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Rita R. Colwell

Renowned Microbiologist; Distinguished Professor at University of Maryland & Founder of CosmosID

Renowned Microbiologist; Distinguished Professor at University of Maryland & Founder of CosmosID

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College Park, MD, USA
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Rita R. Colwell Biography

Rita Colwell is a Distinguished University Professor at the University of Maryland at College Park and at Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health; Senior Advisor and Chairman Emeritus at Canon US Life Sciences, Inc.; and President and Chairman of CosmosID, Inc., a company that builds technology to analyze microbiomes, the tiny living organisms that exist all around us and impact our health and environment.

A renowned microbiologist, Dr. Colwell's interests are focused on global infectious diseases, water, and health. She developed an international network to address emerging infectious diseases and water issues, including safe drinking water for both the developed and developing world, in collaboration with Safe Water Network.

Dr. Colwell was named to Forbes' "50 Over 50" list in 2023. She has received 63 honorary degrees in her lifetime from institutions of higher education, including her alma mater, Purdue University. In 2006, she received the National Medal of Science from President George W. Bush; additionally, she is the recipient of both the Stockholm Water Prize and the Lee Kuan Yew Water Prize. A geological site in Antarctica, called Colwell Massif, has been named in recognition of her work in the Polar Regions.

She served as the eleventh -- and first female -- director of the National Science Foundation (NSF). Before joining NSF, Dr. Colwell was president of the University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute and a professor of microbiology and biotechnology. She was also a member of the National Science Board.

A nationally-respected scientist and educator, Dr. Colwell has held many advisory positions in the U.S. government, nonprofit science policy organizations, and private foundations, as well as in the international scientific research community. She has authored or co-authored 19 books and more than 800 scientific publications. She produced the award-winning film, "Invisible Seas," and served on editorial boards of numerous scientific journals, including GeoHealth, which she founded at AGU.

Colwell previously served as Chairman of the Board of Governors of the American Academy of Microbiology and also as President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Washington Academy of Sciences, the American Society for Microbiology, the Sigma Xi National Science Honorary Society, the International Union of Microbiological Societies, and the American Institute of Biological Sciences.

One of Colwell's major interests is K-12 science and mathematics education, graduate science and engineering education, and the increased participation of women and minorities in science and engineering. Her book, "A Lab of One's Own," features the entrenched sexism in science, the elaborate detours women have take to bypass the problem, and how to fix the system.

Rita R. Colwell Videos

  • Rita R Colwell - 2020 AGU Honors
    Rita R Colwell was the 2020 AGU Honors recipient of the William Bowie Medal. This award is for outstanding contributions to understanding the...
  • Rita Colwell - American Academy of Arts & Sciences
    At this event, the authors of a new American Academy report, Science During Crisis, discussed the importance of science as a part of crisis response,...
  • Rita R. Colwell - Lee Kuan Yew Water Prize 2018 Winner
    Lee Kuan Yew Water Prize 2018 laureate, Professor Rita R. Colwell has dedicated her career to developing innovations that have fundamentally changed...

Rita R. Colwell Books

  • A Lab of One's Own: One Woman's Personal Journey Through Sexism in Science
    A Lab of One's Own: One Woman's Personal Journey Through Sexism in Science

FAQs on booking Rita R. Colwell

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  • What are the speaker fees for Rita R. Colwell

    Speaking fees for Rita R. Colwell, or any other speakers and celebrities, are determined based on a number of factors and may change without notice. The estimated fees to book Rita R. Colwell are for live events and for virtual events. For the most current speaking fee to hire Rita R. Colwell, click the Check Availability button above and complete the form on this page, or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to speak directly with an experienced booking agent.
  • What topics does Rita R. Colwell speak about?

    Rita R. Colwell is a keynote speaker and industry expert whose speaking topics include College, Environment, Health, Professors, Public Health.
  • Where does Rita R. Colwell travel from?

    Rita R. Colwell generally travels from College Park, MD, USA, but can be booked for private corporate events, personal appearances, keynote speeches, or other performances. For more details, please contact an AAE Booking agent.
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    AAE Speakers Bureau has successfully booked keynote speakers like Rita R. Colwell for clients worldwide since 2002. As a full-service speaker booking agency, we have access to virtually any speaker or celebrity in the world. Our agents are happy and able to submit an offer to the speaker or celebrity of your choice, letting you benefit from our reputation and long-standing relationships in the industry. Please click the Check Availability button above and complete the form on this page including the details of your event, or call our office at 1.800.698.2536, and one of our agents will assist you to book Rita R. Colwell for your next private or corporate function.
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Rita R. Colwell is a keynote speaker and industry expert who speaks on a wide range of topics . The estimated speaking fee range to book Rita R. Colwell for your event is available upon request. Rita R. Colwell generally travels from College Park, MD, USA and can be booked for (private) corporate events, personal appearances, keynote speeches, or other performances. Similar motivational celebrity speakers are Catherine Coleman Flowers, Laura Jelliffe-Pawlowski, Carolyn Bertozzi, Renee Wegrzyn and Dr. Syra Madad. Contact All American Speakers for ratings, reviews, videos and information on scheduling Rita R. Colwell for an upcoming live or virtual event.

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