On May 18, Michael Kennedy will deliver a talk, “The Power of Community: Improving STEM Futures for Urban Youth” at 7:00 p.m. at Janelia Research Campus


  • Dialogues of Discovery lectures are free and open to the public, but tickets are required for admission.
  • Seating is limited to 250 people.

Michael Kennedy is the director of Science in Society, a research center dedicated to science education and public engagement at Northwestern University. He will deliver the next lecture in the Dialogues of Discovery series at Janelia Research Campus on Wednesday, May 18 at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are available for Kennedy’s talk, “The Power of Community: Improving STEM Futures for Urban Youth,” at

Science education programs that bring together underresourced students, teachers, youth organizations, and universities have the power to transform education. In this lecture, Kennedy will talk about the work he’s done using an innovative, mentor-based approach to train and support scientists working with students in Chicago Public Schools. Through his work, traditionally underrepresented students engage in learning activities that instill self confidence, build STEM skills, and open long-term career paths. By working with teachers to bridge learning that happens in school and out of school, Kennedy's programs create an academic culture that goes well beyond the confines of classroom walls.

All Dialogues of Discovery lectures are free and open to the public, but tickets are required for admission, and seating is limited to 250 people. See for more information, to sign up to receive email notifications about upcoming lectures, and to watch past lectures.

Kennedy has been involved in science education and outreach for more than a decade. He co-developed one of Northwestern’s first annual public education events, the Science Outreach Series, geared towards informing citizens of developments in the life sciences. This annual event, held from 2001-2007, brought internationally prominent speakers to the Northwestern campus to lecture on topics including the Human Genome Project, stem cell biology, human cloning, genetically modified foods, global warming, and neuroimaging.

Through his work with the Science Outreach Series, Kennedy recognized a need for the university to better connect its research mission with the community. His idea evolved into the Science in Society e-magazine, a broad web-based educational resource designed to communicate advances in science and their impact on society, with content authored by practicing scientists and trainees.

In 2008, Kennedy co-founded Science Club, a mentor-based afterschool science initiative, developed in partnership with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago and teachers in Chicago Public Schools. On a weekly basis throughout the academic year, Northwestern science graduate students work with middle school youth in small groups on inquiry-based, engaging lab activities. Groups remain together from quarter to quarter, strengthening the personal connection between students and their mentors. The program is supported by a five-year, $1.4 million award from the National Institutes of Health. Science Club received the 2013 STEM Impact Award from the Afterschool Alliance and Noyce Foundation, one of only two programs nationally to be recognized for excellence in afterschool education. 

The success and growth of Science Club and the Science in Society e-magazine led to the establishment of a new research center for science education and public engagement at Northwestern under the Science in Society name, of which Kennedy serves as founding director.

Kennedy is also a research professor the the Neurobiology department at Northwestern. His previous positions there include associate chair of the Department of Neurobiology and Physiology, director of education and outreach for the Center for Genetic Medicine, and, most recently, chief of staff for the Feinberg School of Medicine.

For More Information

Jim Keeley 301.215.8858