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Early Career Award for Public Engagement with Science Recipients

Neil Orman/AAAS

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. A monetary prize of $5,000, a commemorative plaque, complimentary registration to the AAAS Annual Meeting, and reimbursement for reasonable hotel and travel expenses to attend the AAAS Annual Meeting to receive the prize are given to the recipient.

Visit the award nominations site from February 15 through August 1, 2019, for more information about the nomination process and to nominate a scientist.  Inquiries may be directed to the Center for Public Engagement with Science and Technology.

2019 Award Recipient: Monica Ramirez-Andreotta

Monica Ramirez-Andreotta is honored for her innovative approach to engaging stakeholders in environmental contaminants research, collaboratively developing and implementing programs with affected underserved communities.  Her commitment to social justice is shown by making her science responsive to audience concerns, being culturally relevant, and accessible. 

Past Recipients


Johanna Varner is honored for infusing her public engagement with multi-directional dialogue, reaching diverse audiences, and empowering participants to join in the entire process of science. Johanna is an assistant professor of biology at Colorado Mesa University, where she teaches courses for both biology majors and non-majors and studies the response of small rabbit-relatives, called pikas, to environmental change. Varner’s primary public engagement is through citizen science engagement programs, which she views as an opportunity help volunteers appreciate the natural world, consider local consequences of climate change and participate in all aspects of science. 


Due to a change in naming convention, there is not a 2017 award recipient.

Suzi Gage is honored for her generous public engagement activities that center on evidence-based approaches with the potential to build long-term critical thinking skills in her audiences. Gage writes a science blog for the Guardian newspaper’s website, and frequently gives public lectures and talks. In 2016 she launched podcast “Say Why to Drugs” with rapper and actor Scroobius Pip, discussing the scientific evidence around the effects of recreational drugs, busting myths that exist around them, and discussing the harms but also potential benefits of the substances. Suzi completed her PhD at the University of Bristol in 2014, which used a large birth cohort to look at associations between cannabis and cigarette use, and psychosis and depression.

Mark Rosin is honored for his broad range of creative and sustainable public engagement strategies that target audiences who may not be actively seeking science information. As director and co-founder of Guerilla Science, Rosin has reached over 15,000 people directly through events such as the Intergalactic Travel Bureau, multi-day events at math and art festivals, and a section of the first National Math Festival. His Fire Organ, which builds on the Rubens’ tube to visualize connections between math and music, has toured the United States, including visits to Maker Faire and Burning Man Festival. In addition to direct implementation, Rosin has trained over 100 scientists to engage public audiences.

Shane Bergin is honored for his commitment and demonstrated impact to engaging the public in science through innovative methods that bring science into the daily lives of his local community. In particular, Bergin was recognized for spearheading a public-engagement campaign on Dublin's rapid-transit system (the DART) — an effort to generate interest in science and science careers. His "DARTofPhysics" project sought to change the perception of physics in Ireland by prompting commuters to ponder intriguing questions about physical phenomena. Though still at an early stage of his career, Bergin has developed many other educational and communication-focused activities, including the Trinity College Pitch Drop.

Mary Helen Immordino-Yang is honored for her sustained commitment and novel approach to integrating public engagement with science into her extensive research and scholarly activities and for using public interactions to inform her research. She engages K-12 students in her neuroscience research through lab visits and internships for students from low-performing schools, and compliments her research by meeting with each study participant to discuss their brain scans, as well as their college plans and potential interest in a science career.

Baratunde Cola is honored for his commitment to an exceptional research career while sharing his passion for science and engineering by engaging in creative and collaborative outreach with teachers and students in underrepresented communities. He works with K-12 teachers to create broadly dispersed education materials in the fields of nanotechnology and energy conservation, from hands-on engineering competitions to nanotechnology-inspired art displays.

Daniel Colón-Ramos is passionate about contributing to the development of future scientists and has spoken broadly about his experience on the academic path to a research career, the importance of mentoring and role models in science education, and the need for an open dialogue between scientists and the general public. He is editor of a collection of short stories and essays about science written by Puerto Rican scientists and is currently piloting a project engaging K-12 students in learning and conveying, through podcasts of their own, the concepts taught in the book.

Lynford L. Goddard is honored as the first recipient of the AAAS Early Career Award for Public Engagement with Science for exemplifying an early career scientist eager to share his excitement about science and demonstrating excellence in reaching high school students with activities in electrical engineering, while simultaneously pursuing a competitive research career.