Science on center stage

NIU faculty, staff, students trek to Chicago to join annual meeting
of AAAS, featuring many of the world’s brightest scientific minds

American Association for the Advancement of Science logoWarning: Brainiac alert!

The annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), among the largest yearly gatherings of scientists in the world, will be held this week in Chicago, and NIU expects to be well-represented.

NIU students, faculty and outreach staff will be attending various events at the meeting, held Thursday, Feb. 13, through Monday, Feb. 17, at the Hyatt Regency Chicago and Fairmont Chicago. This year’s theme is, “Meeting Global Challenges: Discovery and Innovation.”

NIU Distinguished Research Professor of Physics Gerald Blazey will be among the presenters.

On leave from NIU while serving as a senior policy advisor for the physical sciences in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), Blazey will speak on the topic of “Graduate Education Modernization” during a panel session from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. Friday, Feb. 14, at the Hyatt Regency Chicago.

Gerald Blazey

Gerald Blazey

OSTP has convened an informal discussion group to consider requirements, possible actions and outcomes for graduate education modernization. Blazey’s talk will share observations on emergent themes regarding graduate preparation for the 21st century workforce, diverse career paths, mentorship opportunities, harmonization and best practices.

NIU STEM Outreach will be featured during the conference’s Family Science Days events. K-12 students can explore interactive science exhibits, learn about cool science jobs and have their questions answered by scientists during these events from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 15, and Sunday, Feb. 16, at the Hyatt Regency Chicago, purple level.

Pre-registration is recommended but not required.

This free community science showcase features hands-on demos, shows and other activities appropriate for K-12 children and their families.

NIU STEM Outreach will have a featured demonstration, titled “It’s Not Magic, It’s Science,” at 2:30 p.m. Sunday in the Riverside Center Exhibit Hall. The high-energy presentation illustrates the science behind everyday events.

A dozen NIU undergraduate and graduate students are presenting at poster competitions and the general poster sessions, held from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at Hyatt’s Riverside Center.

Students presenting posters on Saturday include Eden Anderson, Steve Boi, Disa Brummet, Taylor Dupre, Alex Ekstrom, Nicholas Kirchner, Mercedes McWaters, Ashlyn Shellito, Josh Wardwell and Evan Wittke. Students presenting on Sunday include Shannon McCarragher, Ellen Raimondi and Mai Thao.

Alpha Omega Epsilon - Mu ChapterIn addition, the science sorority sisters of NIU’s Alpha Omega Epsilon are sending a contingent of volunteers to help at information counters and as technical aids in the presentation rooms. Student involvement in the prestigious annual meeting was sponsored by NIU’s Office of Student Engagement and Experiential Learning and the Division of Research and Innovation Partnerships.

Several high-level NIU administrators also will be attending the annual meeting, including Interim Executive Vice President and Provost Lisa Freeman and Interim Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies Lesley Rigg.

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