After eight years of distinguished service, Elizabeth Marincola moved on from her role as president of the Society for Science & the Public and publisher of SSP’s Science News family of publications effective June 14, 2013. She has accepted a leadership role with the Public Library of Science. The Society’s Board of Trustees is leading the effort to identify and hire her successor.
During the past eight years under Elizabeth’s leadership, the Society has undergone many changes, including a name change from Science Service to the current Society for Science & the Public. We have built a strong financial foundation (and have been named a 4-star charity by Charity Navigator for the third year in a row, a feat achieved by fewer than 10% of nonprofit organizations). Our financial strength has allowed us to increase our support for the publications, competitions and other projects that allow us to continue pursuing our mission of informing, inspiring and educating the public about science and its many possibilities.
We have revamped and launched publications, such as adding Kindle and iPad editions of Science News and reinventing the free, online Science News for Kids. We have helped tens of thousands of motivated students participate in our educational competitions and have become a go-to source not only for those students who have been directly involved in our competitions but also for a far broader population of students interested in hands-on independent scientific research.
Last month, more than 1,600 finalists competed in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair held in Phoenix, AZ. The top winners had projects focused on creating software for a low-cost, self-driving car; developing a supercapacitator, an energy-efficient storage device that has the potential to replace conventional batteries; and simulating clusters of galaxies providing valuable new data to help better understand the mysteries of astrophysics. Other projects ranged from research concerning food allergies or alternate fuel sources, biodegradable polymers and much more. The dedication, ingenuity and hard work these young scientists put into their independent scientific research prepared them to help solve the pressing scientific problems facing the world today and in the future.
We need more students like these. It is vitally important that we all continue to encourage science education and hands-on research starting at a young age. The Society’s competitions -- the Intel Science Talent Search, Intel International Science and Engineering Fair and Broadcom MASTERS -- serve as goals for motivated students and as inspiration to millions of students participating in SSP-affiliated science fairs around the world. Nonetheless, we must continue to reach an even broader audience. All students, regardless of resources, should have the opportunity to learn by doing.
During the transition and under our new leadership, SSP will not only continue to provide the quality competition experience that finalists, parents, teachers and fair directors have come to expect but will also continue to expand our reach further through additional programs aimed at getting more students interested and involved in science.
Our Science News family of publications, including Science News for Kids and Science News Prime for the iPad, will continue striving to increase the public’s scientific knowledge not only by reporting concise and current news but also by reaching out to where the public is. Our updated website is expected to launch this fall and will be part of a multi-pronged effort to provide information in new formats better designed to reach a mobile and tech-savvy audience.
Science News has served as a valuable source of information about science for more than 90 years. We look forward to providing an updated experience to our readers without losing any of the valuable in-depth reporting and clarity readers have come to expect.
The Society’s Board is exceedingly grateful to Elizabeth Marincola for her outstanding leadership of SSP and for establishing such a secure and promising future for SSP. We have every confidence that the dedicated staff and volunteers of SSP will continue to advance the Society's mission, programs and publications in the coming months and years and look forward to our growth and success in helping the public understand, enjoy and use science in daily life.
H. Robert Horvitz
Chair, SSP Board of Trustees on behalf of the Board of Trustees