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Job Opportunity: Administrative Assistant, The Center for Science and Society, Columbia University

The Center for Science and Society is seeking an administrative assistant to help with various general office responsibilities, with a particular focus on managing the Center’s social media platforms. Assistant will provide on-site (and occasionally off-site) support for the Center for Science and Society, reporting to the Business Manager and Project Manager. Responsibilities include but not limited to: Providing logistical support for Center meetings and events; performing basic clerical and administrative tasks such as email correspondence and creating spreadsheets; overseeing the Center’s social media platforms through regular posts about current and upcoming events; support Project Assistant with regular updates to the Center’s website. The candidate is expected within the first two weeks of Fall 2018 semester. However, we are open to any candidate who would like to start in August 2018. Work hours are flexible to suit the candidate’s needs.

Note: This position is only for students in the Federal Work-Study program. For more information and to apply, please log into the Columbia Federal Work-Study system and search for Job ID 9976.

Job Opportunity: Digitization Consultant, The New York Academy of Medicine

The New York Academy of Medicine Library is currently looking for a consultant to work on our mass digitization project, Public Health in America, 1911-1968. Collections in the project include the Committee on Public Health of the New York Academy of Medicine: Correspondence, Reports, and Documents, 1911 – 1968, the Library of Social and Economic Aspects of Medicine of Michael M. Davis, 1920-196[1], and selected publications from the Health Reports Collection.  The consultant will provide pre-digitization services for all collections, including creating a new finding aid for the Michael Davis collection, barcoding archival material for tracking, conducting condition assessment, packing and shipping material for digitization, and other tasks as necessary to prepare and send materials to the digitization vendor. The consultant will also provide post-digitization services that include unpacking returned materials and conducting post-digitization condition assessment.

Job tasks include: create a finding aid for the Michael Davis collection and work with the Historical Collections Librarian to re-order the archival collection; conduct condition assessment of materials pre- and post- digitization; barcode and check-out materials from the online catalog; organize and pack materials for shipping to the digitization vendor; track materials throughout the process.

Candidates should have: experience handling archival material and creating finding aids; excellent communication and organizational skills; knowledge of online library catalog systems and working knowledge of technology, including Excel; ease and proficiency working in digital library settings; ability to lift library materials weighing up to 30 lbs. Candidates should also have a bachelor’s degree and one to two years of experience in a library setting, including knowledge of technology, and online library catalog systems. A library student working toward the MLS degree is preferred.

This position pays $20 an hour and is based in New York City. Rolling deadline. Please send an e-mail with your qualifications and resume to

Public Outreach Grants Awarded

The Center for Science and Society is pleased to award its first cycle of public outreach grants. These grants fund projects that have one or more of the following aims:

— Help boost public understanding of societal concerns surrounding science, technology, or medicine;

— Teach K-12 students about current issues in science and society; or

— Work with communities to respond to issues that affect or are affected by science.

Public outreach grants were open to all full-time employees and students at Columbia University, Teachers College, and Barnard College, including faculty, postdocs, researchers, and administrators. Out of the many qualified applications, the following four projects have been selected for funding:

Formerly Incarcerated Reintegration Science Training (FIRST) Program led by Christopher Medina-Kirchner (PhD Student in Psychology). The program trains formerly incarcerated students in conducting scientific research that addresses social justice issues. Read our feature article about Christopher’s project.

— Colorant Sustainability Workshop led by Naomi Rosenkranz (Project Manager, Making and Knowing Project) and Sumeyye Yar (Science Outreach Coordinator, Genspace). Workshops teach the public about the history and chemistry of natural dyes through hands-on experiments.

— For the Daughters of Harlem: Working in Sound led by Lucie Vagnerova (Core Lecturer in Music Humanities) and Ellie M. Hisama (Professor of Music). Geared towards young women, the workshop explores the social and cultural dimensions of science through digital music technology and audio production training.

