Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) and PBS LearningMedia announced today The EMPEROR Science Award Program, an initiative that will encourage students from disadvantaged high schools to pursue careers in science, with a particular emphasis on cancer research through a year of mentorship with a scientist from a leading research institution or industry.
The education initiative, announced by SU2C co-founder Katie Couric at Columbia University, is being launched in connection with Ken Burns Presents CANCER: THE EMPEROR OF ALL MALADIES a Film by Barak Goodman, a three-part film on the history of cancer that will air on PBS Monday, March 30, Tuesday, March 31 and Wednesday, April 1.
“When we launched this documentary effort in 2013, Siddhartha Mukherjee told us that even with all the exciting developments in cancer research, we will not beat cancer in the long run if we don’t engage new generations of young people to enter the field of science, particularly cancer research,” said SU2C Co-Founder Sherry Lansing who leads the committee which conceived and implemented this plan. “No doubt, the documentary will spark an interest in science among some of the young people who watch it and this science award was designed to nurture that interest, and perhaps convert it into more students pursuing research as a profession.”
“As we learn in CANCER: THE EMPEROR OF ALL MALADIES, our most effective weapons in the war against cancer are bright minds and people who are passionately committed to finding a cure,” said Alicia Levi, VP of Education, PBS. “To find the next Sidney Farber or Mary-Claire King, we need to make sure that all students have an opportunity to pursue their scientific ambitions.”
Applications will be available in August 2015 for the program on PBS LearningMedia’s website at pbslearningmedia.org. Students may apply for awards or may be nominated by teachers. The first 100 Awardees, high school students from Title I, or similarly “economically disadvantaged” schools, who will receive one-on-one science mentoring over the course of a year or an intensive summer schedule, as well as $1,500 grants, will be announced in late 2015. Students will be connected with science mentors from a host of high-profile medical research centers, from among more than 100 SU2C-affiliated institutions as well as universities and industry leaders in cancer diagnosis and treatment.
The students will be provided with electronic tablets to enhance their studies and to extend the reach of mentors of major research institutions for students in rural and suburban communities.
The first 300 EMPEROR Science Awards have been fully funded over three years. The inaugural one hundred EMPEROR Science Awards have been generously donated by the first documentary supporter, Genentech. Another 100 EMPEROR Science Awards are supported by a grant from documentary supporter Bristol-Myers Squibb. Also supporting 100 Science Awards is a donation from Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation. These awards will be known as EMPEROR Genentech Science Awards; EMPEROR Bristol-Myers Squibb Science Awards; and EMPEROR Novartis Science Awards, respectively.
Leading researchers are already committing to serving as mentors. Students will be matched with Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee (author, The Emperor of All Maladies); American Cancer Society Chief Medical Officer Otis W. Brawley, M.D., F.A.C.P.; Bristol-Myers Squibb Vice President, US Medical – Oncology Joseph Leveque, M.D.; researchers from Stony Brook Cancer Center; and ten scientists from Siemens Corporation.
This initiative was organized by the EMPEROR OF ALL MALADIES Education Subcommittee, chaired by Sherry Lansing, SU2C co-founder, chairperson of the Entertainment Industry Foundation’s Board of Directors and founder of the Sherry Lansing Foundation. Other advisory members include the creative team behind CANCER: THE EMPEROR OF ALL MALADIES, including Ken Burns (executive producer); Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee (author); Barak Goodman (producer/director); and Pam Williams (executive producer; president, Laura Ziskin Pictures; SU2C Council of Founders & Advisors), and documentary production supporters.