Special Campus Memo: Grinnell Prize Week honors winner Mélanie Marcel, founder and CEO of SoScience

September 27, 2018

On Tuesday, Oct. 2, President Kington will award the 2018 Grinnell College Innovator for Social Justice Prize to Mélanie Marcel, founder and CEO of SoScience. Based in France, SoScience brings together scientists and social entrepreneurs around the world to collaborate on research to solve global challenges.

In her work as a laboratory scientist, Marcel realized that researchers most often conduct projects for which they can secure corporate or government funding, rather than projects that address community or environmental needs. Marcel founded SoScience to disrupt this system and create a new model for driving research. SoScience's mission is to "engage scientists in solving societal challenges across the globe by creating collaborations with social entrepreneurs and advocating a research approach focused on social impact."

Throughout Prize Week, Oct. 2-4, students, faculty, staff, and guests will have the opportunity to interact with Marcel and learn about developing responsible research and innovation projects, interdisciplinary social entrepreneurship, collaboration between scientists and social entrepreneurs, and much more.

Grinnell Prize Week Events

Tuesday, Oct. 2

11:15 a.m.-12:45 p.m.

Prize Award Ceremony and Keynote by 2018 Prize Winner Mélanie Marcel
JRC 101
(Lunch will be served)
Award celebration and keynote presentation by 2018 Grinnell Prize winner.

4:15-6 p.m.

Workshop: Using Science for Good: A New Field with Its Own Actors and Methodologies
Led by 2018 Prize winner Mélanie Marcel
JRC 101
RSVP strongly encouraged.
We are constantly bombarded with news of scientific breakthroughs and controversies. How do we support socially-just research and development? How can we intentionally construct research and innovation projects that are built to bring about positive social change? Who are the players in this field and what interdisciplinary links can be made to social entrepreneurship? This skill-building workshop will offer an overview of this emerging interdisciplinary field and present tools you can use to develop responsible research and innovation projects.

Wednesday, Oct. 3

Noon-1 p.m.

SPARK Community-Based Social Innovation Challenge Kickoff
JRC 209
Over the past few decades, rural communities have seen key community resources consolidated and moved to larger metropolitan settings. In order to access key resources such as drivers' licenses, state IDs, SNAP benefits, and educational programming, people now, more than ever, need access to technology. This year's SPARK Community-Based Social Innovation Challenge will focus on technology and technological access in Grinnell and our surrounding communities. Learn more about how you may work with our community partners and develop solutions to barriers to technological access. For more information about SPARK: tinyurl.com/SPARKGRINNELL

3-4:30 p.m.

Coffee with the Prize Winner
Saints Rest
2018 Grinnell Prize winner Mélanie Marcel will be at Saints Rest Coffee Shop for a time of informal conversation and coffee. Say you are with the Prize, and your first cup of coffee is on us!

7:30-9 p.m.

Workshop: Facilitating Collaborations between Scientists and Social Entrepreneurs and Grassroots Change Agents
Led by 2018 Grinnell Prize winner Mélanie Marcel
JRC 209
RSVP strongly encouraged.
How can you create collaborations between scientists and social entrepreneurs, who often have different vocabulary, goals, time frames, etc.? What are current challenges and obstacles to such collaborations? How is this issue approached in a different context and by different actors? This workshop will present concrete examples, strategies, and tools designed and used by SoScience. It will also feature testimonies from participants in SoScience's collaborative programs.

Thursday, Oct. 4

11:15 a.m.-1 p.m.

Panel Discussion: Careers Connecting Science and the Social Good
Facilitator: Mark Peltz, Daniel '77 and Patricia Jipp '80 Finkelman Dean of Careers, Life, and Service
Noyce 1023
(Lunch will be served)
Hear from alumni and faculty who are working in careers that use science to positively impact change. Panelists, Mitch Erickson '72, science adviser, U.S. Department of Homeland Security; Mélanie Marcel, founder and CEO, SoScience; Tammy Nyden, associate professor of philosophy and co-founder, Mothers on the Frontline; Indrani Singh '08, director of community health partnerships, University of Rochester Medical Center; and Emily Stiever '09, chief operating officer and vice president of field operations, Solar United Neighbors, will discuss their collaborative work, how their careers have evolved, and how you might enter similar fields.

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