March again, this time for science | Arkansas Blog

March again, this time for science

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Marchers pose for a picture on the steps of the state Capitol.
  • Marchers pose for a picture on the steps of the state Capitol.

Last year's march drew 2,000 people.
  • Last year's march drew 2,000 people.
What does it say about the U.S. that people have to march for support for scientific research — or just science itself — the same way they march for women's rights, to protect minorities, for health care for all? Shouldn't it be a settled fact that advances in all areas of science are what define a first-world nation?

Sadly, just as there are forces in the country who think all people in poverty are lazy bums, immigrants from south of the border are a bunch of criminals (but come on over, Norwegians!), and women should just sit down and shut up about equal rights, including the governance of their own bodies, there are also folks offended that science tells us the earth is not 6,000 years old and humans and dinosaurs didn't coexist. That pumping all the carbon monoxide we want to into the atmosphere is a bad thing. That we really did land a man on the moon.

If that bothers you, and you wish lawmakers would listen to common sense rather than polluting donors motivated by greed and dismissive of clean air and water, then head to the Arkansas March for Science next Saturday, April 21, on the eve of Earth Day April 22. Marchers will gather at noon at Capitol and Pulaski streets and head to the state Capitol to hear from Arkansas teachers, students, sciences and health care professionals.

The Arkansas chapter of the Sierra Club is the organizer. Its statement, from a press release:
"All too often, our elected officials view science through a partisan lens," said Glen Hooks, Director of the Arkansas Sierra Club. "Science isn't about politics, and doesn't honor political parties. Science is about the search for truth and facts. We want our public policy decisions to be made with the help of sound, well-researched science. That's how we protect our environment, produce clean energy, grow healthy food, and make advances in health care. Science matters to all Arkansans, and should be relied upon heavily by our government."

Speakers include RN Derya Bracey; chemist Derek Brooks; Alzheimer's Disease researcher Rachel Hendrix, high school engineering teacher Jazz Johnston; Jonesboro High School student Izzy Jones; and teacher Katina White.

Biographical information is on the jump.





ARKANSAS "MARCH FOR SCIENCE" TO BE HELD ON APRIL 21
2nd Annual Event Honors Teachers and Students; Urges Elected Officials to Respect, Fund, and Rely Upon Science

LITTLE ROCK—The 2nd Annual "Arkansas March For Science" will be held at the following date, time, and location:

WHAT: 2nd Annual "Arkansas March For Science"

WHEN: Saturday, April 21st, noon

WHERE: Beginning at intersection of Capitol & Pulaski Streets in Little Rock; march to State Capitol steps for speakers (list of speakers below)

The Arkansas March For Science aims to express the importance of science to the lives of all Arkansans—in terms of the environment, agriculture, health care, the economy, hunting and fishing. March organizers want to urge our elected officials to respect science, fund scientific research and rely upon sound science when making important public policy decision.

"All too often, our elected officials view science through a partisan lens," said Glen Hooks, Director of the Arkansas Sierra Club. "Science isn't about politics, and doesn't honor political parties. Science is about the search for truth and facts. We want our public policy decisions to be made with the help of sound, well-researched science. That's how we protect our environment, produce clean energy, grow healthy food, and make advances in health care. Science matters to all Arkansans, and should be relied upon heavily by our government."

This year's Arkansas March For Science is shining a spotlight on Arkansas teachers and students, who will collectively serve as the Grand Marshals for the March. Teachers and students are at the forefront of keeping science alive, vibrant, and prioritized in our society. Four of the speakers at this year's March are students and teachers. We believe that science education—on both the teaching and learning sides—is absolutely critical to making sure that our government respects and values science in public policy decision making.

***EXCELLENT VISUALS****Approximately 2,000 people attended last year's Arkansas March For Science, dressed in costumes, carrying clever science-related signs.

This year's Arkansas March For Science Speakers are:

Derya Bracy

Derya Bracy is a registered nurse currently working in emergency medicine. Her previous nursing specialties have included psychiatry, womens' mental health research, and cardiac catheterization lab. She holds an Associate of Applied Science in Nursing from College of the Ouachitas. In her home country of Turkey, Derya graduated from Trakya University where she studied food science and technology, and later worked at Mis Sut - Nestle biology and chemistry labs. Derya currently works in an emergency department and cardiac catheterization lab in the Little Rock metro.
Derek Brooks

Derek Brooks holds a chemistry degree from the University of Arkansas, and has worked in various labs on projects ranging from testing snake blood to nanotechnology. Derek has also participated in study affiliated with the United Nations, and spent time working on clean water issues in Thailand. Born and raised in Little Rock, Arkansas, Derek had an interest in science at an early age. While he took chemistry in high school at Sylvan Hills, he also became interested in environmental issues challenging our planet. He decided to focus on chemistry in college, with a desire to find potential solutions to those environmental challenges. He is still on that journey.

Rachel Hendrix


Rachel Hendrix is an Arizona transplant with an ACS-certified B.S. in Biochemistry and is approaching completion of her Ph.D. in Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences. She studies the relationship between type 2 diabetes and increased risk for development of Alzheimer’s disease. As a 2015 Early Career Policy Ambassador for the Society for Neuroscience, she spoke with our Arkansas elected officials about the need for robust, continuous investment in NIH and NSF; certainly, this kind of effort by Rachel and her fellow ambassadors contributed to an increase in the US budget for Alzheimer research by $350 million in FY2016. When she is not in the lab, you may catch a glimpse of her campaigning for women’s rights or running or cycling around Arkansas. She is looking forward to applying her skills towards the study of other facets of Alzheimer's disease as a postdoc. You can follow her on Twitter at @RDHendrix.



Jazz Johnston

Jazz Johnston is a public school teacher at Russellville High School, where he teaches engineering. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Emergency Administration Management and a Master’s Degree in Teaching Leadership And Learning, both from Arkansas Tech University. Johnston also serves on the Planning and Zoning commission in Clarksville, where he resides. Mr. Johnston is married and has 3 children.


Izzy Jones

Izzy Jones is a junior at Jonesboro High school, where she is an active member in various clubs in and out of school, including the High School Pre-Med Organization and student council. She has always had a passion for science and hopes to one day become a hematologist. Izzy says that she "firmly believes in what the March for Science stands for, as we have all seen scientific truths and methods cast aside for too long. Let us march on in the name of science."

Katina White


Katina White is a native and proud resident of the Southwest Little Rock Community. Her enthusiasm and passion for math and science combined with a love for youth who have similar backgrounds as hers is what inspired her to obtain a degree in Middle Childhood Education with an emphasis in math and science. For five years, she has been the Project Lead the Way instructor at Sylvan Hills Middle School where she teaches courses such as, automation and robotics, flight and space, science of technology, design and modeling, and magic of electrons. She has been the sponsor for their VEX Robotics, BEST Robotics, and Engineering Olympics Teams. She also serves as the co-curriculum director for the UAMS Junior STEM academy. She was recently awarded the 2017/2018 Sherwood Educator of the year. As the mother of a beautiful, bright, and creative six year old, Jai White, she wants to create an educational environment where not only her daughter can thrive but others can as well. Her love for youth, science, and math are the driving forces behind her passion to make STEAM relevant to students’ everyday lives.

The public and media are invited to attend.




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