.  In the public sector she has worked as a Lead Cost Analyst at the Office of the Secretary of Defense for Cost Analysis and Program Evaluation, and the Department of the Navy.  In the private sector she has worked at the management consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton and Honeywell Aerospace.  Margarita has also been a columnist for El Nuevo Día, Puerto Rico’s highest circulation newspaper.  She is recipient of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers’ Hispanic in Technology Award and the Maryland Society of Professional Engineers’ Young Engineer of the Year Award.  Margarita’s main interest is to design and implement diaspora-led initiatives that generate social progress and economic growth in Puerto Rico.

Amanda Rivera is the Executive Director of Instituto del Desarrollo de la Juventud (Youth Development Institute) in Puerto Rico and has over eight years of professional experience in education and child welfare. Prior to joining the Institute, Rivera was Federal Policy Manager at Youth Villages working to reform and influence federal policy in the areas of child welfare financing, transition-age youth, and behavioral health. Rivera holds a Master in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. She has dedicated her time to the development of youth leadership in Puerto Rico through the creation of Mentes Puertorriqueñas en Acción, an organization that has impacted nearly 1000 young adults in Puerto Rico.

Larisa Avilés-Santa earned her Doctor in Medicine degree at the University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine and pursued a fellowship in Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism at the University of Texas (UT). At UT, she did clinical research – with special interest in the prevention of cardiovascular disease in Hispanics with Type 2 diabetes mellitus. In 2006, she joined the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute at the National Institutes of Health to lead the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos. Avilés-Santa developed a love for black and white film/photography in Puerto Rico, which she still nurtures by working on 35 mm and medium format film at the Smithsonian in Washington, DC.