Jenkins selected as AAAS IF/THEN Ambassador

Kiki Jenkins

Kiki Jenkins


Arizona State University is proud to announce that Lekelia “Kiki” Jenkins, associate professor in the School for the Future of Innovation in Society has been selected as one of the 125 American Association for the Advancement of Science IF/THEN Ambassadors.

IF/THEN, a national initiative of Lyda Hill Philanthropies, seeks to further women in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) by empowering current innovators and inspiring the next generation of pioneers.

“I am excited, grateful and humbled to be a part of this program because I know so many other deserving women who are also doing inspiring work. This ambassadorship will be the biggest platform I have ever had to help young women succeed in science,” said Jenkins, who studies the human dimensions of marine technologies to create sustainable ocean uses and the role of dance in science communication. "If we train a young woman to use technical AND interpersonal career skills, then she will have the savvy to custom-craft a career in STEM that is fulfilling, impactful and lasting.”

“We firmly believe that if we support a woman in STEM, then she can change the world,” said Lyda Hill, founder of Lyda Hill Philanthropies. “The goal of IF/THEN is to shift the way our country — and the world — thinks about women in STEM, and this requires changing the narratives about women STEM professionals and improving their visibility.”

To achieve this goal, AAAS IF/THEN Ambassadors connect with students in person and through various media platforms. The ambassadors are contemporary role models who represent a diversity of STEM-related professions in the United States, from entertainment and fashion to sports, business and academia.

"I also desire to be a role model for African American girls interested in marine science,” Jenkins added. “I was the first African American woman to get a PhD in marine science from Duke University and all too often I have been the “first and only” throughout my career. African American girls need to know that marine science is an option for them and that if they pursue this field, they will not be alone.”

“AAAS is deeply committed to advancing education and opportunities for girls and women in STEM,” said Margaret Hamburg, chair of the AAAS board of directors. “This partnership enables us to reach more deeply into STEM education and help advance STEM careers for women and girls. It will help us to elevate the voices of women working in STEM fields and to inspire the next generation of girls and women in science.”

In October, the ambassadors will participate in the IF/THEN Summit in Dallas to take their outreach to the next level by learning from each other and receiving resources and coaching in science communication and effective STEM storytelling. The IF/THEN Collection, a digital asset library of photos and custom content, will be created as a tool to increase the number of accurate and powerful images of real women and girls in STEM. The robust collection can be accessed by media, educators and nonprofit organizations as they develop and share inspiring content and curriculum.

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