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2015 Annual Ann Stuart and Ray R. Poliakoff Celebration of Science

Katie Olson, Editor-in-Chief

celebration-of-science-largecreditedThe TWU annual Celebration of Science was held on Oct. 9th, in the Ann Stuart Science Complex beginning at 8:30 am. The event featured two keynote speakers along with presentations of student posters from the Chemistry and Biology departments.

According to the College of Arts and Sciences home page former TWU chancellor Ann Stuart along with her late husband Ray R. Poliakoff founded the series in 2011, giving a generous donation of $200,000.00. This has allowed TWU’s Biology and Chemistry departments to continue to promote science in all its forms.

The event kicked off by featuring a poster session of research done by graduate and undergraduate students within the Chemistry and Biology departments respectively. In a phone interview, Dr. Richard Sheardy explained that research faculty chose from their own groups of students to select research displayed in the poster session.

After the poster session, students could attend a forum and panel discussion with this year’s keynote speakers: Ph.D and Senior Staff Scientist of the Life Sciences division Cynthia McMurray from Lawrence Berkley National Labs, and Ph.D and Professor of Chemistry Kara L. Bren from University of Rochester. Sheardy explains that the forum is for students to interact with the scientists and learn about their experiences in the field.

“They [the speakers] talk about the challenges and promises of being a female scientist in today’s world. So that’s really beneficial for the students. They can see what these people went through to get to where they are. And every one of them has a really cool, unique story to talk about,” Sheardy said.

After the forum, a symposium titled Women and Science was held where McMurray and Bren spoke about their research experience in their respective fields. Sheardy added that scientists that are chosen to speak at the event are usually those with a vested interest in human health.

“We’ve had people talk about different types of diseases and the approaches that they’re taking to answer questions about how the disease starts, how it propagates, how we can cure it,” he elaborated.

Sheardy notes that the increase in need for individuals in the fields of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) has opened up opportunities in the workforce for underrepresented groups, including women, to take advantage of the opportunities in these fields. Sheardy believes the Celebration of Science encourages TWU students who have a strong mindset that they can solve the urgent scientific problems of the world.

“It’s [the program] showing the students that they can do this and it shows the community that we care about science education at this university. It really is part of our educational mission to have people come in and talk about their science. It is celebrating women and science,” he concluded.

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