Emory goes all out for March for Science Atlanta

By Quinn Eastman | Lab Land | April 23, 2013

Emory cancer researcher Carlos Moreno

Emory cancer researcher Carlos Moreno

March for Science banner at the front of the parade, with march director Jasmine Clark on the right
March for Science banner at the front of the parade, with march director Jasmine Clark on the right
March director Jasmine Clark introducing speakers at the event, which began and ended at Candler Park
March director Jasmine Clark introducing speakers at the event, which began and ended at Candler Park
Leucine Zipper and the Zinc Fingers rocking before the March
Leucine Zipper and the Zinc Fingers rocking before the March
Logistics team member Malu Tansey, near the stage
Logistics team member Malu Tansey, near the stage
Emory Microbiology and Molecular Genetics (MMG) graduate student Erica Bizzell
Emory Microbiology and Molecular Genetics (MMG) graduate student Erica Bizzell
Emory microscopy expert Lu Hilenski
Emory microscopy expert Lu Hilenski
Marchers Jarred Whitlock, Bethany Whitlock, Erica Werner, Victor Faundez, and Chelsea Lee (left to right)
Marchers Jarred Whitlock, Bethany Whitlock, Erica Werner, Victor Faundez, and Chelsea Lee (left to right)
Emory neurosurgeon Nick Boulis and friends take a break
Emory neurosurgeon Nick Boulis and friends take a break
Severe times brought out epidemiologists from Rollins School of Public Health
Severe times brought out epidemiologists from Rollins School of Public Health
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Emory scientists and supporters of science came out in substantial numbers Saturday, April 22, for the March for Science Atlanta in Candler Park.

The organizers have estimated that somewhere around 8,000 people participated in Saturday's march, based on aerial drone footage and Atlanta Police estimates. March organizers, many of whom came from the Emory research community, say they want to continue their advocacy momentum and community-building after the event's success. The web site "Science Marches On" has been set up to present post-march activities.

The Atlanta March for Science was among hundreds of Marches for Science around the world, including the one that got the movement started, in Washington, D.C. The issues that sparked the marches included proposed research funding reductions and open skepticism, contrary to overwhelming scientific consensus, of climate change and vaccines. Several members of the Emory community attended the march in Washington, including autism geneticist/communicator Chris Gunter and oncology nursing leader Deborah Bruner.

Here in Atlanta, marchers had a variety of colorful costumes and signs, with messages ranging from the blunt to the subtle. The crowds enjoyed sunny weather and pre-march entertainment from the punk rock band Leucine Zipper and the Zinc Fingers.

Former Emory neuroscience postdoc Alison Bernstein, who blogs as "Mommy PhD" and is now an assistant professor at Michigan State, was one of the first speakers, describing how some vaccine skeptics have embraced unproven and possibly dangerous treatments for conditions such as eczema.

Atlanta organizers with Emory connections include:

  • Nursing lecturer Jasmine Clark, director 
  • Clinical researcher Daniel Smith, treasurer
  • Program manager and RSPH graduate Lara Martin, logistics co-chair
  • Former Emory postdoc and GA Gwinnett faculty Bekah Ward, logistics co-chair
  • Lab manager Nadia Leluti, public relations
  • IMP graduate and writer/editor Kristina Clark, finance co-chair
  • Entrepreneur and Emory MBA Nidhi Williams, finance co-chair
  • RSPH graduate Elizabeth Rose, post-march activities
  • Physics graduate student Joshua Teves, volunteer coordinator
  • Neuroscientist Malu Tansey, logistics team