The Society for Science is pleased to announce that Dr. Roderic Pettigrew and Afton Vechery have joined the Society’s Board of Trustees. “As global leaders in health, medicine, and engineering, I am thrilled to welcome Roderic and Afton to the Board of Trustees,” said Maya Ajmera, President & CEO, Society for Science and Publisher, of Science News. “They are innovators helping people take control of their futures and which aligns with the Society’s mission of understanding science’s role in human advancement.”
Pettigrew is CEO of Engineering Health and Inaugural Dean of the School of Engineering Medicine at Texas A&M University. As founding director of the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB), he has established several research programs aimed to improve the field of medicine. Pettigrew’s latest undertaking is the creation of ENMED, a new school that integrates engineering into medical training to develop an innovation-minded physician, or Physicianeer, who invents solutions to healthcare problems. He is 2020 recipient of the Vannevar Bush Award, one of the nation’s highest science awards. Pettigrew is an alumnus of the International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) of 1967.
“As a young person, I always had a natural love for science and was excited by understanding, discovery and using knowledge to create. Growing up in the segregated south, annual science fairs served multiple positive purposes. They allowed us to reach beyond our social environment to explore the universe through the laws of nature, to connect with others far and wide and to stimulate boundless dreams,” shared Pettigrew. “Starting in the 9th grade I always looked forward to having a project in the State Fair and by the 10th grade I was ecstatic to be selected to attend the ISEF held in San Francisco, which happened to necessitate my first flight. The whole experience was a landmark in my education, personal and professional development. Now I hope to help bring this type of nurturing of creativity to the next generations of scientists and engineers as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Society for Science.”
As President of Women’s Health at Ro and CEO and Co-Founder of Modern Fertility, Vechery works to make personalized fertility information and support more accessible to women everywhere. Modern Fertility provides at-home tests and digital tools to help women check in on fertility and be proactive about reproductive health, whether they are trying for kids or not. Prior to Modern Fertility, Vechery led strategy and operation at various healthtech startups, and was most recently a product leader at 23andMe. She has been named to Fortune’s 40 Under 40 List, Inc’s Female Founders on 2022 list, Inc’s 30 Under 30 list and Forbes’ 30 Under 30 List. Vechery is an alumna of ISEF 2005 and the Science Talent Search 2007.
“Growing up, I competed in the International Science and Engineering Fair and it was one of the most defining experiences of my life. It showed me that when we apply a business mindset to scientific discoveries, we can unlock some of the most profound advancements to healthcare, the environment, and our overall society,” said Vechery. “It is truly humbling to join the Society for Science as a Board member, and I am honored to be a part of continuing to scale this organization’s efforts to bring transformational opportunities to youth and drive the future of scientific progress. To say I am excited to play a role here would be a dramatic understatement.”