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Featured Force: Margaret Akinhanmi


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

Margaret Akinhanmi is currently a predoctoral student at the Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Science, with a concentration in Clinical and Translational Science. She is interested in addressing and reducing health disparities that affect minority populations. After completing her doctorate, she plans to continue advocating for increased health research and education in minority communities.

Tell us about a hobby or passion related to science advocacy.

I recently got involved with the local chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). I thoroughly enjoy spending time learning about advocacy for mental health research and increasing resources for mental health management.

If you could pick one scientist (living or dead) to have dinner with, who would it be and why?

I would have dinner with the first woman to win the Nobel Prize, the first person and only woman to win twice, and the only person to win a Nobel Prize in two different sciences: Marie Curie. Why? All those accolades aren’t enough? The gems that one could glean from a simple 5-minute conversation! She’s a brilliant woman that overcame patriarchal obstacles and excelled above it all, THAT’S why. 

What contact have you had with your representatives?

Through involvement with the local political party, I have had opportunities to speak to current and potential candidates regarding major issues important to the community. I’ve also had the wonderful opportunity to meet with Minnesota representatives in D.C. to advocate for more science funding.

Share a Web link/video/blog etc. that you’ve thought was especially compelling at communicating science.

[This] video brilliantly explains the central dogma of life (DNA -> RNA -> Protein) in plain language and with music one cannot help but nod their head to.

Share a story from your past that led to your interest in science advocacy.

I had the privilege of attending the Translational Science conference in D.C. in May. During a tour of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), we met with researchers and one of them shared an interesting anecdote regarding getting assistance from an advocacy group to recruit participants to a study for a particularly rare disease. This scientist stressed the important role that the advocacy group played in allowing science to move forward and it was truly motivating.

Opinions expressed are those of the AAAS member and are not necessarily the opinions of AAAS, its officers, general members, and/or AAAS MemberCentral department or staff.