Mission Statement

Science in Society is a Northwestern University research center dedicated to science education and public engagement. Through partnerships with Chicago-area schools and community groups, we train Northwestern researchers to share their expertise and creativity in a community-centered way. Our focus is to develop sustainable educational initiatives that deliver proven results for groups that need us most.

The center partners with urban K-12 teachers, administrators, and youth development agencies to create high-quality, long-term, impactful science learning opportunities for underserved youth. In 2008, Science in Society partnered with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago and teachers in Chicago Public Schools to develop Science Club, a mentor-based afterschool program. Science Club brings Northwestern science graduate students together with underrepresented middle school youth throughout the academic year. Related programs include Science Club Summer Camp, Science Explorers, and Jr. Science Club.

All of the center's thirteen initiatives build long-term partnerships with community organizations and educators to collaboratively deliver inquiry-based science engagement for communities in need. Science in Society also develop and run science writing and communication training for scientist and researchers, often in tandem with the educational and community-focused priorities of the center's mission. This includes the annual Scientific Images Contest, a science writing course for scientists, and the online magazine HELIX.

In 2016, the center received a Phi Beta Kappa Society award for innovative efforts to build community connections through the natural sciences.

Who We Are

Research Professor and Director

Michael Kennedy is a research professor of Neurobiology at Northwestern University and the founding director of Science in Society, the university’s...

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Associate Director

Rabiah Mayas is a self-proclaimed lifelong science nerd whose passion for science education stems from her strong belief in science and scientific thinking...

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Editor, HELIX Magazine and Communications Specialist

Sara Grady's interests bridge connections between science and culture, from public discourse and policy to art-science collaborations. As a writer, editor...

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Post Doctoral Fellow

Julianne Hatfield received her PhD in biology from Northwestern University in 2015. After graduating from Northwestern’s Driskill Graduate Program in 2015...

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Program Coodinator, Science Club

Ashley Jennings’s path to science education was logical, although not entirely direct. She grew up in the Chicagoland area but has been living back and...

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Northwestern/District 65 Partnership Coordinator

Jen Lewin joined Science in Society after several years working with us as a CPS science teacher on both ...

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Senior Program Coordinator

Emily Mathews is excited to join the Science in Society team and continue her lifelong work of making science fun, exciting, and accessible for all...

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Business Coordinator

Sarina McBride has held a variety of roles in both academia and industry. After a degree in chemistry from the University of Oregon, she...

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Program Coordinator, Science Club

Throughout his academic career, Jakob has always found ways to be engaged in science education and outreach. From working as an environmental summer camp...

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Communications Assistant

Paige Edmiston is excited to be in Chicagoland and at Science in Society. She recently moved from Seattle, where she worked as a marketing and...

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Science Education Fellow

Brett recently graduated from the University of Chicago with a BA in Biology. She is...

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Visit the HELIX Magazine website for the latest in science news.

Science in Society has been publishing original articles, Q&As and blog posts by Northwestern faculty, students, staff and alumni in our online magazine since 2008.

Visit our online calendar to find science outreach events at Northwestern and in the Chicagoland area that are designed for the public.

From lectures to movie screenings to museum exhibits, science is happening near you. 

Like Science in Society on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to stay connected.

And sign up for our monthly newsletter to be informed of new articles, upcoming events and initiatives endorsed by Science in Society.