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Engaging Scientists in the Science and Religion Dialogue

UMBC is one of six universities nationwide selected to host the “Engaging Scientists in the Science and Religion Dialogue” project, administered by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion (DoSER). DoSER was established to facilitate communication between scientific and religious communities, understanding that these communities overlap. No matter your background, it can present specific challenges to communicate your work effectively to diverse groups of people. And yet, communicating the value of science to all is so important if we are to “advance science, engineering, and innovation throughout the world for the benefit of all people.”

UMBC’s “Engaging Scientists” events will be held March 25 – 26, 2019, and will be open to the entire UMBC community. Learn more in this UMBC News story.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Open house: Taking the pulse of the UMBC community
9:30 – 11 a.m., Lower Flat Tuesdays
Stop by Lower Flat Tuesdays to record or write a brief message about your thoughts on the relationship between science and faith. Staff from UMBC’s Mosaic Center will be available to help facilitate conversation.

Workshop for Scientists: Science communication and engagement with religious publics
Noon – 4 p.m., Library 7th Floor
This workshop is open to UMBC STEM researchers at the graduate student level and above. Lunch begins at noon, and the formal program will begin promptly at 1 p.m. Attendees are strongly encouraged to arrive early to enjoy lunch and begin dialogue with their colleagues. Registration and more details are available here.

Public Panel: Science engagement and dialogue with faith communities
5:30 – 7 p.m., University Center Ballroom
This panel discussion is open to the public and will be followed by a reception. Register here.


Rabbi Geoff Mitelman
Rabbi Mitelman founded Sinai and Synapses, an organization with expertise in constructive discourse on science and society topics with religious communities. He was ordained by the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and graduated from Princeton University with a degree in Religion and Jewish studies. Rabbi Mitelman led the congregation of Temple Beth El of Northern Westchester for seven years, and his writing on the intersection of religion and science has appeared widely.

Dr. Pamela Payne-Foster
Dr. Payne-Foster is a preventive medicine/public health physician who is an associate professor in the Department of Community and Rural Medicine and deputy director of the Institute for Rural Health Research at The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa Regional Campus. She has expertise in community health partnerships with churches and other faith communities.

Dr. Altaf Saadi
Dr. Saadi is a neurologist and fellow at the National Clinical Scholars Program at the University of California, Los Angeles, where she focuses on promoting healthcare leadership in health policy, health services, and community-partnered research. Dr. Saadi is a scientist of faith, and she is active in social justice and science-informed advocacy in the public sphere.

Dr. Caitlin Shrein
Dr. Shrein is strategic communications editor at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and a science communicator specializing in anthropology and evolution. Her doctoral research examined the relationship between human evolution education and students’ interest in science and their decision-making about social issues with a scientific basis, such as climate change. She particularly focused on life sciences pedagogy that is sensitive to students’ culture, faith, and worldview.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

STEM Living Learning Community facilitated discussion

5 – 6 p.m., Patapsco Hall classroom

Discussion led by Sarah Hansen, STEM communications manager, and Lucie Blauvelt, STEM LLC coordinator. Light snacks will be provided. All are welcome; you need not have attended the panel (although it’s encouraged) or be a member of the STEM LLC to join this conversation.

Other groups committed to offering related sessions with details TBD include UMBC Hillel, Meyerhoff Scholars and Meyerhoff Graduate Fellows, the Mosaic Center, and the School of Public Policy.

***More events organized by campus partners will be added as details are finalized.***