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Boosting science role models: Elaine Fuchs and Lisa P. Jackson join the 2012 festival

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A few years ago, the Museum of Science and Industry asked 1,304 Americans to name a science role model for kids. Heavyweights like Stephen Hawking and Jane Goodall barely registered. Call us biased but we believe scientists can be every bit as riveting and inspirational as entertainers and athletes. Kids just need more opportunities to meet big thinkers. That’s the idea behind the World Science Festival’s Pioneers in Science program, an interactive event that gives middle and high school students from around the world rare and intimate access to Nobel Laureates, presidential advisors, and other trailblazing scientists. Presented in collaboration with the Global Nomads Group, a non-profit organization whose goal is to foster dialogue and understanding among the world’s youth, Pioneers in Science encourages students to participate and ask questions during engaging town-hall-style discussions where speakers share their personal stories, life challenges and career highlights, all with the goal of inspiring by example. The second annual program, slated for June 1, features two highly esteemed scientists, geneticist Elaine Fuchs and chemical engineer Lisa P. Jackson, both personally recognized by President Obama for their contributions to their fields.

Elaine Fuchs is a professor at Rockefeller University in the Laboratory of Mammalian Cell Biology and Development, as well as a principal investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Fuchs studies the molecular mechanisms of stem cells that give rise to hair and skin. Her research has uncovered important clues to inflammatory skin diseases and skin cancers, which are the most common type of cancer in the United States.

Lisa P. Jackson is administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)—the first African-American to serve the post. In 1987, she joined the EPA as a staff-level scientist, and in 2008 Jackson was called to the cabinet of President Barack Obama. In her current role as EPA administrator, Jackson has focused on improving air and water quality, especially in undeserved communities.

To learn more about how you or your school can join the Pioneers in Science program live or remotely, email us at info@worldsciencefestival.com.

And check out these extraordinary Pioneer alums:
Eric Lander, a mathematician-turned-biologist who helped map the human genome.
Mary-Claire King, a brilliant geneticist who discovered BRCA1, a breast-cancer gene.


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