What Is DNA Ahead™ Creator Dorothy Semenow About?

“My First Three Score & Ten (Abridged)” lists what viewers usually seek in a website About page—in this case, my qualifications as the creator of the products and other offerings on this website. (“Just the facts, ma’am!” to all you Dragnet fans.) Following that, “My Next 16 Years” tells what I’ve been up to since then—namely, the evolution of DNA Ahead™ and me. Last comes “Heading Out & Beyond.”

Dorothy Semenow - The Molecule Sleuth

Dorothy Semenow – The Molecule Sleuth

My First Three Score & Ten (Abridged)

Birth: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania


  • High School Diploma, Mt. Aloysius Academy
  • B.A. Chemistry, Summa cum Laude, Mt. Holyoke College
  • Ph.D. Chemistry with Biology minor, Caltech (1st woman to obtain a degree)
  • Ph.D. Psychology, Claremont Graduate University

Awards & Competitive Fellowships

  • American Chemical Society Undergraduate Student Award
  • Phi Beta Kappa
  • Skinner Pre-doctoral Fellowship, Chemistry
  • National Science Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship, Chemistry
  • National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship, Chemistry
  • Public Health Service Postdoctoral Special Research Fellowship, Psychology
  • National Institutes of Mental Health Research Fellowship, Chemistry-Psychology
  • National Institutes of Mental Health Postdoctoral Fellowship, Clinical Psychology
  • Blue Mountain Center Writers and Artists Colony Fellowships
  • National Science Foundation/Science Magazine Visualization Challenge Honor for the DNA Ahead Game & More™
DNA Ahead™ Game Creator Dorothy Semenow

Dorothy Semenow – The Mind Sleuth

Professional Licenses & Memberships

  • California Psychologist License
  • American Psychological Association
  • Los Angeles Institute of Psychoanalytic Psychology (previous)
  • American Chemical Society (previous)

Professional Teaching

  • Eldorado School (Gifted Children Program)
  • UCLA (Chemistry)
  • Pomona College (Chemistry)
  • Stanford University (Psychology; Visiting Lecturer)
  • Mt. Holyoke College Alumna-in-Residence (Lecturer: All-College, Chemistry, and Psychology; Psychology Consultant to students, faculty, and staff)

Other Professional Activities & Publications

  • Member Sigma Xi Advisory Group (Chair: Anna J. Harrison) and Contributor to Report: “Exploration of the Quality of Undergraduate Education in Science, Math and Engineering”
  • Publications in Chemistry (15) (far ultraviolet spectroscopy, mechanisms of organic chemical reactions, use of isotopes in organic chemistry)
  • Publications in Psychology (9) (creativity in scientists, child development, women’s issues, sex discrimination, group dynamics). Numerous oral presentations
  • Consultant on enhancement of creativity & critical thinking, empowerment of women & minorities, planning strategies, and personnel issues
  • Private Practitioner of Clinical Psychology
  • Group Trainer: UCLA and National Training Laboratories
  • Steering Committee for Bellingham YWCA Girls’ Choices Programs

DNA_silhouette_brain_webMy Next 16 Years

America seeks to beef up the science literacy of its population, again! Inquiry-based science education—characterized by active discovery of answers to questions as opposed to mere memorization of facts—has been slowly making its way into our classrooms. And the library of excellent science books, television shows, and internet material for lay audiences grows apace.

By contrast, relatively scarce are offerings designed to elicit science-inspired creations by non-scientists of all ages and talents—creations which, by their very nature, help to increase science savvy and science fans among the lay public. I set out to help fill that space. As I worked toward that goal I found myself drawing upon all my previous experiences—as scientist, teacher, psychologist, strategic planner, educational materials developer, entrepreneur, and technology fan.

The Project’s inaugural centerpiece would be an edutainment board game with the hottest, coolest, sexiest science theme I could find. DNA, of course! I figured that at least some aspect of DNA would interest most people; not only is DNA our blueprint—past, present, and future—but, beyond that, DNA science and technology increasingly affect nearly every aspect of our lives.

So I spent the next 16 years mastering DNA science and creating a DNA board game that would be much more than a game. I required that it be fun to play, propel strategic thinking, and inspire creative productions by its users—both those who play the Game and those who don’t. Coming up with the game play was the easy part of the job.

Cooking Up DNA Ahead™ in the CauldronClick image or caption to enlarge.

Cooking Up DNA Ahead™ in the Cauldron
Click image or caption to enlarge.

The big challenge was to convey the epic tale of DNA science–including its tools, uses, and effects on our lives—in small appetizing easily-digestible portions. And, above all, the “how” of doing science must show itself throughout. My solution was to map the entire DNA story on the Game Board and supply a tour guide comprised of humorously illustrated Claim Cards for all Board Spaces plus Bonus Claim Cards to accommodate the frontier news overflow. I included Consequence-carrying Whoops-Or-Whoopee (WOW) and Issues-Insights-Innovations (iii) Cards featuring scientists’ work lives, recent newsworthy DNA science advances, and associated issues. Importantly, I featured Show-&-Tell Cards to propel users to their own creative productions based on the Game content.

The result is the DNA Ahead Game & More™ (the Game) and this website designed to advance the Project Mission.

Heading Out & Beyond

Now with Game Materials completed, production underway, and this website updated, I undertake three remaining tasks.

1. Obtain Game Orders and Communicate the Multiple Uses of Game Materials

2. Support Use of Game Materials to Spread DNA Science Savvy and Science-Inspired Creativity

Clues about how to motivate people to participate in the Project can be found everywhere. My sleuthing plunged me through all types of media, arts expressions, interviews, eavesdrops on public cell-phoners, Apps, and everything internet up through social networking and crowdsourcing. Fruitful though my one-person search has been, more minds are needed to devise novel ways of using the Game, its descendants, and this website to advance the Project Mission.about-4

3. Next Project Ahead

We have now created the book, CRISPR Ahead Picture Tour, about CRISPR-Cas 9, the revolutionary DNA editing tool. Click here to meet CRISPR and learn what she has to offer.


I hope DNA Ahead™ will be well-used and spawn many offspring.
Please use it in whatever ways suit you; doing so will help to
spread “scifection” ( = science + infection & affection).
Let’s promote an epidemic!

All Aboard Ahead!
Dorothy Semenow