Featured Force: Leslie Sternlieb
Each month, we highlight a AAAS member who is a force for science. To find out how you can be a force for science, visit www.forceforscience.org.
Leslie Sternlieb supports science through her company, Exquisite Eons.
Share a comment or opinion you have on a topical science-related issue.
I have realigned my philanthropic pursuits from social justice toward environmental conservation and science, because I fear for our beautiful planet. Sadly, there are political interests that stand in the way of science. The window for us to boldly address climate change is closing.
Tell us about a hobby or passion related to science advocacy.
I recently started a jewelry company called Exquisite Eons™ that produces dinosaur brooches to encourage people to be “positively prehistoric.” When we baby boomers complain about technology, we say that we’re dinosaurs. I say, embrace your inner Triceratops and proclaim it on your lapel! But I wanted my product to be more than adornment—it’s also to stress the importance of science—so a portion of every purchase benefits AAAS.
Share a lighthearted story about yourself.
As a seven-year-old aspiring paleontologist, I used to dig for dinosaur bones in my backyard in Coral Gables, Florida—not the place where dinosaurs once roamed. I ended up working as a writer and editor, but Exquisite Eons™ unites my ongoing interest in science with my passion for jewelry.
A lapel pin from Exquisite Eons™ | Credit: Exquisite Eons™
Share a story from your past that led to your interest in science advocacy.
A trip to the geology museum at Grand Canyon convinced me that we must overcome the perceived conflict between science and religion. When I asked the park ranger how he responds to science-skeptical questions from certain religious groups, he told me that they don’t visit the museum. They won’t walk through that door, and so exclude themselves from learning how natural forces created this and other amazing formations. I respect those who are committed to strong religious views and am a Reform Jew myself. But I also believe in science. When I discovered [AAAS’s] DoSER program, I felt that they could make the case to communities who may be contrary to things like evolution and human-induced climate change and [I] now support this program as a donor.
What advice do you have for those who’d like to get started advocating for science?
It’s all about telling your story. Try to make it personal. And if it’s about basic research, then discuss its big picture importance. Political leaders, especially those who may be undecided about an issue, respond to first-person stories, told simply and from the heart.