Liberty Science Center names Genius honorees for 2019, unveils new Strides in STEM award

Liberty Science Center has announced the 2019 honorees at its upcoming annual “Genius Gala,” including the product designer who first proposed using the hashtag symbol on Twitter.

The Jersey City-based institution said in a news release Friday that this year’s gala will honor four Geniuses:

  • Chris Messina, who came up with the idea of marking groups on the social media platform more than a decade ago;
  • Martine Rothblatt, founder, chairwoman and CEO of United Therapeutics, creator of five FDA-approved drugs, and a pioneer in pig cloning, as well as co-founder of Sirius XM; and
  • Drs. Sally and Bennett Shaywitz, co-founders and co-directors of the Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity, who have conducted groundbreaking research on the learning disorder.

The science center will also honor “Project Runway” host Karlie Kloss with its first-ever Strides in STEM Award, recognizing her work with her nonprofit, Kode with Klossy, which she founded in 2015 to help young women pursue their technology passions.

“Our 2019 Genius Award winners and our first-ever Strides in STEM honoree are five visionary women and men of science who are busting paradigms,” LSC CEO and President Paul Hoffman said in a prepared statement. “Each personifies what it means to be a genius and a catalyst for change; each is using his or her exceptional intellectual and creative abilities to disrupt and innovate both in their respective fields and for the betterment of humanity; and each recognizes the importance of ensuring the next generation of science and technology superstars have access to the tools they need to succeed.”

The black-tie gala will be held May 13 at the center in Jersey City, with funds raised benefiting the center’s exhibitions and programs. More than 700 industry leaders and philanthropists are expected to attend.

The corporate chairs for the event are:

  • David M. Daly, president and chief operating officer, Public Service Electric & Gas;
  • Michael J. Inserra, senior vice chair and Americas deputy managing partner, EY; and
  • Chirag Patel, co-founder and co-chairman, Amneal Pharmaceuticals.

The co-chairs are:

David Barry, CEO and president, Ironstate Development Co., and CEO and president, Urby; Sheri B. Bronstein, chief human resources officer, Bank of America; Brian Carlin, CEO, Wealth Management Solutions, JPMorgan Chase & Co.; Jennifer A. Chalsty, director, advisory council, James Buchanan Brady Urological Institute, Johns Hopkins University; Kevin P. Conlin, chairman, CEO and president, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey; Michael DeMarco, CEO, Mack-Cali Realty Corp.; Matthew D. Ellis, executive vice president and chief financial officer, Verizon Communications; Joe Hand, EVP, global human resources and corporate services, Celgene Corp.; Dr. Robert J. Hariri, co-founder and vice chairman, Human Longevity Inc., and founder, chairman and CEO, Celularity Inc.; Barbara G. Koster, senior VP and chief information officer, Prudential Financial Inc.; Bruce L. Levy, CEO and president, BMR Energy; Laura Bilodeau Overdeck, founder and president, Bedtime Math, and John Overdeck, co-founder and co-Chairman, Two Sigma; Andrew Penson, founder and managing director, Argent Ventures; Carlos Rodriguez, CEO and president, ADP; and Gregory Tusar, co-founder, Tagomi.

For more information on the gala, click here.