Superheroes are often depicted wearing capes and flying around bustling cities in their bright and extravagant costumes. Jordan Rose and Meisa Salaita may not look the part, but they have become superheroes in their own important way by celebrating and promoting Atlanta’s thriving scientific community.
Jordan and Meisa are the co-founders and co-directors of the Atlanta Science Festival, a riveting 11-day celebration (March 15-25) of local science and technology right here in Atlanta, Georgia. The festival is designed to bring people together around a shared love for science through 100 individual and creative events. With experiences such as cooking and eating bugs, discovering the science behind brew-making, walking through Atlanta’s forests to witness the local wildlife, and stopping the zombie outbreak, it’s no wonder that the festival has seen remarkable success in a few short years. There is something for everyone, and no one will walk away from the festival disappointed at its offerings.
Behind it all are Jordan and Meisa.
Meisa Salaita holds a Ph.D. in chemistry from Northwestern University, and is no stranger to working within scientific culture. Prior to co-founding the festival, she worked with two different National Science Foundation Centers for Chemical Innovation. She originally came up with the idea of the Atlanta Science Festival when she heard about similar festivals happening in Europe. After that, she decided that Atlanta needed to have one too. Thanks to Meisa’s passion and determination, the Atlanta Science Festival has grown from a collaboration between the Metro Atlanta Chamber, Georgia Tech, and Emory to a can’t-miss Atlanta event for the scientific and non-scientific communities alike.
When asked why the festival means so much to her, Meisa spoke about her passion for spreading the love of science: “It’s really important to make science a part of culture and to showcase how science is interesting, fun, not scary, and important! By having events that connect science to everyday life and to things that people are already interested in outside of science, we are able to achieve that.”
The co-architect of the festival is Jordan Rose. After receiving his Bachelor of Science degree in neuroscience and behavioral biology as well as his Master of Public Health degree in prevention science from Emory, Jordan has gone on to hold multiple scientific roles. From working as the Associate Director of the Center for Science Education at Emory to becoming the Executive Director of the Georgia BioEd Institute, Jordan’s love for science has followed him everywhere he has gone.
Jordan’s passion for the festival is evident when speaking to him. He believes that, for a lot of people, science leaves a bad taste in their mouth, perhaps because of a negative experience in their education. To Jordan, the festival is a way to bring those people back into the fold and break down the stereotypes that exist over scientists and science alike. To Jordan, it all boils down to one idea, “We’re trying to show people that scientists are people too.”
Lenz is proud to market, sponsor, and support the 2017 Atlanta Science Festival.