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Scientific community/Science communication

As Director of Science & Technology Development at the North Carolina Biotechnology Center, Tracey du Laney helps to bring scientific expertise and companies to North Carolina to drive life sciences research and economic development. As a 2019-20 AAAS Leshner Public Engagement Fellow, one of her goals for creating institutional change to support public engagement with science centered around “Science Club.” She and a colleague started this once-a-month event shortly before her fellowship, to enable staff members who are not scientists but who are intensely curious about science to become more comfortable learning and talking about science informally. “I wanted to help them be ambassadors for our work and the science we enable,” she says.

Researchers, journalists, publishers and organizations face multiple challenges as they communicate new and rapidly changing COVID-19 science, according to an expert panel organized by AAAS for a Sept. 4 late-breaking session at the Euroscience Open Forum.

Kafui Dzirasa has been working hard to make the case for public engagement to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), where, as a member of the advisory committee for the Brain Initiative 2.0, he is creating platforms for “scaled-up” engagement efforts to drive more ethical and responsible brain-computer interactions. Dzirasa, who holds both an M.D. and a Ph.D., is an associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke University and a 2019-20 AAAS Leshner Public Engagement Fellow. As he concluded in his Wired article from June 2019, “It is in humanity's hands to decide how far we will extend the boundaries of our species.”

Please join us on Friday September 11 at 12 PM ET for an open discussion of the future direction of the SciEngage platform. We are interested in hearing about the issues you and your organizations have been grappling with, and discussing how SciEngage might better serve as a portal for difficult conversations and collaborative solutions. 

As part of the Engaging Scientists project, we spoke with a diverse range of practicing scientists and science communicators about engagement activities with religious communities. New profiles released regularly!

Sometimes the research that isn’t most interesting to scientists turns out to be the most important. And Emory University chemistry professor and AAAS 2019-20 Leshner Public Engagement Fellow Bill Wuest is fine with that. His research on soaps and disinfectants, which he says, in terms of “hardcore chemistry, just isn’t that exciting,” has been in high demand during the COVID-19 pandemic. Wuest was ready to be a resource to the public in part because of the connections and preparation the AAAS fellowship offered him.