Professor, Boyce Thompson Institute; Adjunct Associate Professor, School of Integrative Plant Science
Sarah works at the nexus of plant science and the societal issues that affect the plant science research enabling environment. Specifically, she works to improve science communication and public policy. She serves as the founding Director of the Alliance for Science — a global communications effort that promotes evidence-informed decision-making across a range of science issues, including plant biotechnology.
She has an adjunct appointment in the School of Integrative Plant Science in the College of Agriculture at Cornell University where she contributes to courses on agricultural biotechnology at the graduate and undergraduate level and was part of an interdisciplinary team that developed a massive open online course (MOOC) on the science and politics of GMOs on Cornell’s EdX platform.
Previously, she served as Senior Associate Director of International Programs in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Sarah was instrumental in launching the CALS initiative, AWARE (Advancing Women in Agriculture through Research and Education) which promotes women in agriculture.
Sarah received her PhD in Plant Biology from Cornell University in 2009, for which she conducted an interdisciplinary study combining work in plant molecular biology with science communication. Specifically, she researched and wrote about the barriers to the adoption of publicly developed genetically engineered crops in developing countries. She came to Cornell after completing a BA in Biology at Reed College.
Awards & Honors
- Borlaug CAST Communication Award (2021)
- Planet of Plenty Awards, "Educator" category (2020)
Senior Fellow, The Breakthrough Institute. (2018)
The Alice H. Cook and Constance E. Cook Award, Cornell University Office of Faculty Development & Diversity. (2015)
Early Achievement Award, Faculty Research & Extension Awards, College of Agriculture & Life Sciences. (2014)
20 Outstanding Women You Should Know, Tompkins County Women’s Expo. (2011)
Knight Teaching Award for Writing Exercises, Knight Institute for Writing in the Disciplines. (2008)
Mentor Grant, National Association of Science Writers. (2007)
Barbara McClintock Award (2007)
Frederick Dreer Award (2007-2006)
Buttrick-Crippen Fellowship, John S. Knight Writing Center 2007-2008; Offers promising instructors of writing seminars the opportunity to develop and instruct a new writing course. (2007-2008)
AAAS Mass Media Fellow (2005)
- PhD, Plant Pathology, Cornell University, 2009
- Master of Science, Plant Biology, Cornell University, 2003
- Bachelor of Arts, Biology, Reed College, 1998
Science communications & science advocacy
Diversity & inclusion
Biotechnology, policy & social issues
Grant portfolio of $29 million since 2014
- The Cornell Alliance for Science Reinvestment. $9,933,124. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, 2020-2024.
- Cochran Fellowship Program: Overview of Biotechnology Communication and Policy for Serbia Eastern Europe and Eurasia Team. $79,119.00. USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, 2020-2021.
- Building Effective Communication Strategies and Messaging in the APEC and ASEAN Region. $79,788.00. USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, 2020-2021.
- Borlaug Fellows Program Biotechnology in Ethiopia. $46896.00. USDA, 2019-2020.
- Supplement to Improving Management of Knowledge, Learning and Data and Increasing Dissemination of Results for BMGF Root and Tuber Crop Virus and PEARL Grants. $1,200,060 total. Funded by The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, 2018-2019.
- Bangladesh Supplement to the Cornell Alliance for Science. $1,037,970 total. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, 2018-2020.
- Cornell Alliance for Science (reinvestment). $6,400,000 total. Funded by The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, 2017-2020.
- Global Farmer Leadership Course in Strategic Communications and Grassroots Organizing. $197,000. Funded by USDA Emerging Markets Program, 2017.
- Cornell Alliance for Science short course in India. $98,720. Funded by USDA Emerging Markets Program, 2017.
- Editing Genome for Improving Wheat Yield and Yield-Related Traits. $85,713.00 (subaward) USDA NIFA, 2016-2019.
- Cornell Alliance for Science Global Leadership Fellows Training Program. $394,579. Funded by USDA Emerging Markets Program, 2016.
