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CLAS professor selected as AAAS Leshner Leadership Institute fellow

Date: 2/14/2018
Julie Lesnik, assistant professor in Wayne State's Department of Anthropology, is one of 15 food and water security researchers across the country selected for the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s (AAAS) 2018-19 Alan I. Leshner Leadership Institute Public Engagement Fellows.
Lesnik and the other scientists chosen demonstrated leadership and excellence in their research careers and an interest in promoting meaningful dialogue between science and society, according to the AAAS.
The food and water security work of the incoming AAAS Leshner Fellows draws from varied disciplines, including anthropology, civil engineering, biological and environmental sciences, geography, hydrology, political science and economics, plant genetics, and horticulture.
“It is an honor to have the field of biological anthropology represented in this initiative,” Lesnik said. “Recognizing the differences between how humans evolved to use food resources versus what we do now in our current industrialized system can be helpful in reimagining the future of food.”
The AAAS Leshner Fellows program, now in its third year, builds on the long-standing commitment of the association’s science communication and public engagement.
The 15 fellows appointed, along with the many others who applied, demonstrate clear commitment from scientists and researchers within the food and water security research community to engage the public on many critical issues. 
The Leshner Fellows will meet in June at AAAS headquarters in Washington, D.C. for a week of intensive public engagement and science communication training, networking and public engagement plan development.
Throughout the year, the fellows will develop and implement public engagement activities, train other scientists in their communities, and work to increase capacity for public engagement at their institutions. AAAS staff will provide ongoing support and continuing professional development.
“One of my goals is to organize workshops that are geared towards helping scholars identify how their specialized research can be used as a lens to discuss big issues our society faces today,” Lesnik said.
The Leshner Leadership Institute was established in 2015 through philanthropic support and managed by the AAAS Center for Public Engagement with Science and Technology, established in 2004 by Alan I. Leshner, now chief executive officer emeritus of AAAS.