Class of 2023 Hosts the Gerald H. Elkan Distinguished Lecture in Science and Society Featuring Nalini Nadkarni

North Carolina State University’s Park Scholarships Class of 2023 will host the 2022 Gerald H. Elkan Distinguished Lecture in Science and Society from 6-7 p.m. on Wednesday, March 30 in the Talley Student Union Mountains/Piedmont Ballroom. The lecture will feature Nalini Nadkarni, an award-winning ecologist and science activist whose achievements in ecology led her to create multiple programs aimed at increasing scientific literacy among justice-affected persons. This program is supported by the University Honors and Scholars Programs.

Nalini Nadkarni
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Nadkarni is a science activist whose career studying trees cultivated a passion for educating others about the importance of nature. Her publications have focused on canopy and ecology, science in correctional facilities, and science and religion. Nadkarni is the co-creator of the Sustainability in Prisons Program in Washington state and creator of the Initiative to bring Science Programs to the Incarcerated (INSPIRE). She holds a B.S. from Brown University and a Ph.D. from the University of Washington. She currently serves as a professor of biology at the University of Utah.

Nadkarni has received several national awards, including the Union of Concerned Scientists “Inspiring Scientist” Award in 2019. Her two TED talks, “Conserving the Canopy” and “Life Science in Prison” have more than a million combined views. Nadkarni’s effort to bring nature videos to justice-affected individuals in solitary confinement was recognized by TIME Magazine as “One of the Best Inventions of 2014.”

The Gerald H. Elkan Distinguished Lecture on Science and Society was established by its namesake’s former students, associates, and friends in honor of Dr. Elkan’s 40-year career as a microbiology professor in NC State’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. This lectureship supports an annual talk at NC State by a prominent thought leader.

Dr. Elkan has been deeply involved with the Park Scholarships program since its inception in 1997. He and his associates worked closely with the Park Scholars of the Class of 2022 to select Thomas Hager as the third Gerald H. Elkan Distinguished Lecture in Science and Society speaker. Past recipients of the lectureship include water quality engineer Dr. Marc Edward, renowned health policy expert Dr. Nicole Lurie, and award-winning author Thomas Hager.

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