- Improving Management of Knowledge, Learning and Data and Increasing Dissemination of Results for BMGF Root and Tuber Crop Virus and PEARL Grants. $1,800,000. Funded by The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, 2015-2018.
- Science & Politics of the GMO MOOC. $50,000. Development and execution of MOOC through Cornell University, 2015-2016.
- The Cornell Alliance for Science. $5,600,000. Funded by The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, 2014-2017.
- Experts Convening and Planning Workshop on Global Biotechnology Advocacy and Communications. $67,404. The New Venture Fund, 2014.
- Durable Rust Resistance in Wheat Phase II. $40 million. Funded by The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation 2011-2016. Role: Senior project lead (PI: Ronnie Coffman)
- Nelson KM, Nelson RG, Davidson Evanega S, Coffman R, Hunduma S, and Abebe S. Farmer Preferences for Wheat Variety Traits in Ethiopia. African Journal of Agriculture and Resource Economics. (submitted)
- William Ronnie Coffman, Maricelis Acevedo, Sarah Davidson Evanega, Jaron Porciello, Hale Ann Tufan, Linda McCandless (2020) VIEWPOINT: Five recommendations for an inclusive and collaborative One. CGIAR Food Policy 91: 101831
- M Lynas & Davidson Evanega S. The Dialectic of Pro-Poor Papaya (2014) in Handbook of Food, Politics and Society, edited by Ronald Herring, Oxford University Press, New York.
- Davidson SN. (2012) Progress, Power Prevarication, and Papaya: Local Knowledge and GE Papaya in Thailand. GM Crops & Food: Biotechnology in Agriculture and the Food Chain, 3: 104-110.
- Davidson SN. Genetically Engineered Plants, in McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science & Technology, 11th edition, McGraw-Hill, New York, 2012.
- Coffman R, Davidson Evanega S, and Vijayaraghavan K (2012). The Borlaug Global Rust Initiative: Managing Wheat Rust Through Collaboration. Souvenir for ICAR-APAARI Expert Consultation on Managing Trans-Boundary Diseases of Agricultural Importance in Asia-Pacific. NASC Complex, ICAR, New Delhi, 10-12 October.
- Nelson K, Davidson S, Nelson R, Chiche Y, Sperling L, Hunduma S, and Abebe S. (2013). Ethiopian farmers’ preferences for attributes of bread wheat: A gender-responsive conjoint analysis. Abstract in: Proceedings of the 2012 Borlaug Global Rust Initiative Technical Workshop. Sept 1-4, 2012; Beijing, China.
- Davidson SN, Singh R, Coffman R and Pumphrey M. (2013). The Borlaug Global Rust Initiative: Reducing the Genetic Vulnerability of Wheat to Rust. in Advances in Genomics of Plant Genetic Resources. Springer, New York.
- Davidson SN, Singh R, Coffman R and Pumphrey M. (2013). Borlaug Global Rust Initiative: A Global Initiative for Managing Wheat Rust. Proceedings Regional Consultation on Improving Wheat Productivity in Asia. FAO - APAARI, April 26-27, Bangkok.
- Coffman R, Cisar G, and Davidson SN. (2012). Durable Rust Resistance in Wheat (DRRW): Mitigation of Ug99 through a Consortium Approach in Wheat Productivity Enhancement Under a Changing Climate eds. S.S. Singh, R.R. Hanchinal, G. Singh, R.K. Sharma, B.S. Tyagi, M.S. Saharan, I. Sharma. Narosa Publishing House Pvt Ltd, New Delhi.
