May 1, 2023

Hilary Marusak, Ph.D., receives 2023 Board of Governors Faculty Recognition Award

Hilary Marusak, Ph.D., assistant professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences at the Wayne State University School of Medicine, received the 2023 Board of Governors Faculty Recognition Award in April.

Dr. Marusak, one of seven WSU faculty members recognized with the award, was selected for establishing and advancing the Science Policy Network-Detroit.

Hilary Marusak, Ph.D.

The awards are given annually to full-time faculty members who make outstanding contributions to scholarship and learning. Each recipient receives a citation from the board, an engraved wall plaque and a monetary award. Awardees are selected by a committee of previous Faculty Recognition Award winners.

The Science Policy Network-Detroit, or SciPol-Detroit, was founded in 2020 by students in Dr. Marusak’s laboratory. Under her guidance, it has grown in number and influence. The organization aims to improve science advocacy and communication between scientists, lawmakers and the public.

In June 2022, Dr. Marusak led a group of students and scientists from SciPol-Detroit to Washington, D.C., to meet with five members of the Michigan congressional delegation. The students discussed critical issues and legislation related to federal science funding, maternal and perinatal health, and health disparities. In her continued work as an advisor for Sci-Pol Detroit, Dr. Marusak has established a sustainable framework for students and faculty to advocate for science and have a lasting impact on the Wayne State University community.

“I am delighted to receive this award on behalf of Science Policy Network-Detroit, the student-led science policy group I cofounded and advise on,” she said. “This award was in recognition of our inaugural trip to Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., last summer, where our students led discussions with lawmakers about the importance of federal science funding and advocated for science-based policies.

“This trip was a tremendous success, and we plan on going again this upcoming June. So, it’s a great time to become involved if you are a student, scientist, faculty or staff member. This trip also paved the way for advocacy on the state level; SciPol-Detroit visited the Michigan State Capitol last month. This award is a reflection of the dedication and passion of Wayne State students in serving as engaged citizen scientists, advocating for science funding and education, preparing the next generation of scientists, and improving the lives of Detroiters and those around the country with science-based policies. I am so incredibly proud of this group and humbled by them every single day.”

Dr. Marusak directs the WSU THINK Lab at the School of Medicine, which focuses on characterizing the impact of stress and trauma during childhood on brain development in children and adolescents, as well as neurodevelopmental mechanisms leading to anxiety and other "fear-based" disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder.

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