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SOCIETY FOR NEUROSCIENCE ANNOUNCES SCIENCE EDUCATION AND OUTREACH AWARDS

Awards recognize significant efforts in public outreach and education about neuroscience, encourages students to pursue science journalism

Washington, DC — The Society for Neuroscience (SfN) today announced the winners of science education and outreach awards given this year at Neuroscience 2008, the SfN annual meeting and the world’s largest source of emerging news on brain science and health.

“These science education awards recognize educational outreach that engages this generation of scientists to spark excitement in the minds of future scientists,” said Eve Marder, PhD, president of SfN. “We are also honored to help encourage the next generation of science writers, who are vital and skilled reporters of scientific discovery.”

Science Educator Award: Thomas A. Woolsey, MD, Washington University in St. Louis, School of Medicine
The Society for Neuroscience instituted the Science Educator Award in 2003 to recognize excellence in promoting neuroscience literacy and contributions made to public information about neuroscience. The $5,000 award is made to a neuroscientist who has made significant contributions to educating the public about the field.

Woolsey is a dedicated and skilled educator, with far-reaching involvement in the St. Louis community, including serving as the Director of the Young Scientist program, Course Director of medical neuroscience course in the Washington University Medical School, and Co-instructor of the undergraduate “Principles of the Nervous System” course. Through these activities Woolsey has taught over 500 undergraduates and 500 medical students and made research opportunities available to nearly 300 high school students from groups underrepresented in scientific careers. In addition, Woolsey serves as faculty advisor of the Young Scientist Program (YSP). Founded in 1991, YSP has been active with St. Louis area public schools teaching, recruiting, and mentoring students and teachers to strengthen science literacy and promote interest in scientific careers for those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Next Generation Award
Pre/Postdoctoral: Anteme Argan, Emma Duerden, Jean-Francois Gariepy, and David Steminowicz, SfN Montreal Chapter
Junior Faculty: Karen Zito, PhD, University of California (UC)-Davis and SfN UC-Davis Chapter

Begun in 2007, the Next Generation Award allows the Society to recognize individuals nominated by SfN chapters who are making significant efforts in public communication, outreach, and education about neuroscience. The award honors one outstanding individual or team at the predoctoral/ postdoctoral level and one outstanding individual at the junior faculty level with a $300 honorarium and a $750 travel award to assist with attending the SfN annual meeting. Additionally, the Chapters to which the award recipients belong receive $2,000 to be used to continue the Chapters’ outreach efforts in the following year.

The following members of the SfN Montreal Chapter were selected at the predoctoral/ postdoctoral level: Anteme Argan, Emma Duerden, Jean-Francois Gariepy, and David Steminowicz. Karen Zito of the SfN UC-Davis Chapter was selected at the junior faculty level.

Argan, Duerden, Gariepy, and Steminowicz played noteworthy roles in the Montreal Brain Awareness Committee in 2008, including leading a range of activities: school presentations, community open houses for the general public, neuroscience movies for elementary and high school students (available in French and English), and coordinating Montreal’s International Brain Bee competition.

Zito was a leader in organizing and executing the SfN UC-Davis Chapter’s Brain Awareness Week in 2008, reaching out to both elementary and high school students, as well as underrepresented individuals in the local Davis area. Zito has also organized interactions with graduate and undergraduate UC-Davis students that are members of the Biology Undergraduate Scholars Program, which serves underrepresented and disadvantaged students.

Student Journalism Award: Karyn Meshbane, University of Miami and Haley Stephenson, Johns Hopkins University
SfN’s Science Journalism Student Award encourages students interested in pursuing a career in science or medical journalism by helping them attend the Society’s annual meeting. The Society grants two separate Science Journalism Student Awards — to a student from outside the annual meeting region and to a local student. The award includes registration to the meeting and $750 to defray expenses; an orientation on navigating and reporting on the meeting as a journalist; and a mentor.

Meshbane, the national award winner, was a neuroscience major at University of Miami as well as the news editor for the school newspaper, the Miami Hurricane. She is currently a research assistant at the Miami Institute for Human Genomics. Stephenson, the local award winner, is currently a student in the Science Writing Program at the Johns Hopkins University. Both have enthusiasm and passion for the field of science journalism.

The Society for Neuroscience is an organization of more than 38,000 basic scientists and clinicians who study the brain and nervous system.