- Coffman C, Cisar G, and Davidson SN. (2011). Future Outlook of Global Food Security & Safety: The Case of Wheat. Proceedings of the International Seminar on The Future of Global Food Security and Safety: Issues and Justification October 27, 2011; Bogor, Indonesia
- Nelson KM, Chiche Y, Sperling L , and Davidson SN. (2011). Gender-responsive variety selection (GVS) for rust-resistant wheat varieties at Kulumsa, Ethiopia. Poster presented at the 2011 Borlaug Global Rust Initiative Technical Workshop. Jun 13-16, 2011; St. Paul, Minnesota.
- Rutkoski J, Sorrells M, and Davidson SN. (2010). Molecular Tools to Decrease Work-Life Conflict in Plant Breeding. Poster presented at the 2010 Borlaug Global Rust Initiative Technical Workshop. May 30-31; St. Petersburg, Russia.
- Davidson SN. (2008) Forbidden Fruit: Transgenic Papaya in Thailand. Plant Physiology, 147: 487-493
- Davidson SN. The Genetically Modified (GM) PRSV Resistant Papaya in Thailand: A case study for the agricultural biotechnology policy development in the GMS Sub-Region. Prepared for: Strengthening Capacity and Regional Cooperation in Advanced Agricultural Science and Technology in the Greater Mekong Subregion. Prepared for The Asian Development Bank, 2006.
- Urbanowicz, BR, Davidson SN and Rose, JKC. (2006) Plant Cell Walls. In McGraw-Hill 2006 Yearbook of Science & Technology. McGraw-Hill New York.
A selection of authored blogs, clips from other publications (magazine and newsprint) available upon request.
Under Evanega’s leadership (2015 to present), the Alliance for Science has developed and delivered four sessions of its Global Leadership Fellows Program, an extensive 12-week course held on the Cornell campus that engages champions from around the world passionate about improving their agricultural science communication and advocacy skills.
To date, Evanega has engaged with:
- 111 fellows from 35 countries
- 49% women; 86% < age 40; 95% from developing countries
- Workshops: 796 champions trained from 48 countries worldwide, many from marginalized or under-represented communities, in the science communication space.
- 109 journalists trained from 15 countries.
Workshops & Trainings
Evanega has led the Alliance for Science to develop and deliver short courses in science communication and agricultural advocacy, training 786 people from 48 countries around the world.
- Communicating Science, Evidence & Policy of Agribiotechnology For Food Security (Dhaka, Bangladesh, January 26 & 27, 2020)
- Global Farmer Advocacy & Communications Course- a joint course with the Global Farmer Network (Mexico City, Mexico, January 13-17, 2020)
- Gene Editing in Agriculture: Science, Policy, Action! (San Jose, Costa Rica, December10-13, 2019)
- Biotechnology, Policy and Communication, a 2-week program for Turkish Cochran Fellows (Ithaca, Indianapolis, and DC, September, 2019)
- Speaking Science: Preparing summer REUs students for public engagement in the plant sciences (Ithaca, NY, June 2019)
- Gene Editing in Agriculture: Science, Policy, Action! (Hyderabad, India February 25-28, 2019)
- Speaking Science: CRISPR, Consumers, Conversations (San Diego, CA, January 7 & 8, 2019)
- WEMA Maize Outreach, Advocacy and Communication Training (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, December 3-6, 2018)
- Media Training on Agricultural Biotechnology (Dodoma, Tanzania, October 15-18, 2018)
- Speaking Science (Ithaca, NY, June 25-29)
- Advocacy & Communications Course for Global Farmers 2018 (Rock Island, IL, May 21-25, 2018)
- Media Training on Agricultural Biotechnology (Kampala, Uganda, March 9-10, 2018)
- Nigeria Course on Strategic Communications and Legal Dimensions of Biotechnology Access (Abuja, Nigeria, February 27-March 2)
- Advanced Course for Global Leadership Fellows (Ithaca, NY, October 10-28, 2017)
- Advocacy & Communications Course for Global Farmers 2017 (Rock Island, IL, September 18-23, 2017)
- Hawaii Advocacy & Communications Course (Honolulu, HI, December 2016)
- Africa Advocacy & Communications Course (Mwanza, Tanzania, April 2016)
- Latin America Advocacy & Communications Course (El Batan, Mexico, February 2016)
- Asia Advocacy & Communications Course (Hua Hin, Thailand, January 2016)
- Nairobi Advocacy & Communications Course (Nairobi, April 2015)
- MukhoMukhi’ (Face to Face), Channel 24, Top TV news Channel in Bangladesh
- Agribiotech Feature series, Television Continental Network, Nigeria
- Spark Dialogue Podcast
- Between the Lines Radio Newsmagazine WPKN Radio, CT and NY
- i24 News- an international news channel with regional headquarters in NYC and a DC bureau.