— People Doing Interesting Stuff podcast led by Samuel Roberts (Associate Professor of History and Sociomedical Sciences). The podcast offers advanced public health and drug policy discussion in an accessible and jargon-free format.

Naomi Rosenkranz, Sumeyye Yar, Lucie Vagnerova, Ellie M. Hisama, Samuel Roberts, and Christopher Medina-Kirchner


Public Outreach Spotlight: Christopher Medina-Kirchner

2017-2018 has been a busy and successful academic year for the Center for Science and Society. This summer, we are producing a short newsletter series to celebrate and share all that we have accomplished! We hope you enjoyed our first issue on seed grants and our news article about Awardee Ben Mylius. Our second issue highlighted the Research Cluster for Science and Subjectivity (RCSS) and our news article featured RCCS undergraduate students Neci Whye and Ewoma Ogbaudu who created the course “Marginalization in Medicine.”

In this third issue, you learn about our first cycle of public outreach grants. CSS awarded four grants to Columbia and Barnard affiliates working on projects that help to increase public understanding and/or address societal concerns surrounding science, technology, or medicine. Hear more from Awardee Christopher Medina-Kirchner below and view our news article announcing the other public outreach projects.

Project Inspiration

Christopher Medina-Kirchner 

I am currently a PhD student in Columbia’s Psychology Department. However, my past would not necessarily lead you to think this achievement would be part of my journey. See, I have been in prison. I pursued an academic path upon release because my felony conviction prevented me from obtaining meaningful employment. School became the only viable option for a decent life. Unfortunately, my excitement after gaining acceptance into the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee was cut short when I was denied campus housing due to my record. To make matters worse, when trying to make friends on campus, the chunky electronic ankle monitor seemed to make people suspicious of me. I felt like a social pariah bearing a life sentence that transcended the prison walls.

Campus life was distressing until my acceptance into the University of Wisconsin’s McNair Scholars program. This program prepares underrepresented students for doctoral studies through involvement in scientific research. Since the program provided a cost of living stipend, I no longer had to spend hours applying for jobs only to be rejected because of my record. This allowed me to spend my time studying with fellow McNair Scholars. I met and bonded with another formerly incarcerated student. I finally found a campus community and had the emotional support I needed to thrive academically.

McNair Scholars represent a variety of disciplines. Through our discussions, I explored multiple perspectives and discovered the value of interdisciplinary collaboration and thinking. It became clear to me that when a student’s point of view is rooted in only one discipline aspects of a topic may be overlooked. By combining viewpoints, topics can be discussed on multiple levels, leading to a deeper understanding than could be achieved with a narrower approach. Through my newfound sense of community, financial stability, and interdisciplinary research skills, I prospered in my undergraduate studies, eventually gaining acceptance to Columbia’s Psychology PhD program. If other formerly incarcerated students were afforded similar opportunities to the McNair Scholars program, they too would thrive academically. Filling this need, I designed a science research program similar to McNair, but uniquely dedicated to meeting the needs of formerly incarcerated students.

The Project

Members of the FIRST teaching and mentoring team.

The Formerly Incarcerated Reintegration Science Training (FIRST) program helps integrate formerly incarcerated students into graduate school. This is accomplished by providing a sense of community to program participants while they are trained to conduct scientific research and prepare for a career in academia. Although participants come from diverse fields, all research projects have a social justice focus.

While in the program, participants are provided with a multitude of resources and mechanisms to assist in their professional development. Formerly incarcerated mentors help students design their projects, develop career goals, build professional networks, while also providing advice and encouragement. Weekly workshops help participants improve their research and writing skills. As an incentive for completing the program, stipends are provided. Finally, participants will present their research at the FIRST Annual Program Symposium, gaining valuable experience in science dissemination.


I am incredibly grateful for the funding provided by the Center for Science and Society. Without this, the FIRST program would not be possible. I’m sure there are other formerly incarcerated students currently experiencing struggles similar to those I had. By providing community and a clear pathway to graduate school, we can drastically improve their lives.

