Danielle N. Lee, a postdoctoral associate in zoology at Oklahoma State University, will be honored by the White House on Wednesday, Feb. 26 as one of ten “Champions of Change” being recognized for innovation in creating diversity and access in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.
Lee’s work in the OSU Ophir Lab involves examining the behavior of the African giant pouched rat and her outreach efforts caught the attention of the White House. Lee blogs about her research and evolutionary biology, as well as diversity and inclusion in the sciences, in The Urban Scientist hosted by Scientific American Blog Network. She also is a founder of the National Science and Technology News Service, a media advocacy group to increase interest in STEM and science news coverage within the African-American community.
The Champions of Change program was created as an opportunity for the White House to feature individuals, businesses and organizations doing extraordinary things to empower and inspire members of their communities. President Obama issued an executive order creating the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans to help restore the United States to its role as the global leader in education; strengthen the nation by improving educational outcomes for African Americans of all ages; and ensure that American children receive a complete and competitive education that prepares them for college, a successful career, and productive citizenship.
As part of National African American History Month, the White House initiative “is proud to honor these leaders for the work they do to make these goals a reality and to ensure even our youngest children become not only consumers in our global economy, but also creative innovators themselves.” The event will be live streamed on the White House website. To watch the event live, visit www.whitehouse.gov/live at 9 a.m. CT on Feb. 26. To learn more about the White House Champions of Change program, visit www.whitehouse.gov/champions.