- Undark podcast
- Food Talk with host Kim Bailey
- Florida News Talk Radio am 820/Tampa Bay, St. Petersburg, FL
- Women’s Watch, WBZ RADIO News Radio 1030/ CBS Radio Boston/Boston, MA
- Conversations with Jeff Schechtman, NAPA BROADCASTING.COM Napa Valley, San Francisco, CA
- STRATEGIES FOR LIVING, KEEL AM 710/Shreveport, LA
- Jordan Rich Show, WBZ RADIO/Boston, MA & also WCCO RADIO/Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN, SYNDICATED
- The Jim Engster Show, WPRB FM RADIO talk 107.23/Baton Rouge & Regional Louisiana
- You the Owner’s Manual Radio Show, Health Radio Network, Radio MD & iHeart Radio Networks, With host: Dr. Michael Roizen MD
- Health Check, WSRQ 106.9 FM & 1220 AM/Sarasota, Tampa-St. Petersburg, West Palm Beach, FL Heidi Godman, Host
- Straight Talk with host Nick Lawrence, WEEU RADIO/ Reading & parts of Philadelphia, PA
- The Clemens Report with host John Clemens, USA RADIO NETWORK and additional taping for audio news release (ANR)
- The Best of Our Knowledge (NPR), WUWF RADIO/Pensacola, FL (NPR)
- Frankie Boyer Lifestyle Show, Syndicated on the Lifestyle Radio Network
- Embracing Science Advocacy, Motivational speaker at Sher-e-Bangla University, Dhaka, Bangladesh, January 28, 2020
- Message Development, Delivery, and Monitoring. Workshop on Communicating Science, Evidence & Policy of
- Agribiotechnology For Food Security, Dhaka, Bangladesh, January 27, 2020
- Embracing Effective Science Advocacy, Keynote Talk, Plant Animal Genome Meeting (PAG XXVIII), San Diego, CA, January 13, 2020
- Opportunities for making impactful difference – Partners, Public & Private sector, Media. OFAB Annual Meeting, Mombasa, Kenya, November 19, 2019
- Science & The Social License, UC Davis, Davis, CA November 4, 2019
- The Future of Food. For Whom? SynBioBeta Mainstage, San Francisco, CA, October 3, 2019
- Genetic Engineering and GMOs in the Consumer Goods Space. SynBioBeta mainstage, San Francisco, CA, October 2, 2019
- The Alliance for Science, Cornell Club, New York City, July 31, 2019
- The Alliance for Science, Good Works Program of the Northeast Ag & Feed Alliance, Verona, NY, June 27, 2019
- Bt Brinjal: Success in Bangladesh, Institute for Food and Agricultural Literacy conference, UC Davis, Davis CA, May 21, 2019
- Advancing Advocacy: The example of the Cornell Alliance for Science, Graduate Women in Science Symposium, Ithaca, NY, May 4, 2019
- International Public Engagement: Examples from the Alliance for Science, Skills for Public Engagement, Ithaca, NY, April 12, 2019
- The Disease of Technology Resistance, Plant Pathology 4010, Ithaca, NY April 25, 2019
- Societal Issues & GM Crops, Plant Biology 3430, Ithaca, NY April 11, 2019
- Strategies to Scale and Sustain Agbiotech Communications in Diverse and Localized Contexts, ISBR15 Conference, Tarragona, Spain, April 2, 2019
- GMOs Inspiring a Climate for Change, Ithaca City Club, Ithaca New York, January 29, 2019
- Access to GMOs: A moral imperative? Le Moyne College, Syracuse, NY, Feb 18, 2019
- Introduction to the Alliance for Science, Bioinnovation Workshop, World Economic Forum, New York City, October 23, 2018
- Access to GMOs: A moral imperative? Conference: New Approaches to reduce the number of those going hungry, CAPP-USA, Fordham University joint conference, New York City, NY, September 28, 2018
- Introduction to the Alliance for Science, Union of Concerned Scientists, Washington, DC, September 17, 2018
- Beyond the Bench: Building alliances, embracing advocacy. Global Institute for Food Security Conference, Saskatoon, Canada, June 20, 2018
