Jane Doherty (second from left) at The Institute for Science and Policy—a project of the Denver Museum of Nature & Science

Doherty steals the show at Denver Museum of Nature & Science


Colorado Academy Senior, Jane Doherty, was the only student invitee to attend the inaugural symposium of The Institute for Science and Policy—a project of the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. The Institute provides tools, data, processes, and a safe environment for deliberative, productive dialog on policy issues involving science. The theme of the symposium at the museum was “The Role of Science in Policy Making.”

Doherty was invited to join a panel which included leaders in the field: Kirk Johnson, Sant Director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History; Manu Platt, PhD, professor at Georgia Tech and Emory University; Jennifer Reisch, PhD, CU Denver; Roger Pielke, Jr. PhD, CU Boulder; and Charles Mann, author of 1542 and Prophets and Wizards, just to name a few. 

George Sparks, President/CEO of the Denver Museum of Nature & Science and a CA parent, opened the symposium by challenging all participants to think about how science can play a more prominent and apolitical role in policy-making, thereby giving policy makers more tools to make the best decisions they can for constituents. 

‘Jane for President in 2020’

In an afternoon session, Doherty stole the show, as she discussed the roles and responsibilities of “Trend Makers and Trust Builders in Science.” Her fellow panelists were Tamar Haspel, of The Washington Post, and Ann Merchant, from The Science & Entertainment Exchange program of the National Academy of Sciences.

Johnson moderated the thoughtful and passion-filled exchange among the three, and on the live-scrolling Poll Everywhere forum, audience members started a thread “Jane [for President in] 2020.” Doherty’s thoughtful, gracious, and compelling responses to the role that science could play in decision-making drove home the point that the youth in our country must be part of major conversations about science and policy making.

Doherty plans on attending Georgetown University and is currently considering a major in Neurobiology and a minor in Georgetown’s Science, Policy, and International Affairs program.