Maytum Convocation speaker to examine science communication in a polarized world

Roger Coda
Emily Calandrelli

Emily Calandrelli

Emily Calandrelli, an MIT engineer turned Emmy-nominated science television host, will serve as the keynote speaker for the Convocation 2020-2021 series at the State University of New York at Fredonia. Her address, “Empathetic Science Communication in an Increasingly Polarized World," will be presented over Zoom on Tuesday, Feb. 23, at 3 p.m.

The Convocation Committee’s selection of Ms. Calandrelli was made in the spirit of Mae Jemison, an engineer, physician and former NASA astronaut who became the first Black woman to complete a mission in outer space in 1992.

“It's really important that we recognize we are connected – that this world will not go anywhere, that we will not have a future if we don't recognize our connections with other peoples, if we don't recognize our connection with this Earth and our universe,” Ms. Jemison observed.

Calandrelli’s presentation is part of the larger Convocation theme, “Pondering the Future: Empathy as a Way Forward,” at Fredonia.

Students, faculty and staff and community members are invited to register for the free presentation by using this link:…

A confirmation email containing information about joining the session will be sent upon registration.

Calandrelli has been featured as a correspondent on the “Bill Nye Saves the World” television series and has worked as an executive producer and host of FOX TV's ”Xploration Outer Space,” which airs in 100 million households each week. Currently, she hosts Netflix’s “Emily’s Wonder Lab.”

Her outreach has also taken the form of publishing a science children's book series, “Ada Lace Adventures,” and she actually launched the third Ada Lace book into space, with assistance from the International Space Station U.S. National Laboratory and Space Station Explorers, as part of the “Story Time From Space” program.

Calandrelli’s educational background is in engineering and policy. At West Virginia University she received a B.S. in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and an M.S. degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Aeronautics and Astronautics as well as Technology and Policy.

When speaking at venues like Google, Pixar, MIT, Texas Instruments, CERN and dozens of K-12 schools and universities around the country, Calandrelli focuses on the topics of science communication, space exploration and women in STEM fields.

Calandrelli is wildly passionate about space exploration and demonstrates, through her television show, that the space industry is more exciting today than ever before. She cares deeply about increasing the level of scientific literacy among the general public. She emphasizes that space exploration technologies have helped “to understand our world’s origins,” thus improving lives.

“These are the reasons why dedicating a life to the sciences and space exploration is so meaningful and rewarding,” Calandrelli said.

Teaching that everyone, regardless of their educational background, can understand scientific topics, Calandrelli seeks to foster a higher level of scientific literacy in society. To that end, she particularly emphasizes the importance of diversity in STEM, questioning the factors that have deterred women, in particular, from pursuing certain careers in STEM.

Calandrelli's Fredonia lecture is supported by the Maytum Distinguished Lecture Endowment through the Fredonia College Foundation. For more information about the Convocation program, email Jennifer Hildebrand at

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