Purdue announces inaugural graduate student class of Emerging Leaders in Science and Society

November 22, 2013  

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Four Purdue University doctoral students have been named to the inaugural class of fellows through a national program designed to prepare the next generation of leaders for tackling complex challenges that require an interdisciplinary-driven solution.

The 2014 Emerging Leaders in Science and Society (ELISS) fellows at Purdue are Abby Boggs, hospitality and tourism management, from Wheelersburg, Ohio; Jonathan Kershaw, food science, from Dallas; Mariya Krisenko, interdisciplinary life sciences, from Brazil, Ind.; and Kai Kuang, communications, from Beijing, China.

They join a pilot class of the 16 fellows selected nationwide that will begin in January. The Purdue ELISS fellowships are made possible through funding from the Office of the Provost and the Office of Interdisciplinary Graduate Programs at Purdue. ELISS is a program of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

Purdue joins three other founding partner campuses: University of Washington, University of Pennsylvania and Stanford University. Graduate students won invitations for these campuses by participating in a signature drive to indicate their interest in ELISS.

"Addressing our society's challenges - from meeting food and energy needs to improving human health and well-being - demands collaboration across boundaries of discipline, sector and region," Timothy Sands, executive vice president for academic affairs and provost 
at Purdue, said in announcing the four Purdue recipients. "Emerging Leaders in Science and Society will help students from all disciplines to improve 21st century leadership skills and explore opportunities to benefit society in a range of careers."

In the first year, the Purdue ELISS fellows will collaborate with their counterparts at other campuses and mentors in different disciplines to examine a challenge in one of two theme areas: health and well-being or energy and environment.

The students will attend training and planning meetings and volunteer three to five hours per week to examine the impacts of their issue in the community. They also will organize local events, a national briefing, and an online portal to help the public and key stakeholders address these challenges. In return, fellows will learn to apply their expertise more broadly, gain leadership skills and join a cross-boundary professional community with the drive and talent to tackle society's most complex issues.

"ELISS prepares graduate and professional students to collaborate within a diverse team to understand the key drivers of complex problems and to plan and implement a team project," said ELISS director Melanie Roberts. "ELISS graduates will be better able to integrate expertise across disciplines and coordinate action across boundaries to tackle our most complex issues."

Applications for the Purdue ELISS class of 2015 will be accepted next summer. Lindsey Payne, a doctoral student in ecological sciences and engineering, and fellow ESE doctoral student Monique Long are student liaisons for the Purdue ELISS program.

Led by AAAS, ELISS unites national leadership and resources with the passion of students from multiple campuses. A group of early-career Ph.D.s with experience in government, industry and academia founded ELISS. AAAS is a nonprofit organization that reaches 10 million individuals. It draws upon AAAS's experience in leadership development and public engagement, while maintaining the grassroots, student-driven culture of its founders.

Writer: Phillip Fiorini, 765-496-3133, pfiorini@purdue.edu

Sources:  Timothy Sands, 765-494-9709, tsands@purdue.edu

Melanie Roberts, mroberts@elissfellows.org

Lindsey Payne, 949-357-4514, paynel@purdue.edu

Monique Long, long27@purdue.edu

Abby Boggs, aboggs07@purdue.edu

Jonathan Kershaw, jkershaw@purdue.edu

Mariya Krisenko, mkrisenk@purdue.edu

Kai Kuang, kkuang@purdue.edu

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