Sheril Kirshenbaum

Sheril Kirshenbaum is a scientist and author at Michigan State University working to enhance public understanding of science and improve communication between scientists, policymakers and the public. She currently hosts Serving Up Science, now in its third season at PBS Digital Studios.

Sheril co-authored Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future with Chris Mooney, chosen by Library Journal as one of the Best Sci-Tech Books of 2009 and named by President Obama's science advisor John Holdren as a top recommended read. She is also the author of The Science of Kissing, which explores the science behind one of humanity's fondest pastimes. Her Substack, Unelected Representative, focuses on scientific decision making in the U.S. Congress.

In 2007, Sheril co-founded Science Debate and served as Executive Director from 2015-2022. Science Debate is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working with citizens across the nation to get presidential, state, and local candidates on record on science policy prior to election day. She has been a Presidential Leadership Scholar, a Marshall Memorial Fellow, a legislative NOAA Sea Grant Knauss Fellow in the U.S. Senate with Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) and a Next Generation Fellow through the Robert Strauss Center for International Security and Law. She speaks internationally about science communication and has appeared as a thought leader at events like TEDGlobal and Ciudad de las Ideas.

Sheril has been featured in documentary films about science and society and her writing appears in publications such as Bloomberg and The Atlantic, frequently covering topics from climate change to parenthood. Her work has been published in scientific journals including Science and Nature and she is featured in the anthology The Best American Science Writing 2010. Sheril has been a guest on news programs like CNN and Fox News and interviewed in magazines such as Vanity Fair. She has also hosted blogs at Discover, Scientific American and Wired, as well as the weekly NPR podcast Serving Up Science. She holds MSc degrees in marine biology and policy and is currently a PhD candidate in community sustainability at Michigan State University. Her research focuses on how we make decisions about science and policy.

Previously Sheril served as director of the University of Texas at Austin Energy Poll. She has also worked with the Webber Energy Group at the Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy and Duke University's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions. Sheril has been a visiting scholar with The Pimm Group, a fellow with the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation at the American Museum of Natural History and a Howard Hughes Research Fellow. She lives in East Lansing, Michigan with her husband, David Lowry, and sons.

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