The Times They Are A-Changin'

By Sheril Kirshenbaum | November 5, 2010 7:19 am

Over the past two days I’ve given talks at Indiana University and Penn State University. It’s refreshing to speak with so many bright students actively working to make their research more accessible and relevant to broad audiences. Today I’m very much looking forward to spending some time with the Fellows involved in Penn State’s CarbonEARTH program–a terrific initiative supported by the NSF GK-12 grant:

The CarbonEARTH (Educators and Researchers Together for Humanity) Fellowship Program teams Penn State Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) graduate students with elementary and middle school science teachers from Pennsylvania’s Philipsburg and Harrisburg school districts. The CarbonEARTH program uses the interdisciplinary theme of carbon, broadly construed, as a unifying platform for student investigation, discovery, training and education.

I tremendously enjoy these campus visits and sense a growing awareness among young scientists that public engagement beyond academia will be necessary to influence and inform the global decision-making process. If the individuals I’ve been meeting are representative of where the science community is headed, the times they are a-changin’.

And I remain optimistic.

Comments (2)

  1. Your message is optimistic and I am sorry to dump cold water on such optimism, but you must have read the following piece of news:

    “An analysis by the American Association for the Advancement of Science looked at what would happen if all of the agencies were cut to the 2008 amounts. The National Institutes of Health would lose $2.9 billion, or 9 percent, of its research money. The National Science Foundation would lose more than $1 billion, or almost 19 percent, of its budget, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration would lose $324 million, or 34 percent.”

    The young students who you mention are going to have to try harder than ever.

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About Sheril Kirshenbaum

Sheril Kirshenbaum is a research scientist with the Webber Energy Group at the University of Texas at Austin's Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy where she works on projects to enhance public understanding of energy issues as they relate to food, oceans, and culture. She is involved in conservation initiatives across levels of government, working to improve communication between scientists, policymakers, and the public. Sheril is the author of The Science of Kissing, which explores one of humanity's fondest pastimes. She also co-authored Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future with Chris Mooney, chosen by Library Journal as one of the Best Sci-Tech Books of 2009 and named by President Obama's science advisor John Holdren as his top recommended read. Sheril contributes to popular publications including Newsweek, The Washington Post, Discover Magazine, and The Nation, frequently covering topics that bridge science and society from climate change to genetically modified foods. Her writing is featured in the anthology The Best American Science Writing 2010. In 2006 Sheril served as a legislative Knauss science fellow on Capitol Hill with Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) where she was involved in energy, climate, and ocean policy. She also has experience working on pop radio and her work has been published in Science, Fisheries Bulletin, Oecologia, and Issues in Science and Technology. In 2007, she helped to found Science Debate; an initiative encouraging candidates to debate science research and innovation issues on the campaign trail. Previously, Sheril was a research associate at Duke University's Nicholas School of the Environment and has served as a Fellow with the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation at the American Museum of Natural History and as a Howard Hughes Research Fellow. She has contributed reports to The Nature Conservancy and provided assistance on international protected area projects. Sheril serves as a science advisor to NPR's Science Friday and its nonprofit partner, Science Friday Initiative. She also serves on the program committee for the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). She speaks regularly around the country to audiences at universities, federal agencies, and museums and has been a guest on such programs as The Today Show and The Daily Rundown on MSNBC. Sheril is a graduate of Tufts University and holds two masters of science degrees in marine biology and marine policy from the University of Maine. She co-hosts The Intersection on Discover blogs with Chris Mooney and has contributed to DeSmogBlog, Talking Science, Wired Science and Seed. She was born in Suffern, New York and is also a musician. Sheril lives in Austin, Texas with her husband David Lowry. Interested in booking Sheril Kirshenbaum to speak at your next event? Contact Hachette Speakers Bureau 866.376.6591 info@hachettespeakersbureau.com For more information, visit her website or email Sheril at srkirshenbaum@yahoo.com.

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