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Genetics of Taste Lab

NIH SEPA Community Advisory Board “More than just a taste of Citizen Science”


The Denver Museum of Nature & Science was recently awarded $1 million from the National Institutes of Health’s Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA). The award funds citizen science scoped research about taste and learning research on public participation in science research.

This is one of the largest research grants the Museum has received.

The More than just a taste of citizen science project will investigate the role that degree of participation has on:

  • The accessibility to potential participants.
  • The learning experience of public participation in science research.
  • The impact of participation on scientific rigor.



The purpose of the Community Advisory Board is to identify potential strategies that encourage underserved communities to participate as public partners in scientific research. We will plan community events where the board can meet community leaders, learn more about Latino interests and start the vital communication process with our target audiences.

The goal is to address critical barriers in the field that prevent Latino Communities from participating as volunteers and citizen scientists, and establish best practices for the use of citizen science in the context of human health based research. We explicitly examine whether our actual efforts encourage members of communities underrepresented in STEM to see themselves as people who can contribute to the scientific community and who belong in the scientific community. We are looking for a path to build connections and to share successful stories in the Latino Communities we serve.

The Community Advisory Board provide guidance that helps citizen scientists and enrollees in the Genetics of Taste Lab see themselves more represented and aligned with the Denver Metro Area demographics.  Also, we study the possibility for partnerships to make favorable connections in Latino Communities.


Selection Process

Experienced experts in  Latino Communities, in the areas of  health, education and recreational fields whose interest and support are important and who can contribute their time, knowledge and expertise to benefit the project and make it more inclusive and diverse.

Members should be active in the community, with strong community networks and a sound understanding of local issues. Members may be individuals, or groups and may include, for instance,   representatives from key community-based organizations that serve families such as:

  • Youth Latino Advocates
  • Women’s Organizations
  • Representation from Latino Social organizations
  • Education
  • Sports and Recreation
  • Churches



  • Julianna Ramirez, American Diabetes Association
  • Ruth González, Aurora Public Schools
  • Myrna Morales, Padres & Jóvenes Unidos
  • Curtis Gardner, Colorado Rapids Youth Soccer
  • Marina La Grave, Latin American Center for Arts, Science & Education



Engaging communities in their communities!

Colorado Rapids Youth Outreach Program Jamboree:

22 Soccer Teams Participated

  • 250 People RSVP



The activity was part of the Youth Outreach Program that the Colorado Rapids Youth Soccer has.  This Outreach Program provides underserved youth with soccer opportunities through clinics, leagues, and scholarships. They serve thousands of students in low-income Denver and Greeley communities. Their     in-house divisions are teams within their free Soccer for Success after school program. The schools they work with compete on weekends during spring and fall seasons. They target low-income areas based on the percentage of students who qualify for free or reduced school lunches. 70% participation are from Latinos.

This Jamboree is part of 8 soccer community events that the Rapids Youth Soccer have throughout the year.

The Genetics of Taste Lab participated with the Taste Vs Flavor Challenge. We interacted with more than 75 kids, parents, coaches and staff. It was a positive, fun activity that gave us the opportunity to engage with diverse communities.


Next Activities:

5k race Adelante! On Sunday, August 6th, 2017.

Volunteer for a Day! (TBA)

High School Conversations, Sept-December 2017

Día de la Familia – Coming in  2018-.

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