Hispanic Heritage Month: Pedro Sanchez

Headshot of Pedro Sanchez featuring a blurred background

Source: Earth Institute, Columbia University

National Hispanic Heritage Month is observed from Tuesday, September 15 – Thursday October 15. To celebrate the many diverse cultures and contributions, Science ATL is highlighting Hispanic/Latino accomplishments in STEM fields.

Meet Pedro Sanchez

Pedro Sanchez says his groundbreaking scientific career emerged from actually breaking ground – literally. His inspiration for his work in soil science started as a child with hours and hours playing with dirt itself. While growing up in Cuba, his family owned a fertilizer blending business. By seeing his family business in action, he learned about the importance of nutrients in the soil. His scientific career studying the components of soil has helped increase the fertility and productivity of tropical soils in order to solve problems of food insecurity and poverty in more than 25 countries around the world. His knowledge of soil science has made him a leader in international agroforestry – the integration of new trees and shrubs into existing farming systems in order to create environmental and economic benefits.

In addition to being a distinguished professor at several universities, Dr. Sanchez has been named a World Food Prize laureate and a MacArthur Fellow, and was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences. He also served as the co-chair of the United Nations Millennium Project Hunger Task Force, and is now the Director of the Agriculture and Food Security Center Columbia University’s Earth Institute where he continues to develop initiatives that not only support local farmers, but also the long-term food security and environmental health of the developing world. Read more about him in this 2018 interview.