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   Listening to the Voices of Spanish-Speaking Acousticians in the Americas
Zachery O. L’Italien, Fernando del Solar Dorrego, Ana M. Jaramillo, and Mariana Botero
   The Acoustical Society of America (ASA) put into action its first Strategic Plan in 2015 (for the current iteration, see, outlining four goals for the future, one of which was “to increase member engage- ment and diversity.” Ana Jaramillo, an ASA member and native of Medellín, Colombia, has attended ASA meetings regularly since 2007 and noted how little His- panic participation there was. To address this apparent underrepresentation, a small group of Spanish-speaking acousticians met at the ASA Minneapolis meeting in 2018 where they brainstormed how to better serve and connect the Hispanic community to the ASA. This eventually led to the birth of the Spanish-Speaking Acousticians (SSA) in the Americas Regional Chapter (see, which was officially approved in December 2019. Its founding members were Fernando del Solar Dorrego (current chair), Ana Jaramillo (current representative at National), Sandy Guzman, and Alexandra Padilla, The current SSA Committee is pictured in Figure 1. Currently, the chapter
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has over 180 members, distributed principally across the Americas but also in several countries in Europe and Asia.
Although the SSA Committee is gaining more traction and exposure, our records indicate that currently less than 20% of SSA members are also ASA members (stu- dent, associate, full, or otherwise) and even less actively participate in ASA activities. The ASA Membership Directory reveals that only 105 ASA members reside in Spanish-speaking countries (one-third in Spain and two- thirds in Latin America). Of these, only five are Fellows of the ASA and 17 are student members. There are, of course, Hispanic members not identified by this search who currently reside in other regions, such as the United States. A demographic survey from the ASA in 2019 shows that only 4% of its members are Hispanic. How- ever, over the years, there have been many publications in The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America (JASA), conference presentations, and other ASA participation from Latin American acousticians who are not neces- sarily members of our chapter. Worth mentioning is that the Society offers a discounted corresponding electronic associate membership option for acousticians residing in developing countries, such as in Latin America (see
Sixty-five percent of the current SSA members are work- ing and/or studying in architectural acoustics (AA), 10% in musical acoustics, and less than 1% in technical areas such as psychological and physiological acoustics and computational acoustics. In addressing this dispropor- tionate representation of members in AA and other technical areas, our challenge as a chapter is to broaden our membership and invite researchers, practitioners, and students from all technical areas to participate in our activities and group.
There have been recent fruitful efforts, unrelated to SSA, to increase engagement of Latin American acousticians
   Figure 1. Top row, left to right: Ana Jaramillo, representative at National; Fernando del Solar Dorrego, chair; Mariana Botero, secretary; Zachery L’Italien, treasurer. Bottom row, left to right: Juan Francisco Mayorga, member at large; Andrés Millán, member at large; Felipe Raimann, vice chair.
  Volume 17, issue 4 | Winter 2021 • Acoustics Today 75

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