News Release

AAAS Early Career Award for Public Engagement goes to Mary Helen Immordino-Yang

Grant and Award Announcement

American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has honored Mary Helen Immordino-Yang with the AAAS Early Career Award for Public Engagement with Science for her "sustained commitment and novel approach to integrating public engagement with science into her extensive research and scholarly activities and for using public interactions to inform her research."

Immordino-Yang is "an exceptional scientist with an impressive record in scientific research and in public engagement for one so early in her career," said Tiffany Lohwater, AAAS Director of Meetings and Public Engagement. She has received awards including a 2012 National Science Foundation CAREER Award, an "Honor Coin" of the United States Army for translational neuroscience research, and the 2010 Cozzarelli Prize of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

As an assistant professor at the University of Southern California (USC) Rossier School of Education, an assistant professor of psychology at USC's Brain and Creativity Institute, and a member of the Neuroscience Graduate Program Faculty at USC, Immordino-Yang's research has focused on the neuroscience of social emotion and its implications for education.

Going above and beyond her laudable research career, Immordino-Yang shares her passion for science with public audiences, including those in underrepresented communities. When invited to give academic talks, she arranges separate talks for educators and public audiences in the local area. She also engages K-12 students in her research through lab visits and internships for students from low-performing schools near the University of Southern California. Complementing her research on neurobiological mechanisms of social emotional development among Latino and Asian youth of immigrant parents, Immordino-Yang meets with each study participant to discuss their brain scans, as well as their college plans and potential interest in a career in science or engineering.

Immordino-Yang "has quite a reputation for explaining complex, technical science in a straightforward manner that enthralls her audience and generally motivates productive societal applications," wrote Lawrence Picus, vice dean for faculty affairs at USC, in his nomination letter.


Established in 2010, the AAAS Early Career Award for Public Engagement with Science recognizes the achievements of individual early-career scientists and engineers who have demonstrated significant contributions to public engagement activities while simultaneously pursuing a research career.

The award will be bestowed upon Immordino-Yang during the 180th AAAS Annual Meeting in Chicago, 13-17 February 2014. A ceremony and reception will be held in the Rouge Room of the Fairmont Chicago on Friday, 14 February at 6:15 p.m.

CONTACTS: Mary Helen Immordino-Yang can be reached at (213) 821-2969 or For general information regarding the AAAS award or additional background information, AAAS Senior Communications Officer Katharine Zambon can be reached at (202) 326-6434 or

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is the world's largest general scientific society, and publisher of the journal, Science as well as Science Translational Medicine and Science Signaling. AAAS was founded in 1848, and includes 261 affiliated societies and academies of science, serving 10 million individuals. Science has the largest paid circulation of any peer-reviewed general science journal in the world, with an estimated total readership of 1 million. The non-profit AAAS is open to all and fulfills its mission to "advance science and serve society" through initiatives in science policy, international programs, science education, and more. For the latest research news, log onto EurekAlert!,, the premier science-news Web site, a service of AAAS.

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