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ITHACA, N.Y. — Cinemapolis, Ithaca’s member-supported independent movie theater, is completing its first series of Science on Screen events with a special evening focusing on women in STEM. Earlier this year, the cinema was selected as one of the 36 sites to participate in the nationwide Science on Screen® program. Science on Screen events match classic, cult, science fiction, and nonfiction films with lively presentations by experts on specific scientific, technological, or medical issues raised by each film. Cinemapolis wraps up its Spring season of events at 7 pm on Tuesday, May 14 with a screening of “Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story.” Admission for Science on Screen screenings at Cinemapolis is just $5.

Written and directed by Alexandra Dean, “Bombshell explores the life and career of the hailed Hollywood movie star and underappreciated genius inventor, Hedy Lamarr. Known by most solely for her on-screen appearances in the golden age of the studio system, Lamarr was also an accomplished inventor who, among other things, gave aeronautic advice to Howard Hughes and devised a system of “frequency-hopping” that continues to be used in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth technology today. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion titled “Elevating Voices and Bridging Worlds for Women in STEM.” Organized by Ithaca City Schools’ teacher Jennifer Wilkie, the panel will feature four women sharing their stories, work, and thoughts about creating supportive spaces, navigating challenges and charting the course for girls and women in STEM fields.

Panelists for the evening include Carlan Gray, Michelle Kortenaar, Jai Sweet, and Wilkie:

  • Carlan Gray is a local educator who is currently working as the Associate Principal for Curriculum and Instruction at Ithaca High School. Her love and background is in teaching Biology at all levels. She has worked for several years to build opportunities for women in STEM fields in our schools.
  • Michelle Kortenaar is VP of Strategic Development at the Sciencenter. Before her current role, Michelle was senior director of Engagement and Learning where she led the team that developed the Sciencenter’s Future Science Leaders – a middle school program designed to be welcoming of girls.
  • Jai Sweet is the Senior Director of Student Development and Academic Services at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University.  She is passionate about increasing diversity and inclusion in higher education and has spent the last 20 years engaged in a variety of efforts to diversify the veterinary profession and to develop confident veterinary graduates.
  • Jennifer Wilkie has a passion for science and believes in the importance of learning all we can about the world to do good in it. She has worked as an educator for elementary and graduate students, and is currently a teacher on special assignment in Ithaca City Schools, supporting teacher professional development, especially in STEM, to provide a more equitable education for all.

Since the launch of the national Science on Screen initiative in 2011, Coolidge Corner Theatre and the Sloan Foundation have awarded 201 grants to 82 nonprofit cinemas across the country. Science on Screen grantee theaters run three or more Science on Screen events per year, creatively pairing film screenings with presentations by notable experts from the world of science and technology. The grant is funded by the Sloan Foundation’s Program for Public Understanding of Science, Technology & Economics and administered by the Coolidge Corner Theatre, the celebrated Massachusetts art-house cinema that launched the Science on Screen format in 2005.

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