Interview with Science Cheerleader Hilary Nicholson

Science Cheerleaders is an organization that works to confront stereotypes around cheerleaders and academics in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Members travel around the country to speak at schools, festivals, sports games, on TV, and more, to help connect groups traditionally underrepresented in STEM fields. We spoke with member and national coordinator, Hilary Nicholson, Ph.D., who is currently a medical oncology research fellow at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School. Nicholson completed her Ph.D. at Brown University, where she also coached cheerleaders for the Brown Bears football team.


Nicholson in her Ph.D. lab at Brown University.

1. Can you explain the idea behind Science Cheerleaders and how you got involved?

HN: The Science Cheerleaders are a group of over 300 current and former professional and collegiate cheerleaders who also have advanced degrees and careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. We aim to playfully challenge stereotypes surrounding what a scientist looks like and who can be an engineer, programmer, mathematician, etc., while also encouraging young girls to become engaged in STEM through citizen science projects and serving as role models ourselves.

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New York City’s 2018 Regional Brain Bee

Guest post by Brandon Barrera

The battle of the best and brightest of brainiacs from New York City’s greater metropolitan area high schools came to its conclusion this Saturday at the 2018 Regional Brain Bee, held in the Great Hall at the City College of New York.


Photo credit: Jacqueline Silberbush

The annual neuroscience competition offers curious young minds the opportunity to flex their gray matter know-how, learn about the latest in brain research, and lets them jump at the chance to get “hands-on” with humanity’s most precious organ—a human brain, in the flesh.

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New K-5 Lesson Plans Now Available

New lesson plans about the brain are now available for teachers and students!  Each lesson plan has an accompanying PowerPoint presentation for students and an interactive activity that allows them to get hands-on with how the brain works. The lesson plans also include student objectives and background information, and are paired with relevant Dana Alliance fact sheets (for 3rd to 5th grade students).

Michigan State University_ArtsabndCrafts

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National Health Education Week

This week, join the celebration for National Health Education Week (October 16-20)! The weeklong campaign, sponsored by the Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE), first began in 1995 as an effort to direct national attention towards public health issues and promote a general understanding of the role health education plays in our everyday lives.

Not sure where to start? Each day this week, SOPHE is providing a series of themed events online and on social media to open up discussions on health education, community events, and the impact of advocacy. Public participation is encouraged, and don’t forget to use #NHEW.

As another organization committed to educating the public about brain health and the latest in scientific research, the Dana Foundation offers a vast amount of free, lay-friendly publications and resources year-round, encouraging people of all ages to better understand the brain.

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Honoring Our Colleague Dr. Barbara Rich

This week marks the one year anniversary of the loss of our colleague and friend, Barbara Rich, Ed.D., who led our communications department for more than twenty years. To honor her memory, we are pleased to announce that we are joining her daughter, Marla Hassner, in the endowment of a new “Barbara Rich Award for Social Justice” at her alma mater, the City College of New York (CCNY). This award will be given every spring to “an outstanding graduating senior at CCNY who (1) has demonstrated talent in the study and practical pursuit of social justice and (2) has demonstrated the potential to be a social justice leader in their career.”

A plaque bearing the names of the recipients will be displayed at the college’s Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership. It will read:

Barbara Rich was a proud alumna of the City College of New York who, beginning as a student activist and continuing throughout her life, fought for social justice and equality, and defended the civil rights of all people. At CCNY she worked on the college newspaper and challenged those who would limit free speech and restrict personal freedom. She went on to earn her doctorate from Columbia University, but always considered herself first a City College graduate. After a lengthy career in academia, Dr. Rich served as Executive Vice President at the Dana Foundation. She was an educator, a communicator, a leader, and an unyielding advocate for a more equal and just society.

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