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Lesson Ideas

Meet-a-Scientist: Written Interviews with Scientists

A collection of six interviews with women in science. It highlights the path they walked to find their current professional passion, starting from school! They all share a love of discovery, though working in different fields: neuroscience, biochemistry, genetics, microbiology, and ecophysiology. Students will be able to see how the work they’re doing now in class – or their pastimes at home – might lead them to their own passion for science.

1. Anne Draelos, Neuroscientist

An early passion for Rube Goldberg machines led Anne Draelos on a journey from computer science and physics to her current field: neuroscience. Read about how she uses those machine-learning techniques developed as a kid to study brain neurons today.

“I have never run out of interesting things to learn […]. Teaching yourself the process of finding answers is more important than finding the answers.”

2. Sarah Galvani-Townsend, Student Researcher

Inspiration from a homemade volcano, as well as her parents, led Sarah Galvani-Townsend to become SJK’s youngest science writer in 2018 – at just 11 years old! Read about what she’s been writing and researching since then.

“It’s because of science that we understand everything. But even more importantly, science is fun. Anything can be fun. As long as you approach it with the right mindset.”

3. Kaitlyn Varela, Biochemist

Kaitlyn Varela thought she wanted to become a doctor, but acquired a passion for both biology and chemistry through her study of natural products. Read about how she plans to use her research to cure diseases no one has been able to solve yet!

“My favorite thing about conducting research […] is discovering something new that no one knows about.”

4. Kendra Sirak, Geneticist

As a student-athlete Kendra Sirak followed her passion for field hockey to the field of anthropology, and eventually to genetics. Read about how she uses DNA preserved in ancient bones to unlock the secrets of human histories around the world.

“I didn’t really want to [study genetics] at first, it was really unfamiliar to me.” But, she found, “we share a deep common human history that’s in every one of us.”

5. Tiffany Luong, Microbiologist

Tiffany Luong’s high-school passion for debate led her to the new field of phage therapy. Read about how she combines hands-on lab work with clinical reviews to make the case for phages as an alternative to antibiotics.

“Being a scientist means being able to think of exciting questions and trying to find ways to answer them. […] I am really finding myself challenging all my beliefs.”

6. Shannon Currie, Ecophysiologist

As a child, Shannon Currie caught fireflies and toads in her backyard. Read about how her early passion for animal welfare and the environment led to a career studying bats’ bodies and how to help them survive in a changing world.

“To me, being a scientist means being constantly curious. I have always been interested in how things work, I love taking apart things and putting them back together and I’m always wondering how and why things are the way they are.”

That’s Not All!

Use the links below to check out the full collection of video and audio interviews with more amazing scientists whose work is available in adapted versions here at Science Journal for Kids.

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