Leila was born in Havana, Cuba and came to the United States when she was eight years old. Learning English through the immersion method, she attended public schools in Redlands and holds BA with Honors from the California Institute of Technology and a PhD from Harvard in Developmental Biology. Her academic research career culminated with post-doctoral fellowships in the labs of Nobel Laureate Ed Lewis and Jim Bower, both at Caltech. While in Bower’s lab, she became involved in the Caltech Pre-College Science Initiative, doing teacher training, curriculum development, and outreach, while also serving as the Curriculum Coordinator for the Caltech Freshman Summer Institute, a program which prepares matriculating Caltech students from less rigorous academic backgrounds for the Caltech curriculum. Leila is a California-credentialed teacher with certifications in biology and chemistry and has been the recipient of the Individual National Research Service Award from the National Institute of Health and an NSF Pre-doctoral Fellowship [Honorable Mention] from the National Science Foundation. In addition, she co-authored (as Dr. Leila) a weekly educational column titled “Caltech Connections for Kids” in the <em>Los Angeles Times</em> in 1999, which explained scientific concepts in a form accessible for pre-teens. She has two grown children who both attended Sequoyah School.
K-8 FACULTY & STAFF