Relevance and Rapport: Promoting Inclusion through Public Engagement

How can scientists be change agents for effective public engagement? Join us to hear from Jason Williams, Assistant Director of Inclusion and Research Readiness at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory’s DNA Learning Center, for his take on how we can promote inclusion in the sciences through public engagement. In this webinar, Williams will describe principles and examples from his own experience as both a learner and facilitator in public engagement and outreach.  ASCB Public Engagement Grant awardees, Anusha Naganathan, Research Associate at the University of Rochester, Savannah Cook, Program Coordinator at Fred Hutchison Cancer Research Center, and Shraddha Nayak, Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Utah, will join the second half of the webinar for a moderated panel discussion with live questions.

Jason Williams is Assistant Director, Inclusion and Research Readiness at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory DNA Learning Center where he develops national biology education programs. Jason leads education, outreach, and training for CyVerse (US national cyberinfrastructure for the life sciences) and has trained thousands of students, researchers and educators in bioinformatics, data science, and molecular biology. Jason’s focus has been developing bioinformatics in undergraduate education and career-spanning learning for biologists. Jason is founder of – a global effort to promote community of practice among professionals who develop short-format training for life scientists. Jason is advisory to cyberinfrastructure, bioinformatics, and education projects and initiatives in the US, UK, Europe, and Australia. He is also a teacher at the Yeshiva University High School for Girls.



 Anusha Naganathan is a Research associate at University of Rochester and Adjunct lecturer. She studies protein synthesis and ribosome assembly in E. coli. As adjunct teaching faculty, she is very interested in active learning pedagogy and science outreach. In 2020, she received the ASCB public engagement award to create short films of research labs in an effort to bring STEM laboratory experience for incarcerated students in Rochester. As part of this project, she created four short films and developed an outreach program to help biology researchers participate in a prison education program. She hopes to expand the outreach program and engage undergraduates in science communication in the future.

Savannah Cook was a research technician at the University of Washington and then the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center for a total of 9 years before choosing to transition to science education with a focus on underrepresented minority students. Her work as a project coordinator for Fred Hutch’s Summer High School Internship Program and Pathways Undergraduate Research Program inspired her to create a science education program that stemmed from her passion for volunteering with the local homeless shelter, Mary’s Place. Savannah now runs a weekly STEM club for youth residents at the shelter ranging from 4-17 years and hopes to inspire some of her students to join Fred Hutch’s other education programs when they come of age.

Shraddha Nayak is a postdoctoral fellow in The Animation Lab in the Dept. of Biochemistry at the University of Utah. She is being mentored by Janet Iwasa to be a molecular animator and a scientific visualization expert. She is developing her skills to be able to contribute to scientific visualization for research, education and outreach. You can see some of her works here.


Starts: September 29, 2021 1:00 pm EDT

Ends: September 29, 2021 2:00 pm EDT