Although this program was designed for the formerly incarcerated, it could be expanded to individuals currently in prison. Prisoners could start graduate school immediately upon release, creating a prison to graduate school pipeline. Furthermore, by increasing the representation and successes of formerly incarcerated individuals on campus, we can create a more inclusive university environment for the ones already there. I’m also excited at the possibility of research collaborations amongst the program participants. They come from various backgrounds including social work, communication, social psychology, and neuropsychopharmacology. Each project will be informed by perspectives from multiple disciplines.

If you would like provide support or have suggestions for the FIRST program, please don’t hesitate to contact me at

Christopher Medina-Kirchner

Christopher Medina-Kirchner is a doctoral student in the Neuropsychopharmacology Lab exploring how misinformation about the neurological effects of drug use contributes to mass incarceration.

Interested in supporting Christopher or our other fantastic public outreach grant awardees? Visit our donation page or feel free to contact us.

Call for Applications: Marie S. Curie FCFP fellowships – all disciplines, Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies

The University of Freiburg, one of the strongest research universities in Germany and member of LERU (the League of European Research Universities), offers a fellowship programme, the Marie S. Curie “FRIAS COFUND Fellowship Programme (FCFP)”. About 25 incoming or reintegration fellows per year (juniors and seniors) from all disciplines are given the opportunity of spending three to twelve months working on their own research project at the university’s research college, the Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies (FRIAS). All fellows funded by the FCFP distinguish themselves by qualifying as Marie S. Curie Fellows. The university welcomes top researchers from abroad to give their input to its scholarly community, both in terms of research expertise and benefitting the university’s vibrant research culture and diversity.

The current call invites applications for fellowships for the academic year 2019/20. Successful applicants will conduct their fellowship between September 2019 and September 2020.

The application deadline is September 15, 2018. For more details and to apply, please visit the website.

Job Opportunity: Social Data Initiative Program Officer, Social Science Research Council

The Social Science Research Council seeks a Program Officer for the Social Data Initiative (SDI). This position will report to the SDI Program Director and will manage one of the SSRC’s newest and largest programs: the Social Media and Democracy Research Grant program.

The Social Science Research Council (SSRC) is an independent, international, nonprofit organization devoted to the advancement of interdisciplinary research in the social sciences through a wide variety of workshops and conferences, fellowships and grants, summer training institutes, scholarly exchanges, research, and publications.

The longstanding study of media effects on democracy has taken on new resonance with the rise of social media platforms, the dramatic change in the business model of traditional news media, the influence of algorithms on advertising, and increasingly globalized and interconnected communications. The Social Data Initiative (SDI) at the SSRC was launched to examine the impact of social media on society, explore questions about the responsible use of social network data, generate insights to inform policy at the intersection of media, technology, and democracy, and advance new avenues for future research. The SSRC, as a respected and nonpartisan organization, is acting as a trusted broker to bridge new collaborations between industry and academia in partnership with a consortium of foundations, and will administer a number of grants on a rolling basis.

This is a one year appointment, with potential for renewal contingent on funding, and applicants must have a PhD in one of the social sciences or a closely related field. Annual salary will be commensurate with experience, and comprehensive benefits are included.

The deadline for applications is July 25, 2018. For more information and to apply, please visit the job website.

Job Opportunity: Postdoctoral Position, Bureau des Longitudes

A one year position studying scientific instruments the Bureau des Longitudes (1795-1932): social and material history is accepting applications.

Responsibilities include:

1) General study of scientific instruments designed, manufactured, distributed under the direction of the Bureau des Longitudes between 1795 and 1932. This study will be based on the exploitation of the minutes of the transcripts of that institution, as well as research in various Archives (Conservatoire National des Arts et Metiers, Paris Observatory, Hydrographic and Oceanographic Service of the Navy, National Geographic Institute, and forestry, etc.).

