Getting Ready for the USA Science & Engineering Festival

By Chris Mooney | October 11, 2010 12:29 pm

This is a guest post by Darlene Cavalier, a writer and senior adviser at Discover Magazine. Darlene holds a Masters degree from the University of Pennsylvania, and is a former Philadelphia 76ers cheerleader. She founded and cofounded to make it possible for lay people to contribute to science.

The USA Science and Engineering Festival is approaching and several preamble events are taking place:

* Discover’s Carl Zimmer will be speaking about communicating science in the media at the Koshland Museum on Thursday, 10/15.

* At the same time (ahem) I will be moderating a panel discussion on Tapping the Wisdom of Crowds at George Mason University, in partnership with Discover Magazine, the USA Science and Engineering Festival and  Representatives from the White House, Innocentive, Galaxy Zoo, and the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars will be on the panel to discuss and debate the opportunities and the perils of turning everyone into an expert for everything from advancing scientific research to improving public policy to solving today’s greatest challenges. Essential Details: Thursday 10/14, GMU, Research 1, Room 163, 4400 University Drive, Fairfax, VA, 7pm-8:30 pm., RSVP: PSNELLIN@GMU.EDU]

Citizen science isn’t your thing? Well here’s something you’ve never seen before:

* 10 professional cheerleaders-turned-scientists and engineers will perform science-themed routines and cheers at the USA Science and Engineering Festival on October 23 and 24. These women are playfully challenging stereotypes as they help inspire young women–1.5 million of whom are little cheerleaders–to consider careers in science, technology, engineering, and math. They’ll even be signing autographs on their Science Cheerleader trading cards.  More information on these remarkable women and this event, can be found here (Yes, Chris, you will also find pictures).

Prefer football to cheerleading? No problem:

* Through a partnership with the NFL, NBC, and the National Science Foundation, Science Cheerleader recently posted the first five of ten Science of NFL Football segments. If you are an educator, this is a sure-fire way to engage your young students in science!


Comments (5)

  1. Darlene, I hope they’ll be able to provide me with some tips. I have been looking for new ways to take my tumbling routines to “the next level” with some science-related cheers.

  2. Yanina

    If you are an Educator you should check out the Lesson Plans that come with these videos. visit

  3. Bart

    The Science Cheerleader show at the Science & Engineering Festival has been several months in the making, and I’m really looking forward to it. We’ve been putting together interviews and baseball cards from the cheerleaders’ stories, and their careers range from medical science to NASA aerospace to health and fitness. What’s impressed me so far (aside from the cheerleaders’ obvious beauty) has been their very “together” attitudes. You don’t get jobs in technical fields AND impress fans in the stadium for 1/3 of the year without having some great time management skills. And one common theme became clear whenever Darlene asked the cheerleaders about their advice to young women who might be conflicted about following one path or the other: “Follow your dreams.” These women are doing just that. Come see them perform, then ask them about their technical careers after the show–I’m willing to bet they’ll impress and surprise you!


  4. John, I’m sure, with enough spotters, we can get you to the next level of tumbling. Thanks for insights, Bart!

  5. JT Lewis

    This looks amazing!


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About Chris Mooney

Chris is a science and political journalist and commentator and the author of three books, including the New York Times bestselling The Republican War on Science--dubbed "a landmark in contemporary political reporting" by and a "well-researched, closely argued and amply referenced indictment of the right wing's assault on science and scientists" by Scientific American--Storm World, and Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future, co-authored by Sheril Kirshenbaum. They also write "The Intersection" blog together for Discover blogs.For a longer bio and contact information, see here.


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