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Lab Girl author Hope Jahren
Lab Girl author Hope Jahren.

Students, faculty to discuss 'Lab Girl' on Sept. 25

Photo illustration by Jeffrey Chase

UD faculty will lead a discussion of the 2018 Common Reader by Hope Jahren

The University of Delaware’s First Year Seminar Program and the Office of the Provost will present a Faculty Discussion on the 2018 Common Reader, Lab Girl, by Hope Jahren.

The panel will be moderated by Provost Robin Morgan, beginning at 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 25 in Mitchell Hall. Panelists include Nicole Donofrio, associate professor in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences; Lowell Duckert, associate professor in the Department of English, and Catherine Grimes, assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.

The event is free and open to the University community, with priority seating given to first-year students. There will be overflow seating in room 001 of Mitchell Hall with a livestream of the event.

Lab Girl is the University of Delaware’s 2018 First Year Common Reader. Through the First Year Common Reader program, selected works are read by UD first-year students before arriving on campus for the fall semester in conjunction with other events.

In her memoir, Lab Girl, Jahren describes her life and the knowledge she has gained as a scientist trying to find her way in the world. Focusing on a period of professional development that stretches from 1988 to 2012, the bulk of the narrative follows Jahren from her first years in college at the University of Minnesota to a tenured professor job at the University of Hawaii.

Navigating personal and professional challenges, Jahren and her eccentric lab manager, Bill, learn to accept themselves, each other and the joy that comes from researching the mysterious lives of plants.

Jahren is an award-winning scientist who has been pursuing independent research in paleobiology since 1996. Jahren is the recipient of three Fulbright Awards and is one of four scientists, and the only woman, to have been awarded both of the Young Investigator Medals given within the Earth Sciences. She was a tenured professor at the University of Hawaii in Honolulu from 2008 to 2016, where she built the Isotope Geobiology Laboratories, with support from National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy and the National Institutes of Health. She currently holds the J. Tuzo Wilson professorship at the University of Oslo, Norway.

About the First Year Common Reader

The First Year Common Reader is a unique opportunity for students to engage in a meaningful conversation with fellow students and to begin to share in the intellectual life of the entire UD community. 

The book is read before arriving on campus with speakers, films and other cultural events organized around the theme of the book throughout the first semester.

Previous common readers have included The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead, When the Emperor was Divine, by Julie Otsuka, Just Mercy, by Bryan Stevenson; Thank You for Your Service, by David Finkel; My Beloved World, by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor; Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity, by Katherine Boo; and The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot.

For more information on the Common Reader, visit the website.

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