Meet 500 Científicas Panama

500 Women Scientists
3 min readNov 23, 2021

The 500WS pod world tour continues, with our Meet the Pod blog series : quick facts edition! Next stop — Panama City!

Did you know…

  1. Panama is the only place in the world where you can watch the sun rise on the Pacific Ocean and set on the Atlantic Ocean from the same spot?
  2. Panama City is the only capital city in the world that has a rainforest (Parque Natural Metropolitano) within the city limits?
  3. Panama has 986 bird species- the highest recorded in the world?
  4. Panama has seven indigenous groups: the Guna, the Ngäbe — Buglé, the Emberá, the Wounaan, the Bribri, the Bokota, and the Naso Tjërdi?
View of active pods in Panama via our pod management platform, Orca.

Quick Facts about 500 Científicas Panama:

Location: Panama City, Panama

Member Count: 84

STEMM Fields represented:

  • Mathematics
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Engineering
  • Technology
  • Medicine
  • Physics
  • Psychology
  • Science communication

Social Media:

Instagram: @500wspanama

Facebook: @500wspanama

Our People: Pod Leaders / Coordinators :

Jeanette Shakalli, Executive Coordinator, PhD Mathematics

Yessica Saez, PhD, Electronics and Communications Engineer

Marleny Vargas, Logistics Coordinator, Mathematics

Q & A

Favorite pod event to date?

It is difficult to choose. So far we have organized 2 in-person events in 2019, 16 virtual events in 2020 and 10 virtual events in 2021. If we had to choose, our favorite Pod event would probably be our “Women Power Lab,” which was the official launch of the Panama Pod that took place on November 21st, 2019. More than 100 professional women attended this in-person event that was sponsored by Biomedical Support & Systems, Inc. The purpose of this free entry event was to support women in science to improve their public speaking skills and develop other professional skills. Presentation topics included: “With my feet on the ground without removing my high heels” by Irene Núñez, “Tool kit to speak in public” by María Gabriela Alvarado, and “My adventures in the scientific world” by Kathia Broce.

What could other pods connect with the Panama pod about?

The Panama Pod is a very active group. Since the pandemic began, we have been organizing virtual events in Spanish, which are free and open to the general public. These virtual events are on different topics, including: Can we trust the COVID-19 Vaccines, Discovering the Brain, Financial Education in our Daily Lives, Etiquette and Protocol for Professional Success, Strategies for Digital Communication and Science Outreach, Zoom Training, Mourning: Dealing with the Loss of a Loved One, and many more. We encourage other Pods to not only participate in our virtual events, but also contact us if they wish to collaborate!

Have you formed any local connections with schools, universities, or grassroots STEMM organizations?

We have formed several local connections. In particular, it is worth mentioning that we organized a series of 8 webinars on COVID-19 in the year 2020, together with the Panamanian Association for the Advancement of Science (APANAC) and the Panamanian Foundation for the Promotion of Mathematics (FUNDAPROMAT).


Feeling inspired? Want to join a pod? Learn more here. [Written interview with Jeanette Shakalli — Panama Executive Pod Coordinator ; Edits by Kara Bocher, Pods Coordinator & Anushka Gole, Director of Communications at 500 Women Scientists]