Elizabeth Schar to be Named Recipient of CLSA’s Biotechnology Educator Award for Outstanding Contributions to Ravenswood City School District

For Immediate Release:
Nov. 4, 2016

Community Leader Honored for Dedication to Life Sciences Education of Bay Area’s Youth at California Life Sciences Associations 2016 Pantheon DiNA Awards, Dec. 2.

SAN FRANCISCO – (Nov. 3, 2016) – California Life Sciences Association (CLSA), the state’s largest and most influential life sciences advocacy and business leadership organization representing California’s leading life sciences innovators, has announced the winner of the 2016 Biotechnology Educator Award, Elizabeth Schar of the Ravenswood Science Initiative. Part of CLSA’s 2016 Pantheon DiNA Awards program, the Biotechnology Educator Award is an esteemed honor awarded to California’s most dedicated and selfless biotechnology educators.

Elizabeth Schar will be honored for her contributions to Ravenswood City School District, an under-resourced school district in East Palo Alto. Operating under the motto: “If you want peace, work for justice,” Schar ended her 30-year career as a marketer for large-scale brands, including Oscar Mayer, Walt Disney World and the World Health Organization, to help address the inequities in sciences education within the school district. Through the Menlo Church and the Ravenswood Education Foundation, Schar recruited volunteers and gathered the resources needed to help brings hands-on science experiments into the Ravenswood classrooms for the first time. Schar will be honored for her contributions at the 2016 Pantheon Awards ceremony on December 2 at the Westin St. Francis in San Francisco.

“Elizabeth’s unwavering dedication to enhancing student’s access to adequate science labs and education embodies the collaborative and solution-driven spirit of California’s life sciences community,” said Sara Radcliffe, President and CEO of California Life Sciences Association (CLSA). “Many students are entering high school without the necessary science background. We need programs such as the Ravenswood Science Initiative to ensure that students are getting the right educational foundation to succeed. We look forward to honoring Schar and all other award recipients at CLSA’s 2016 Pantheon DiNA Awards ceremony on Dec. 2.”
The Ravenswood Science Initiative was founded in 2008, stemming from a need to better prepare middle school students for success in their high school sciences classes. Within the Ravenswood City School District, two out of three students failed to earn their high school diplomas. Freshmen within the district had inadequate levels of knowledge and skillsets due in part to the deficit of hands-on experience in middle school, causing them to become uninterested and in turn, skip their science classes. Through lab support to middle school teachers within the district, the Ravenswood Science Initiative, with support from the Ravenswood Education Foundation, aims to better prepare middle school students for success in their high school science classes.

“As the world’s leading life sciences economy, California’s life sciences community must step-up and invest in the leaders of tomorrow to ensure that innovation continues and thrives,” said Paul Hastings, Chairman and CEO, OncoMed Pharmaceuticals and a CLSA Board Member. “The Ravenswood Science Initiative and Ravenswood Education Foundation are prime examples of how industry, academia and communities can come together with a singular vision and mission to create access to science education and careers for students of all backgrounds in order to nurture and develop the next generation of life sciences leaders. We applaud and thank Elizabeth Schar for her contributions, and hope to see similar programs and collaborations emerge throughout the region and state.”

Over eight years ago, Paul Hastings was introduced to the Ravenswood Initiative through a program of the California Life Sciences Institute (then BayBio Institute) when the Institute was looking for industry partners to help build a science program in one of the Ravenswood middle schools. Since then, OncoMed volunteers have been actively working with Elizabeth, Ronald McNair Middle School, as well as other schools within the district to provide laboratory modules, equipment, science curriculum development, role models and assistance to teachers to develop students’ competency and passion for science.

For information about Ravenswood Science Initiative, please visit If you are interested in donating to the Ravenswood Science Initiative or starting a similar program, please contact Lori Lindburg at or visit

To attend the 2016 Pantheon Awards, registration and ticket purchase information is available at To learn more about CLSA and its offerings, please visit:

About California Life Sciences Association (CLSA)
California Life Sciences Association (CLSA) is the state’s largest and most influential life sciences advocacy and business leadership organization. With offices in Sacramento, San Diego, South San Francisco, Los Angeles and Washington DC, CLSA works closely with industry, government, academia and others to shape public policy, improve access to innovative technologies and grow California’s life sciences economy. CLSA serves biotechnology, pharmaceutical, medical device and diagnostics companies, research universities and institutes, investors and service providers throughout the Golden State. CLSA was founded in 2015 when the Bay Area Bioscience Association (BayBio) and the California Healthcare Institute (CHI) merged. Visit CLSA at, and follow us on Twitter @CALifeSciences, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube.

Will Zasadny
Associate Director, Communications