2) Targeted study of one or two musicals representative of the Office of Longitudes. This will replenish the finest possible physical and social history of these instruments focusing particularly on their manufacturers, their uses and adaptations by actors and/or diverse communities, and their diffusion.

3) Develop recovery activities around the scientific instruments of the Bureau des Longitudes.

This post-doctorate will be part of the ANR project “The Bureau des Longitudes (1795-1932): the French Revolution to the Third Republic.”  The successful candidate will work closely with researchers of the project.


– Hold a doctorate in history of science and technology (mathematical and astronomical sciences 19th – 20th centuries);

– Have a good knowledge and taste of archival research;

– Master the digital tools (spreadsheets, databases, etc.);

– Have a good command of the French language.

Applications must include a letter of motivation, a CV, and 1-2 significant publication samples. Deadline for applications is 20 September 2018. After the selection of records, a personal interview will be held with the candidates (the interview will take place at a distance). The start date is 1 January 2019.

Application files must be sent to and

Books by Founding Director Pamela Smith Reissued

Pamela Smith’s The Body of the Artisan: Art and Experience in the Scientific Revolution has just been reissued in paperback and electronic editions. Her The Business of Alchemy: Science and Culture in the Holy Roman Empire was also recently published in a second paperback and electronic edition with a new preface by the author.

Pamela Smith is the Founding Director of the Center for Science and Society as well as the Seth Low Professor of History.

Research Cluster Spotlight: Science and Subjectivity

2017-2018 has been a busy and successful academic year for the Center for Science and Society. This summer, we are producing a short newsletter series to celebrate and share all that we have accomplished! We hope you enjoyed our first issue on seed grants and our news article about Awardee Ben Mylius. Today, we are highlighting the work of the Research Cluster for Science and Subjectivity (RCSS), one of the research clusters that comprise the heart of the Center.  

Below, RCCS undergraduate students Neci Whye (Columbia College ’18) and Ewoma Ogbaudu (Columbia College ’18) share their experience creating a course entitled Marginalization in Medicine: A Practical Understanding of the Implications of Race on Health.

The Course

This semester we were blessed with the opportunity to expand the Sunday Dinner Series into much more. While this has been in the works for the past year and a half, this semester we finally saw the Marginalization in Medicine course and the conference of the same name come to fruition.

The course focuses on the health issues that underrepresented communities face and creates a space to facilitate and encourage discussion on how to address them. Topics include drug policy and substance abuse politics; LGBT health in communities of color; and mental health and social stigma. Over the past year, we have developed the syllabus, gone through revisions, conducted research, coordinated with Harlem community organizations, and found faculty advisors. Marginalization in Medicine: A Practical Understanding of the Implications of Race on Health is currently taught by Dr. Rishi Goyal in the Medicine, Literature, and Society major of at the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society. Watching this course come to life has been one of the most fulfilling experiences I’ve had, and would not have been possible without the guidance and support of Dr. Pollack and the Center for Science and Society.

Community organization panel with participants from Harlem United, Harlem Arts Alliance, Gay Health Advocacy Project, and The Corner Project.

Our course is unique for several reasons. It follows in the footsteps of a previous course coming out of the Research Cluster for Science and Subjectivity: Life at the End of Life. We found it necessary that the course includes a service learning component, requiring students to go out into the community and volunteer so they can benefit from practical work while applying the concepts learned in class to benefit the Harlem community. This initiative has allowed us to partner with incredible community organizations such as the Harlem Family Institute, which aims to improve the mental health of black and brown kids; Hip-Hop Public Health, which teaches kids in Harlem about a number of health topics; and Holyrood Episcopal Church/Iglesia Santa Cruz which is a sanctuary church that provides support for those in immediate danger of deportation.

