Science Iowa Leaders


Dan Chibnall (President) is the STEM Librarian & Associate Professor of Librarianship at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa and has been in that role since July 2016. He received his Master's in Library & Information Science from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 2005. His professional focus is on embedded librarianship, information literacy, science communication, information behaviors, and helping students become better researchers. Dan has designed & teaches courses on the relationship between science fiction & science, misinformation & personal information behaviors, and science communication's role in educating the public about the role of science in everyday life. He is also an active member of the Iowa Library Association, volunteers with the Science Center of Iowa, and performs volunteer water quality testing through Polk County Water Quality Monitoring Program. 


Thomas R. O'Donnell (Secretary) is science media editor for a nonprofit in Ames, Iowa that manages programs for the U.S. Department of Energy. He previously worked for several newspapers in Iowa, including nearly 16 years at the Des Moines Register, the state's largest daily. His last position there was medicine and science reporter. He later freelanced for a number of clients, including the Plant Sciences Institute at Iowa State University and the Iowa Biotechnology Association. He is coauthor with Bryan Berg of the 2003 book "Stacking the Deck" from Fireside Books. O'Donnell is an ISU graduate and was a newspaper management fellow at the Modern Media Institute, now the Poynter Institute for Media Studies.


Ruth Henderson (Treasurer) began her science journey at Iowa State University with a BS in Biology followed by a Masters in Education. Over the 41 years of her teaching career, she taught junior high and high school students both physical and life science. Outside of the classroom, Ruth worked with young people in Girl Scouts, STEM clubs, Physics Olympics, and Science Bowl Competitions.

As a leader with Science Iowa, Ruth was able to organize the Rally for the Paris Climate Accords at the State Capitol in 2017, The Science Festival Trail in 2019 and help with the March for Science Iowa marches in 2017 and 2018.  Her hope is to continue promoting science literacy, conservation, and volunteerism through involvement with Science Iowa. 

Maurine Neiman is an evolutionary biologist and Professor at the University of Iowa. Her main appointment is in the Department of Biology. Dr. Neiman also is the first-ever so-called "hard" scientist to have a joint appointment in the Department of Gender, Women's, and Sexuality Studies. She is currently also serving as a Provost Faculty Fellow for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
Dr. Neiman's research program targets fundamental questions in biology centered on the evolutionary impact of genetic variation and the evolution of sexual reproduction. Her research interests extend to a diverse set of other fields ranging from biological invasions and host-pathogen interactions to cancer biology and science studies. She is especially interested in bringing together diverse concepts, tools, and people to address important biological problems that intersect with societal challenges. Dr. Neiman is also very active in community-focused science education and engagement, including long-term leadership of programs like Iowa City Darwin Day and the Iowa-focused Science Booster Club project that bring accessible science and scientists to the public. She will bring her expertise and experience in science-focused outreach to Science Iowa, hoping to help develop more programs statewide that increase science literacy and public enthusiasm for science across Iowa.