Carmen S. Maldonado-Vlaar, PhD, received her PhD in Behavioral Neuroscience from Northeastern University under the mentorship of Ann E. Kelley. She continued with postdoctoral training at the department of neuropharmacology at The Scripps Research Institute with George F. Koob. For the past 27 years, Dr. Maldonado-Vlaar has been a faculty member of the Department of Biology at the University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras Campus (UPR-RP). During her research and academic career, she has successfully mentored dozens of undergraduate and graduate students from underrepresented minorities (URM) in the field of neuroscience. Moreover, she has taught numerous neuroscience courses in her institution at both levels. Maldonado-Vlaar’s scientific research is based on an ongoing interest to discover and characterize potential therapeutic cellular targets that are important in cocaine addiction treatment and other mental disorders. Her work has been published in premier scientific journals and she has served as assisting editor for Behavioral Neuroscience Journal. At the UPR-RP, she served as institutional coordinator for The Leadership Alliance and for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Gilliam Fellowship. She has extensive administrative experience as chair of the department of biology and as dean of graduate studies and research. In addition, she has devoted countless hours to mentoring neuroscientists at all career stages from diverse and disadvantaged backgrounds at the local and national level.