MarionLearyAs the realities of science move closer and closer to science fiction, the laymen among us are lucky to have people like Marion Leary, MPH, MSN, RN, assistant director of Clinical Research in the Center for Resuscitation Science around.

Leary volunteers with the group Start Talking Science, whose goal is to spark an interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) among Philadelphians of all ages and backgrounds. Leary began volunteering for the group after attending their inaugural presentation last year and recently won a Penn Medicine CAREs grant to help the cause. 

“I’ve been a science geek from a young age. I was looking for groups to get involved with to spread the good word of science and it’s exactly what I was looking for,” Leary said. “They help make STEM research accessible to the general public.”

Scientists who want to present at the Start Talking Science event submit poster ideas to a panel for approval. Then, draft posters are submitted and looked over by specialists to ensure they make sense to the average Joe. At the event, the experts make themselves available to show off their posters, explain their subjects, and answer questions that may arise. Start Talking Science gives the general public a rare chance to have casual conversations about high-level scientific concepts with some of the best and brightest that Philadelphia has to offer.

“We want to get students and the general public engaged in the STEM work being done in Philadelphia, and more important present it in a way that is engaging,” Leary said.

The CAREs grant will go towards materials needed to put on the event and refreshments for guests.

 Leary, who also writes about science and health for The Huffington Post, said Philadelphia is a growing hotbed for those in the STEM industry and that STS event gives professionals from across the city a chance to collaborate. Last year, presenters came from many different institutions, including the University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University, Temple University and more.

By Leary’s count, the number of applications to present tripled this year over last, showing a booming interest coming from the city’s scientific community.

Learn more about Start Talking Science and this year’s presentation, which will be held on Tuesday, September 29.

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