Ainissa Ramirez presents convocation about the importance of STEM education

February 17, 2017

Popular scientist and author Ainissa Ramirez will present the weekly Carleton convocation on Friday, Feb. 24 from 10:50 to 11:50 a.m. in the Skinner Memorial Chapel. A self-proclaimed “science evangelist,” Ramirez is passionate about the importance of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education and careers, particularly in underrepresented groups, and aims to make science fun and interesting for all ages.

Carleton convocations are free and open to the public. They are also recorded and archived for online viewing at

Even as a young girl, Ramirez always wanted to be a scientist. She recalls watching the classic television program 3-2-1 Contact, where she saw a young African-American girl solve problems and think critically. She saw herself in that little girl and was hooked. But, growing up and pursuing a career in the sciences, she also saw significant under-representation of African-Americans and girls in the field. Her mission became clear to her; Ramirez has made it her life’s work to advocate for scientific understanding and engagement for all.

Before becoming an author and advocate, Ramirez was an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Sciences at Yale University. At Yale she launched a children’s program called "Science Saturdays," aimed at getting kids excited about science through demonstrations and engaging speakers. After significant initial success, Ramirez developed the video series "Material Marvels" designed to teach material science in engaging, accessible, three-minute videos, later launching an online YouTube series called "Science Xplained.”

Today, Ramirez is a self-proclaimed "science evangelist" passionate about getting children and the general public excited about science and how it affects our daily lives. In a breakthrough TED Talk in 2012, Ramirez advocated for a new, problem-solving type of approach to science education to tackle the scientific challenges of the future.

Ramirez is the author of the Kindle book Save Our Science: How to Inspire a New Generation of Scientists (TED Conferences, 2013) and Newton's Football: The Science Behind America's Game (Ballantine Books, 2013). She currently co-hosts the science podcast “Science Underground” and is writing a book on the role of material science throughout history.

Ramirez received her Bachelor of Science degree in materials science and engineering from Brown University and her Doctorate from Stanford University. She has authored more than 50 technical papers, received numerous research awards, and holds six patents—one of which was awarded MIT’s Top 100 Young Innovators Award. She has served as a science advisor to the American Film Institute, WGBH/NOVA, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and several science museums, as well as writing for TIME magazine. More at

This event is sponsored by the Carleton College Convocations Committee. For more information, including disability accommodations, call (507) 222-4308. The Skinner Memorial Chapel is located on First and College Streets in Northfield.