Ruth Tennen picked up her first pipette as a summer high-school student in a lab at the University of Connecticut Health Center. She received her bachelor’s degree in molecular biology from Princeton University and her Ph.D. in cancer biology from Stanford University. Her graduate work examined the intersection between epigenetics and disease: how human cells squeeze two meters of DNA into their nuclei while keeping that DNA accessible and dynamic, and how DNA packaging goes awry during cancer and aging. As a graduate student, Ruth shared her love of science by teaching hands-on classes to students at local schools, hospitals, and museums and by blogging on the San Jose Tech Museum’s website.
After completing her Ph.D., Ruth moved to Washington, DC to serve as an AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow. Working in the Bureau of African Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, she collaborated with colleagues in DC and at U.S. Embassies abroad to promote scientific capacity building, science education, and entrepreneurship in sub-Saharan Africa. She managed the Apps4Africa program, which challenges young African innovators to develop mobile apps that tackle problems in their communities. She also traveled to South Africa and Ghana, where she delivered lectures and workshops designed to spark the scientific excitement of young learners.
Ruth is currently a Postdoctoral Lecturer in the Thinking Matters Program at Stanford University, teaching courses focused on developing first-year students' intellectual curiosity and critical inquiry skills in the realms of experimental design, bioethics, and the scientific and societal challenges of cancer. In her free time, Ruth enjoys running, reading, quoting Seinfeld, and cheering for the UConn Huskies.