Newswise — Silvia Ronco—senior program director at Research Corporation for Science Advancement (RCSA)—has been elected 2020–2021 president of the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR). Ronco will become president-elect on July 1, 2019, becoming a CUR Executive Board member and succeeding 2019–2020 CUR president Janice DeCosmo (University of Washington) in summer 2020.

Ronco’s leadership in education and research has been considerable. Her prior contributions to CUR’s governance, her years of dedication to undergraduate research, and her national leadership through a broad range of research infrastructure endeavors signify that she is well prepared to lead CUR as president. At RCSA, Ronco directs the Cottrell Scholar program, and she previously directed the Cottrell College Science Awards and Arizona Partners in Science programs. These programs have been leading influences on research and education in US science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and have provided critical assistance to ensure early-career STEM faculty success. From 2011 to 2018, Ronco served three terms as a member of the CUR Executive Board and chaired CUR’s Governance Task Force. A member of the CUR Chemistry Division’s leadership for two decades, she also served as chair of CUR’s Chemistry Division from 2011 to 2013.

Regarding her new position, Ronco commented that “my involvement with the Council on Undergraduate Research has been critical for my professional development. Working with a diverse community of like-minded people who are passionate about providing a rich educational environment for undergraduates has allowed me to grow professionally and at a personal level. Through my engagement as president, I will have the opportunity to use my broad professional expertise to lead this wonderful organization.”

Ronco earned a BS in chemistry (1980) and a PhD in inorganic chemistry (1986) from the National University of La Plata in Argentina. Her chemistry research interests involved the synthesis and electron transfer of transition metal complexes with applications in solar energy conversion, luminescence sensors, and photocatalysis. From 1992 to 2003, Ronco was a professor of chemistry at the University of South Dakota (USD). She also served as the founding chair of the USD-wide Undergraduate Research Council from 1998 to 2003.

She has been a postdoctoral fellow at the Radiation Laboratory at University of Notre Dame (1986–1989) and Clemson University (1991–1992), a program manager for the Photochemistry and Radiation Sciences Program at the US Department of Energy (1995–1996), and a visiting scientist and visiting professor at the University of California, San Diego (2000–2001). Ronco is currently an elected councilor for the Division of Inorganic Chemistry (DIC) of the American Chemical Society (ACS) and an elected member of the ACS Nominations and Elections Committee.

CUR Executive Officer Elizabeth L. Ambos stated, “Silvia Ronco is an internationally recognized force in STEM research and education, and will be an outstanding president for CUR. Her previous leadership within CUR, both within the CUR chemistry division, and on the executive board, has helped to transform CUR’s organizational structures, and created additional partnership opportunities. Through her position as senior program director at RCSA, as well as her more than two decades of leadership roles within CUR, she will bring significant visibility to the CUR presidency, particularly with respect to connecting CUR more deeply with other research-focused organizations.”


Council on Undergraduate Research: The Council on Undergraduate Research supports faculty development for high-quality undergraduate student-faculty collaborative research and scholarship. More than 700 institutions and close to 13,000 individuals belong to CUR. CUR believes that the best way to capture student interest and create enthusiasm for a discipline is through research in close collaboration with faculty members.

Research Corporation for Science Advancement: The Research Corporation for Science Advancement (RCSA) is a private operating foundation that aids basic research in the physical sciences (astronomy, chemistry, physics, and related fields) at US colleges and universities. It supports research independently proposed by college and university faculty members, convenes conferences and actively advocates for science advancement. RCSA is a strong supporter of improvements in science education.