Sebastopol
December 2, 2020
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Library’s virtual science program introduces students to engineers and scientists

October 16, 2020

UC approved elective takes high school students on virtual field trips

Sonoma County high school students (grades seven through 12) are invited to spend a day in the life of an engineer or scientist with Sonoma County Library’s new virtual science program, Mind of a Scientist, hosted weekly on Zoom by the Sebastopol Regional Library. 

Mind of a Scientist was founded by Sebastopol Regional Library Librarian Rosalie Abbott and Orchard View School Science Teacher Milo Mitchel to help address the serious need for STEM education, particularly in Sonoma County.

"[Abbott] and I have hosted four Mind of a Scientist episodes so far and they have gone really well. The fact that students can ask questions live makes the presentations interactive and engaging. The feedback from presenters and attendees has been overwhelmingly positive,” said Mitchel. "I'm excited about our upcoming presenters from Keysight Technologies, Medtronic and UC Davis.”

Each week, scientists and engineers present live from their labs or the field. These professionals share their adventures, answer student questions and form breakout groups to solve real-life problems. The presentations are uploaded to YouTube each Wednesday, a week after the program takes place. 

Abbott said that as a librarian, she enjoys collaborating and getting creative, and thus Mind of a Scientist has been a fun program to work on. “I am also extremely grateful for our incredibly dedicated teen volunteers, Daniel Judd and Fiona Irving-Beck, who work as teacher's assistants in the virtual classes and help students with the problem sets at the end of each session,” Abbott said.

For the last couple of years, Abbott has been a guest speaker in Mitchel’s high school science classes. With classes going virtual, Mitchel and Abbott met online and Mind of a Scientist was born. The program is a UC approved elective called Intro to Science Professions, and it will be a class at Orchard View School in Sebastopol for the foreseeable future. Sonoma County Library is partnering with Shasta Public Libraries in an attempt to expand the reach of the program. Presently, students in Shasta are able to send in questions ahead of time and then watch the recorded sessions.

 To register for a Mind of a Scientist event, visit the library’s online Events Calendar. Past Mind of a Scientist presentations and short highlight videos can be found on the Sonoma County Library’s “Mind of a Scientist” YouTube playlist. 

 Are you a scientist or engineers looking to share about your professional experiences with high school students? Fill out the Potential Presenter Application online. Those interested can also contact Rosalie Abbott at rabbott@sonomalibrary.org or get in touch with Orchard View School. Find the program on Twitter @ScientistMind and learn more about Mind of a Scientist at milomitchel.com.