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Nature Awards announces 2022 Inspiring Women in Science winners

2 women in a science lab

Kizzmekia Corbett, whose work led to the development of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, and the Tem Menina no Circuito initiative named winners of this year’s Inspiring Women in Science Awards.

Kizzmekia Corbett, Assistant Professor of Immunology and Infectious Diseases at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Tem Menina no Circuito, a Brazilian initiative founded with the aim of inspiring girls from the most deprived schools in Brazil to enjoy STEM subjects, are the recipients of this year’s Inspiring Women in Science Awards. The awards, held by Nature Awards in partnership with The Estée Lauder Companies, champion those who are working to encourage girls and women* to engage with STEM** subjects and who work to support women to stay in STEM careers around the world. The winners were announced at a ceremony in London on 11 October.

Commenting on this year’s winners, Deborah Sweet, Vice President, Journals at Nature said:

“It is important that we create more inclusive and diverse environments that can harness the talents of girls and women in science across the globe. Kizzmekia and The Tem Mina no Circuito Initiative are doing this every day through their inspiring work, and we thank and congratulate them on their stories and achievements. Alongside our partner The Estée Lauder Companies, we are delighted to be able to showcase the impact of their work and their continued commitment to opening up science to those from more diverse backgrounds and inspiring other women and girls in STEM.”

The awards are split into two categories – The Science Outreach category and the Scientific Achievement category.

The Scientific Achievement Award, recognising early-career women researchers that have made an exceptional contribution to scientific discovery, and may have faced significant challenges whether personal or professional, is awarded to Kizzmekia Corbett. Her laboratory studies host immune responses to coronaviruses and other emerging and re-emerging viruses to propel novel vaccine and antibody therapy development. This work directly contributed to the development of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. Combining her research goals with her passion for mentorship, she invests much of her time in underserved communities as an advocate of STEM education and vaccine awareness.

The Scientific Outreach Award, presented for initiatives that support girls or young women to engage with, enjoy and study STEM subjects or to increase the retention of women in STEM careers is awarded to The Tem Menina no Circuito initiative. The initiative holds weekly hands-on activities in schools in low-income regions in a girls-only environment. The activities, such as electrical circuits workshops in alternative media, combine materials commonly used in crafts with electronic components, and are designed to bring out the playful and creative aspects of science. The initiative also promoted field trips to universities, research centres, and museums, talks from female researchers, and other activities to empower girls.

Lisa Napolione, Senior Vice President, Global Research & Development at The Estée Lauder Companies said:

“On behalf of The Estée Lauder Companies, I am thrilled that we are celebrating the fifth year of these incredible awards that promote gender equality in STEM research and outreach. As a female founded company, we believe it is imperative for women and girls to have the resources they need to reach their highest potential. It is an honor to partner with Springer Nature, a global organization that shares these same values, to help drive meaningful change. Encouraging mentorship and advancement for the continued growth and leadership of women, particularly in STEM, is a personal passion of mine and I could not be prouder to celebrate this year’s award winners.”

The award winners each receive prize money of US$50,000 to spend on initiatives relating to their work, mentoring through The Estée Lauder Companies and other publicity opportunities. 

Winners were selected by a judging panel consisting of editors from Nature Portfolio, academic scientists, external experts working in organisations supporting access to science for women, and our corporate partner, The Estée Lauder Companies.

More information on Springer Nature’s diversity, equity and inclusion commitments can be found here.

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