Marco E. Franco, SETAC North America South Central Regional Chapter Student Representative, and Brian Jonathan Young, SETAC Latin America Student Representative
South America and Central America form the SETAC Latin America geographic unit (GU). It is important to mention that SETAC does not have many active members nor representatives in Central America. Currently, the SETAC Latin America GU has 300 members, of which 32.3% are students and only 2% are members belonging to Central American countries.
For this reason, students of SETAC North America and Latin America have collaborated in the dissemination of Society activities, with the purpose of expanding knowledge of SETAC to potential members in Central America.
Marco Franco, a student at Baylor University and student representative of the SETAC North America South Central Regional Chapter, had the opportunity to make a presentation at the University of the Valley (UVG) in Guatemala. He provided specific information about the goals and mission of SETAC, as well as the benefits of being active members of the Society, both for students and professionals.
The symposium, titled “Ecotoxicology in Guatemala,” took place on 7 August at the UVG main campus in Guatemala City. This event brought together approximately 60 individuals, mostly Guatemalan students and professionals that work in the field of ecotoxicology and similar disciplines. Franco, being originally from Guatemala and as the South Central Regional Chapter student representative, was invited to provide information about SETAC and its activities from a global perspective, as well as for the Latin America and North America GUs. The goal of Franco’s presentation was to increase interest and awareness of scientists in the region who did not know about the Society, thus favoring the participation of professionals working in Central American countries.
Brian Jonathan Young, student representative of the SETAC Latin America Board of Directors, was fundamental in providing specific information about the activities taking place in the Latin America region and in preparing materials that were presented during the symposium. In this way, Young was able to communicate specific aspects of SETAC Latin America as well as important events that are developed every year in all the GUs.
It is important to emphasize the significant role students and young scientists have in the Society, as well as the necessity to inform professionals from countries with low involvement about SETAC activities. Initiatives such as the Global Horizon Scanning Project and recent publications in Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (ET&C) focus on topics of global importance, exhorting professionals in all GUs to increase their involvement in such projects, and SETAC membership is one of the most beneficial routes to accomplish the objectives presented in these publications. Therefore, the collaboration between student representatives from different GUs not only vitalizes the participation of students in SETAC, but it also represents a step forward in strengthening the Society and its mission of supporting the development of principles and practices for protection, enhancement and management of sustainable environmental quality and ecosystem integrity.