The Civic Scientist Lectures are a series of talks by leading scientists and engineers from around the world who have impacted public policy. The goal of the series is to expose scientists and future scientists to the notion that their roles expand outside of the laboratory. It also gives the Houston community an opportunity to hear leading scientists discuss their fields and careers, promoting science and technology as a public good worthy of federal, state and local funding. The Civic Scientist Program is managed by the Science and Technology Policy Program of Rice University's Baker Institute.
This lecture will highlight the role scientists play in helping improve the public"s and policymakers" understanding of science, as well as the role science can play helping improve international relations. Colwell will explore the interaction of climate science and health through a case study of cholera.
This event, also a part of the Shell Distinguished Lecture Series, is co-hosted by the Baker Institute Science and Technology Policy Program, the Wiess School of Natural Sciences and the George R. Brown School of Engineering at Rice University. Additional support for this program is generously provided by the JWC/JKH Family Foundation -- Janice Hartrick.
Rita Colwell, Ph.D., is the president and chairman of CosmosID Inc., as well as a distinguished professor at the University of Maryland and an adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. From 1998 to 2004, she served as director of the National Science Foundation (NSF), where she spearheaded the agency"s emphases in K-12 science and mathematics education, graduate science and engineering education/training, and the increased participation of women and minorities in science and engineering. Before coming to NSF, Colwell was president of the University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute from 1991 to 1998, and she remains professor of microbiology and biotechnology (on leave) at the university. She was also a member of the National Science Board from 1984 to 1990.
In 2010, Colwell was selected by the U.S. State Department as a science envoy. One of six individuals selected, Colwell traveled to Bangladesh, Malaysia and Vietnam to help identify new and build on existing opportunities for scientific partnership that would address global challenges, including water safety and public health, areas in which she has been a scientific leader for decades.
Colwell holds a B.S. in bacteriology and an M.S. in genetics from Purdue University, and a Ph.D. in oceanography from the University of Washington.