Our students are working to connect people of color in the Harlem community with health professionals and resources to improve their health in hopes of building the community’s trust in health professionals and in us as Columbia students. This aspect is particularly important to me considering the lack of trust communities of color have in the healthcare system. Black patients consistently receive insufficient and oftentimes negligent treatment in comparison to their white counterparts. Repeated histories of black exploitation and experimentation within the healthcare system are supported by common misconceptions that black people do not experience pain. While we discuss these issues in class, the volunteering component provides students the agency to practically engage with and address them within the greater Harlem community.

Additionally, this course is significant in that we as students were able to advocate for and fill a spot we thought was missing in our education. We started our work because we realized these conversations were not being had in the pre-medical and science curriculums. The feedback from other students has been overwhelmingly positive thus far and we look forward to finishing the semester strong!

The Conference

Conference attendees with the “Marginalization in Medicine” T-shirts after the networking mixer.

The Marginalization in Medicine Conference was an all-day conference that aimed to address the social determinants of health, facilitate engaging discussions as related to inequalities in the current healthcare system, and provide students with opportunities to establish relationships with medical school admission representatives. We also hoped to improve the opportunities for pre-medical students of color in fields where they are underrepresented. One of many ways to address these issues is through empowering students of color that are interested in becoming health professionals and increasing awareness on these topics. I believe that we were able to accomplish these goals through the conference.

We were fortunate to assemble an incredible group of people to speak for this event. Dr. Georges Benjamin, the Executive Director of the American Public Health Association, was our keynote speaker. Other guest speakers included Dr. Olajide Williams, the founder of Hip Hop Public Health, the Chief of Staff of Neurology, and the Director of Acute Services at Columbia University; Dr. Rishi Goyal, Assistant Professor of Medicine and head of the Medicine, Literature, and Society major at Columbia; Dr. Winfred Tovar, the founder of MIMSI International; and Dr. Tawandra Rowell-Cunsolo, Assistant Professor of Social Welfare Science at Columbia. Additionally, we had an overdose training workshop, medical students panel, community organization panel, dean’s admissions panel, and a panel featuring the Susan Smith McKinney Steward Medical Society.

These sessions offered student attendees diverse perspectives from various medical fields. Overall, the conference successfully met its goals, indicated by the overwhelmingly positive reviews received. 80% of students who attended and filled out the post-conference survey said they had not previously attended a conference of this nature that addressed these topics. All participants who filled out the survey found the conference necessary. We have included some quotes from attendees below:

“I really enjoyed the Overdose Intervention Training, I thought it was nice that it was more interactive than a traditional panel but just as informative even beyond the technical details we learned.

“It was very useful and inspiring for me, being a woman and a minority. I was inspired to continue along my journey towards medicine and to look at the field from a public health perspective.”

“I took a lot away from it, I hope to work with marginalized communities and the conference showed me ways to do that. For example, with Dr. Williams I saw how he was able to blend two passions of his together to positively impact his community. Also, the conference allowed for moments of self- reflection and to learn how the institutions around us also contribute to these disparities in medicine.”

We would like to take this time to thank everyone who made these two incredible projects come to life. It would not have been possible without Dr. Pollack, Dr. Goyal, Dr. Aiken, the Research Cluster for Science and Subjectivity, and the Center for Science and Society. We are eternally grateful to you all for allowing us to realize our dreams.

Ewoma Ogbaudu is a graduating senior studying Columbia College studying biology. With Neci, he has addressed marginalization in medicine through creating a class, hosting a dinner series, and a student seminar. Ewoma plans to attend medical school and pursue a master’s in public health.




Neci Whye is a graduating senior in Columbia College studying biology and art history. She is passionate about addressing healthcare disparities especially those facing the black community. She aspires to work in marginalized communities as an emergency medicine physician.

Interested in supporting our research clusters? Visit our donation page or feel free to contact us.

Presidential Scholar Matteo Farinella Published in American Scientist

Presidential Scholar in Society and Neuroscience Matteo Farinella wrote an article for the July-August 2018 issue of American Scientist. Read “Science Comics’ Super Powers” to learn about the past and present of comics as visual language in science.

@ 2018 The Center of Science and Society at Columbia University
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