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AAAS Early Career Award for Public Engagement with Science

Dr Corbett is the 2022 ECA Winner


The AAAS Early Career Award for Public Engagement with Science, established in 2010, recognizes early-career scientists and engineers who demonstrate excellence in their contribution to public engagement with science activities. The recipient receives a monetary prize of $5,000, a commemorative plaque, and recognition at the AAAS Annual Meeting. 

For the purposes of this award, public engagement activities are defined as the individual’s active participation in efforts to engage with the public on science- and technology-related issues and promote meaningful dialogue between science and society.


Visit the awards nomination site from April 15 through June 30, 2022 11:59 ET, to nominate a scientist or engineer for the 2023 award, to be honored at the 2023 AAAS Annual Meeting.

Inquiries may be directed to


  • Nominations may be made by individuals, universities, government agencies, media, research organizations, and AAAS affiliate organizations. One nominator can nominate multiple candidates.
  • Self-nominations are permitted.
  • Prior nomination or being a named finalist does not exclude a candidate from consideration in subsequent years. Re-nomination is encouraged.
  • Nominees must be an individual scientist, mathematician, or engineer. Groups or institutions will not be considered for this award. One candidate will be chosen to receive the award each year.
  • AAAS employees are ineligible.
  • Nominee must represent a field of science, technology, engineering and/or math (STEM) and be actively conducting research in any scientific discipline (including social sciences, mathematics, engineering and medicine). They may be based in academia, government or industry. Public engagement activities must be above and beyond job responsibilities. 
  • Candidate must be “early career” which is defined as an individual who has completed their terminal degree within seven years of the deadline for nominations.

Required Materials

All nominations must be submitted electronically through our nomination site. If you require an alternate format, please contact Nominations and supporting materials will not be accepted by email or by post.

Nominations and materials must be in English.

You will be asked to provide:

  • Name, email, position, institution, professional address and phone number of the nominee
  • Name, email, position, institution, professional address and phone number of the nominator (if not a self-nomination)
  • Nomination statement of the public engagement activities that form the basis for the nomination. PDF only.
    • This statement of two pages maximum should discuss the nominee’s approach to public engagement. It should emphasize the candidate’s public engagement goal(s), intended audience(s), and message(s), as well as the level and type of dialogue achieved with their audiences, evaluation of public engagement work, and examples of how public engagement has affected the nominee’s scientific work. 
    • More information about AAAS’s approach to public engagement is available in the Communication Toolkit.
  • The nominee’s curriculum vitae. PDF only
    • Limit CV to five pages, with a specific section highlighting public engagement activities distinct from work that is required as part of the nominee’s job. If the CV is longer than five pages, only the first five pages will be considered.
  • At least two (up to five) representative material samples or other documentation which illustrate or describe the candidate’s public engagement contributions
    • Samples should exhibit the activities discussed in the statement and further contribute to the narrative of the nomination, showing different representations of the breadth of their public engagement.
    • Letters of support (up to two) are optional and count toward the five sample/document limit. Letters should provide more insight into the candidate's public engagement and discuss their accomplishments and can be written by a colleague, supervisor, or participant. 
  • If the candidate uses social media for their public engagement there will be a space to include all relevant accounts.

    ​​​All materials submitted become the property of AAAS.

    Selection and Criteria

    • One scientist or engineer will be chosen to receive the award each year and will be announced at the AAAS Annual Meeting.
    • Successful nominees will have demonstrated excellence in their contributions to public engagement with science activities, with a focus on interactive dialogue between the individual and their audience(s).
      • Types of public engagement activities might include but are not limited to: informal science education; public engagement and public dialogue activities, such as science cafés and science festivals; public policy activities; science communication activities, such as mass media, including radio, TV, books, and film; and social media.
    • The selection committee includes distinguished scientists, engineers and public engagement practitioners named by AAAS. Decisions of the committee are final after approval by the board.
    • AAAS may ask winners to contribute to public engagement with science by speaking to groups of AAAS constituencies, helping to identify scientists to participate in AAAS engagement events, and participating in other AAAS activities related to public engagement with science.

    ​​​The award selection committee will evaluate nominations through the questions below.  Nominees will possibly excel in one category more than others. 

    1. Does the nominee demonstrate active participation in public engagement activities?
    2. Does the nominee demonstrate high quality public engagement activities?
    3. Does the nominee demonstrate a focus on interactive dialogue between the nominee and a non-scientific public?

    2022 Recipient

    Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett is honored for her engagement about SARS-CoV-2 vaccinations and for her particular focus on underserved, higher risk Black communities. She is a model for how scientists, whose research touches upon important and timely social issues, can engage the public in effective and impactful ways.

    As a postdoctoral researcher at the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Corbett was instrumental in developing the lifesaving Moderna mRNA vaccine against SARS-CoV-2, the infection that leads to COVID-19. She also played a central role in the effort to address vaccine inquisitiveness in communities of color.



    Please view the complete list of past recipients and finalists.

    AAAS Mani L. Bhaumik Award for Public Engagement with Science

    Nominees no longer considered "early-career" as defined by this award might be eligible for the AAAS Mani L. Bhaumik Award for Public Engagement with Science.

    AAAS Awards

    Each year, AAAS recognizes significant contributions to science and the public’s understanding of science. Learn more about these awards and nominate a scientist, engineer, author, journalist or public servant for their outstanding work.

    Ethics Statement

    All award winners are expected to meet the commonly held standards of professional ethics* and scientific integrity.

    *Breaches of professional ethics might include sexual misconduct, racial discrimination, or other ethical violations. Sexual harassment or retaliation for declining, objecting to, or reporting harassment or other sexual conduct may constitute a serious breach of professional ethics.

    Diversity Statement

    The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is committed to equal opportunity for all persons, without regard to race, color, religion, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, or other protected categories. AAAS seeks as diverse a pool of award nominations as possible, including a wide range of disciplines, institutional types, and geographic locations.