Community colleges rarely have an opportunity to lead changes in society and culture but NOVA is different. In fall 2010, NOVA Art Professor and 30-year veteran faculty member Rebecca Kamen began to share her gifts for visualization of science through art with the Commonwealth of Virginia and beyond. She applied for and won a Chancellor’s Professorship and numerous Virginia Community College System (VCCS) Professional Development Grants that have given her the opportunity to open new avenues for NOVA to work with the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Harvard Department of Astrophysics and Science Education, Science Museum of Virginia and many other world class institutions for science research and science education.
Kamen’s work bridging art and science is currently on exhibit at the Science Museum of Virginia in Richmond. On July 11, she was the featured lecturer as part of the Science Museum’s Brown Bag Lunch Lecture series.
In May 2012, Kamen began a summer fellowship at the NIH in the Department of Neuroscience. She will mentor practicing research scientists in artistic visualization of their work and its relationship to other fields. In addition, Kamen will be tasked with supporting a similar program at the NIH that will build on work she has helped to realize in the same program at George Mason University.
During winter 2011, the George Mason University Department of Science secured Kamen’s breakthrough three dimensional sculpture of the periodic table, Divining Nature, for permanent installation in the atrium of the new science building.
Not resting on her laurels, Kamen has continued to expand opportunities for NOVA and STEM education through the enhanced visualization provided for scientists by art that is informed by science. On October 19, a symposium on “Innovative STEM Education” will be held at the Schlesinger Center for the Arts on the Alexandria Campus. Nationally recognized speakers including Robert and Michelle Root-Bernstein, corporate representatives for enterprises employing STEM educated NOVA graduates, and professional colleagues from across the VCCS will attend. NOVA Director of SySTEMic Solutions Amy Harris will be co-host for the event that will feature representatives from Virginia government and the VCCS. Registration information will be available shortly. Please note the date on your calendar.