- The Science & Politics of GMOs, via Skype a Scientist, Bartlett High School, Bartlett, TN, April 3rd, 2018
- The Science and Politics of GMOs, United Fresh Produce Association affiliates, Ithaca, NY, March 29, 2018
- Precision Breeding Advocacy & Communications Workshop, University of California Davis, Davis, CA, January 10, 2018
- The Alliance for Science: Inspiring a Climate for Change, presentation at Blue Mountain Capitol, New York, NY, December 5, 2017
- A Different Perspective on Science Communications, International Food and Information Council Annual Board of Trustees meeting, Washington, DC, November 29, 2017
- Hunger & Hypocrisy: A Climate for (GMO) Change, Genetic Engineering & Society Program, Public Lecture at North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, November 13, 2017
- Empowering Champions, Embracing Advocacy: The Cornell Alliance for Science, Genetic Engineering & Society Colloquium, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, November 14, 2017
- Food for 9 Billion, Breakthrough Dialogue East, Warrenton, VA, November 17, 2017
- Justice. Evidence. Urgency. Inspiring a Climate for Change (on GMOS). Departmental Seminar, Plant Breeding and Genetics, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, October 31, 2017
- Alliance for Science Advanced Course in Communications and Advocacy, Ithaca, NY, October 10-28, 2017
- Justice. Evidence. Urgency. Inspiring a Climate for Change (on GMOS). High Level Conference on Science Technology & Innovation, Kampala, Uganda, September 28, 2017
- Standing Up for Plant Science, lecture to graduate students in the National Plant Science Research Network, Baltimore, MD, September 19, 2017
- Introduction to the Alliance for Science Communications Course for Farmers, Rock Island, Il, Sept 18-23, 2017
- CRISPR in the Public Eye, moderated panel, CRISPR Con, Berkeley, CA, August 16, 2017
- World Economic Forum, San Francisco, CA, July 20, 2017
- Engaging the Public on GMOs, North American Public Gardens Conference, Hamilton, Ontario, June 20, 2017
- GMOs: Fostering a Climate for Change, public forum, Cazenovia forum, Cazenovia, NY, June 16, 2017
- The Alliance for Science: Inspiring a Climate for (GMO) Change, Cornell alumni event, San Francisco, CA, May 31, 2017
- The Alliance for Science: Inspiring a Climate for (GMO) Change, directors retreat, The Science Entertainment
- Exchange—a program of the National Academy of Science Engineering and Medicine, Tucson, AZ, May 20, 2017
- GMOS: Social Issues and Future Prospects, Plant Cell & Molecular Biotechnology class, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, May 9, 2017
- The Science of GMOs and Use in Art, lecture at the San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, CA, May 1, 2017
- The Alliance for Science: Inspiring a Climate for (GMO) Change, public talk hosted by Science Says and the Institute for Food and Agricultural Literacy, University of California, Davis, Davis, CA, April 27, 2017
- Public Engagement at the Cornell Alliance for Science, Skills for Public Engagement, an undergraduate course at Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, April 14, 2017
- Beyond the Bench: Building alliances, embracing advocacy, graduate student speaker at the University of Minnesota, Saint Paul, MN, April 4, 2017
- The Cornell Alliance for Science: Fostering a Climate for Change, learning lunch at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Seattle, WA, March 22, 2017
