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Philly Brings Science to Women and People of Color

by Winnie McCroy
EDGE Editor
Monday Mar 9, 2015

On March 13-14 in Philadelphia, extraordinary women in science come together to share their powerful stories of success and the impact that being a minority has had throughout their STEM career journey in hopes of inspiring the next generation of leaders during The Color of Science program.

"In order for students to envision themselves in these important roles, they need to see examples of scientists and engineers that they can identify with -- living and breathing role models who are relatable," explains Dr. Frederic Bertley, Senior Vice President of Science and Education at The Franklin Institute, who also conceived of The Color of Science program.

Celebrating its fifth year with a 2015 focus on great women in science during Women's History Month, The Color of Science is designed to increase awareness of the significant contributions that people of color and women have in science and technology, and illuminate the need for diversity within the scientific area. The two-day free event provides direct exposure to some of today's most influential and accomplished scientists, spotlighting their successes while showcasing the infinite opportunities available in a wide spectrum of STEM fields.

The event begins on the evening of Friday, March 13, with an all-female scientist panel discussion featuring The Franklin Institute's Chief Bio Scientist Dr. Jayatri Das. From an infectious disease pediatrician to a biotechnology researcher, the four featured women scientists openly share the personal stories of their STEM career journey before engaging in a group discussion, followed by an informal public reception with interactive demonstrations representative of their work.

The event continues on Saturday, March 14, when those scientists join their peers at stations throughout the museum exhibits to engage visitors and area students in demonstrations that represent the foundational concepts of their work. Among the ten scientists participating on Saturday are The Franklin Institute's Environmental Scientist Dr. Raluca Ellis, and Advanced Heart Failure Transplant Fellow at Johns Hopkins and Franklin Institute PACTS (Partnerships for Achieving Careers in Technology and Science) youth program alumni Dr. Albert Hicks.

"We created this program to highlight the remarkable contributions of great women and scientists of color to help erase the prevailing stereotype of what scientists and engineers look like and sound like," said Bertley. "This is both to reframe the adult perception of our 21st century science and technology contributors, as well as, present an authentic humanized avatar for students to identify with, be inspired by and strive toward becoming STEM leaders of tomorrow."

The Color of Science is developed and presented by The Franklin Institute in partnership with The Garvey Institute, with support from The Franklin Institute's youth programs, a suite of science enrichment, career development, and youth leadership programs available to under-served students in the Greater Philadelphia region. Since its inception five years ago, the program has seen tremendous growth with iterations taking place in cities across North America and Canada.

The Color of Science two-day event at The Franklin Institute includes:

Friday, March 13 | 6 p.m. (open to the public) ?One-on-one interviews followed by a lively and intriguing discussion moderated by WHYY Senior Health Reporter Taunya English.

Jayatri Das, PhD
Dr. Das is Chief Bio Scientist at The Franklin Institute. She led development of Your Brain, the Institute's newest exhibit about neuroscience and psychology of the human brain, as well as a reimagined sports science exhibit opening in 2015.

Kristen A. Feemster, MD, MPH, MSHPR
Dr. Feemster is a pediatric infectious diseases physician and health services researcher at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

Agnes Chau Klucha, BASc, MBA
Agnes Chau Klucha is the Program Manager for Research and Technology Partnerships at UTC Aerospace Systems, one of the world's largest suppliers of technologically advanced aerospace and defense products.

Carmen Fernández-Metzler, PhD
Dr. Fernández-Metzler is President of PharmaCadence Analytical Services, LLC, a small consulting and laboratory group located in Hatfield, Pennsylvania. She is an experienced researcher in the fast paced drug discovery and biotechnology arenas.

Saturday, March 14 | 9:30 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Prominent scientists and engineers strategically placed throughout the exhibits to engage and interact with students and visitors.

9:30 a.m.: The Color of Science Laboratory
Students and young museum visitors travel through the museum receiving passport stamps as they take part in science demonstrations by a number of leading scientists.

12:30 p.m.: Lunch with the Scientists (invited students and youth groups only)
Students join the featured scientists at round tables to learn about careers in science and discuss pathways to becoming a scientist.

Located in the heart of Philadelphia, The Franklin Institute is a renowned and innovative leader in the field of science and technology learning, as well as a dynamic center of activity. Pennsylvania's most visited museum, it is dedicated to creating a passion for learning about science by offering access to hands-on science education.

The event on Friday is free and open to the public, however space is limited. Advance registration is required; please call 215-448-1200. Saturday's lunch is for invited students only; museum visitors are invited to interact with the featured scientists throughout the museum and are encouraged to pre-register by calling 215-448-1333.

For more information, visit

Winnie McCroy is the Women on the EDGE Editor, HIV/Health Editor, and Assistant Entertainment Editor for EDGE Media Network, handling all women's news, HIV health stories and theater reviews throughout the U.S. She has contributed to other publications, including The Village Voice, Gay City News, Chelsea Now and The Advocate, and lives in Brooklyn, New York.


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