Someone You'd Like to Meet: Dr. Larisa Schelkin
Below here is a profile I wrote on Dr. Larisa Schelkin, president of the DOME foundation- if you haven't heard of it I suggest you look it up, its a wonderful organization. This profile is part of a press kit and came as a result of an interview I had with her during my work as PR practitioner for the Science Club For Girls in Cambridge, MA (www.scienceclubforgirls.org). On Tuesday May 26th 2009, Dr. Larisa Schelkin will be presented with a Catalyst Award for her work to promote diversity in the sciences (http://scienceclubforgirls.org/catalyst/2009/).
Dr. Larisa Schelkin
If diversity is Science’s greatest barrier in establishing universal truths, Dr. Larisa Schelkin has proven herself to be the perfect leader for this quest. Although her impressive academic and career trajectory was valuable preparation for her role as a leader, it is Dr. Schelkin’s strong appreciation of people from different walks of life that makes her leadership unique.
As she and her family explored the multiplicity of our globe, Dr. Schelkin cultivated her multicultural scientific spirit. From living in Russia, India, Africa, and the U.S. she has learnt the different aspects of science and engineering around the world. “We all have similar values but there are still so many different things to add and share with each other,” she concludes of her worldly experiences. After years of worldwide wandering and admirable scientific accomplishments, she remains in awe of our world’s wealth of knowledge and culture.
Growing up in a landscape rich in natural resources Dr. Schelkin began exploring the diversity the world long before she crossed the borders of her hometown. Her childhood memories involve countless outdoor adventures and explorations. A 3rd generation engineer, Dr. Schelkin was born into a culture and family in which engineering was part of the natural surroundings. She affectionately remembers how as a young girl she often accompanied her father on assignments. Unlike most cultures, communities, and countries, Dr. Schelkin comes from a place where everyone and everything they do centers around engineering.
But Dr. Schelkin’s role as an advocate for diversity in science is not simply a byproduct of a multicultural and engineering background. Rather it is more a result of a heritage of accepting the personal as political. This becomes clear not only through her job as President of the DOME foundation, an organization working to develop programs for underrepresented groups in STEM-related fields, but also in the messages she sends:
To our world’s future generations:
“There are many wise people around the world, as young professionals, I encourage you, from the bottom of my heart, to explore global opportunities. Explore the world!”
To her allies helping to promote diversity in the sciences:
“Keep up the good work! We have made great advances for women and minorities in STEM fields, but we are not there yet, much more work needs to be done.”