- The Science and Politics of GMOs, United Fresh Produce Association affiliates, Ithaca, NY, March 6, 2017
- The Alliance for Science: Inspiring a Climate for (GMO) Change, lecture to the President’s Council of Cornell Women, Ithaca, NY, March 3, 2017
- Bt Brinjal for Bangladesh, Grand Challenges, London, UK, October 2016
- Daring to Be the First to Adopt New Technologies, Table for Twenty, Des Moines, IA October 12, 2016
- Crops of the Americas in Crisis. Taste and Learn about GMOS, Judy’s Day, Ithaca, NY, September 25, 2016
- Global Leadership Fellows Training Program, Ithaca, NY, August-November 2016
- A Climate for Change: Exploring new conversations on GMOs, Breakthrough Dialogue Bootcamp, Oakland, CA, June, 20, 2016
- Global Aspects of Plant Biotechnology, mini-symposium honoring Prof. emeritus Peter Davies, Ithaca, NY, June 17, 2016
- The Cornell Alliance for Science, Skills for Public Engagement, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, March 4, 2016
- Beyond the Bench: Building alliances, embracing advocacy, student-invited speaker, Washington State University, Pullman, WA, February 8, 2016
- Building Partnerships, Empowering Champions: The Cornell Alliance for Science, The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome, Italy, February 7, 2016
- Introduction to the Alliance for Science Communications Course for Asia, Hua Hin, Thailand, January 18-22, 2016
- The Cornell Alliance for Science: Promoting Choice & Access to Ag Innovations, Rothamsted Research, United Kingdom, December 10, 2015
- 25 Stories, the United Nations, New York, NY, November 18, 2015
- The Cornell Alliance for Science: Empowering Access to Innovation, Environmental Ethics class, Tompkins Cortland Community College, Dryden, NY, November 5, 2015
- The Cornell Alliance for Science: Promoting Choice & Access to Ag Innovations, New York Farm Bureau Foundation
- Food & Farm Experience, Syracuse, NY October 16, 2015
- The Alliance for Science Global Leadership Fellows Program. Ithaca, NY, August-November, 2015
- The Cornell Alliance for Science: A global ag communications initiative, New York Farm Bureau Global Commodity Summit, Syracuse, NY, July 28, 2015
- La Alianza para las Ciencias: Leaning in en las comunicaciones de tecnología en agricultural, MAIZAR meeting, Buenos Aires, Argentina, June 30, 2015
- The Alliance for Science: A global communications initiative, ILSI, Argentina, Buenos Aires, Argentina, June 29, 2015
- Leaning in on Biotech Communications: New Approaches to Promote Access to Innovations, APEC HLPDAB Workshop, Manila, Philippines, June 11, 2015
- The Alliance for Science: A global initiative for science-based communication, Boyce Thomson Institute for Plant Research, Ithaca, NY, May 13, 2015
- The Alliance for Science: A global communications partnership, annual meeting of Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology in Africa, Nairobi, Kenya, April 15, 2015
- The Alliance for Science: A global initiative for science-based communication, ABBC Meeting, Nairobi, Kenya, April 14, 2015
- The Alliance for Science, presentation to the US Grains Council, Washington DC, March 26, 2015
- The Alliance for Science, presentation to the Northeast Ag & Feed Alliance, Albany, NY, February 6, 2015
Mann Library B75
Ithaca, NY 14853
snd2 [at] cornell.edu
Sarah in the news
- Department of Global Development
- School of Integrative Plant Science
- Plant Breeding and Genetics Section
- Department of Global Development
- School of Integrative Plant Science
- Horticulture Section