Industry News: Society of Neuroscience Recipients of Science Education and Outreach Awards

23 Oct 2012

The Society for Neuroscience (SfN) announced its winners of the science education and outreach awards at Neuroscience 2012, SfN’s annual meeting and the world’s largest source of emerging news about brain science and health. SelectScience joined thousands of scientists at the show in New Orleans, USA and found out more about the award winners.

"SfN believes strongly in the value of educating the public about insights gained through neuroscience research," said Moses V. Chao, PhD, president of SfN. "It is an honor to recognize the winners of this year’s awards for their work with the media, outreach efforts in their communities, and dedication to science communication.”

Science Educator Award: Jay N. Giedd, MD, and David M. Eagleman, PhD

SfN founded the Science Educator Award in 2003 to recognize an outstanding neuroscientist who has made significant contributions in promoting public education and awareness about the field. The award includes a $5,000 prize.

Jay N. Giedd, MD, of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), has dedicated himself to expanding understanding about adolescent brain health and disease through the use of brain imaging technology. By working with judges, legislators, and public policymakers, and serving as a source to numerous media outlets, Giedd has worked tirelessly to increase public knowledge of the teen brain and issues that arise during this developmental period. He is currently the chief of the Unit on Brain Imaging in the Child Psychiatry Branch at NIMH.

Best-selling author David M. Eagleman, PhD, of Baylor College of Medicine, strives to inform the public about the latest in neuroscience research. He appears regularly on the British Broadcasting Corporation, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and National Public Radio, and is often sought out for public lectures. Eagleman is known for his research on time perception and synesthesia. He currently directs the Laboratory for Perception and Action at the Baylor College of Medicine.

Next Generation Award: Amy L. Altick, PhD, Bethany R. Brookshire, PhD, and Courtney Stevens, PhD

Established in 2007, the Next Generation Award recognizes SfN chapter members who have made outstanding contributions to public communication, outreach, and education about neuroscience. The award honors outstanding individuals or teams at the predoctoral/postdoctoral level and junior faculty level with a $300 honorarium and a $750 travel award to attend SfN’s annual meeting. Additionally, the recipients’ chapter receives $2,000 to continue outreach efforts in the coming year.

In just a few years, Postdoctoral Next Generation Award Winner Amy L. Altick, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Nevada, built a neuroscience outreach program spanning nearly the entire the state of Nevada. Last year, she organized more than 35 Brain Awareness Week events in public schools libraries, and her university to teach members of the community about neuroscience.
Postdoctoral Next Generation Award Winner Bethany R. Brookshire, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Pennsylvania, regularly uses social media to educate a broad audience about the brain and psychiatric illness. Brookshire, who has published more than 1,000 blog posts to date, often creates easily readable descriptions of the latest neuroscience literature. She has been recognized as among the best science writers on the web, and is a top-ten blogger for Scientific American.

Junior Faculty Next Generation Award Winner Courtney Stevens, PhD, an assistant professor of psychology at Williamette University in Oregon, developed a highly innovative neuroscience course in which students create their own neuroscience teaching materials that they then present in primary and secondary classrooms and other venues. Stevens’ popular program is now being used by other local institutions, including the University of Oregon.

Science Journalism Student Award: Tanya Lewis and Nicholas St. Fleur

SfN’s Science Journalism Student Award encourages the pursuit of a career in science or medical journalism. This award gives students exposure to science journalism through attendance at the Society’s annual meeting. The two recipients receive an orientation on navigating and reporting on the meeting, an on-site mentor from a science or medical publication, and a $750 travel award.

Tanya Lewis is a recent graduate of the science communication program at University of California, Santa Cruz, and has a BS in Biomedical Engineering from Brown University. Before attending graduate school, Lewis was a Whitaker International Fellow at the German Primate Center, where she studied spatial encoding of arm reach and grasp-planning in macaques. Her work has appeared in and Scientific American, and she is currently an intern at Science News.

Nicholas St. Fleur is currently an undergraduate student majoring in Biology with a minor in Communications at Cornell University. His work has appeared in Science and the Cornell Alumni Magazine. He currently runs the science desk at Cornell’s student-run daily newspaper, Cornell Daily Sun.

The Society for Neuroscience is an organization of more than 42,000 basic scientists and clinicians who study the brain and nervous system.