SU alumna, new National Medal of Science recipient, named science and technology adviser to U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
SU alumna, new National Medal of Science recipient, named science and technology adviser to U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza RiceJuly 25, 2007Jaime Winne Alvarezjlwinne@syr.edu
Syracuse University alumna Nina V. Fedoroff ’66 has been named the new science and technology adviser to U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Fedoroff, the Verne M. Willaman Chair in Life Sciences and Evan Pugh Professor at the Pennsylvania State University, was nominated for the position by the National Academy of Sciences. She will begin serving a three-year term in August while on leave from her current position at Penn State. Fedoroff received a bachelor’s degree in biology and chemistry summa cum laude from SU’s College of Arts and Sciences in 1966.
In addition to her State Department appointment, Fedoroff is one of eight scientists recently named by President Bush to receive the National Medal of Science, the nation’s highest award for lifetime achievement in scientific research. She will receive her medal at a White House ceremony this Friday, July 27. The National Medal of Science honors individuals for pioneering scientific research in a range of fields — including physical, biological, mathematical, social, behavioral and engineering sciences — that enhance our understanding of the world and lead to innovations and technologies that give the United States its global economic edge. The National Science Foundation administers the award, which was established by Congress in 1959.
As science and technology adviser to the secretary (STAS), Fedoroff will serve as the Department of State’s chief scientist and principal liaison with the national and international scientific and engineering communities. She is the third person to hold the position since its establishment in 2000. In 2003, Secretary of State Colin Powell named former SU professor and current STAS George H. Atkinson to the position.
In her role as STAS, Fedoroff will be responsible for enhancing science and technology literacy and capacity at the State Department, increasing the number of scientists and engineers working in Washington and in missions abroad, strengthening and building bridges to the scientific and engineering communities, and providing advice on current and emerging science and technology issues as they impact foreign policy.
Fedoroff is one of the nation’s most prominent researchers in the life sciences and biotechnology. She is a leading geneticist and molecular biologist who has contributed to the development of modern techniques used to study and modify plants. Fedoroff has completed fundamental research in the molecular biology of plant genes and transposons, as well as on the mechanisms plants use to adapt to stressful environments.
Fedoroff received a doctorate in molecular biology from Rockefeller University in 1972. In 1978, she became a staff member at the Carnegie Institution of Washington and a faculty member in the biology department at Johns Hopkins University. In 1995, she joined the faculty of Penn State, where she founded and directed the multidisciplinary organization the Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences; in 2002, she was appointed an Evan Pugh Professor, Penn State’s highest academic honor.
Fedoroff is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the European Academy of Sciences. In 2001, she was appointed by President Clinton to serve on the National Science Board of the National Science Foundation for a six-year term confirmed by the U.S. Senate. She is the recipient of many prestigious research grants, honors and awards, including SU’s George Arents Pioneer Medal in 2003.