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MSHS Students ‘Skype A Scientist’ to Learn about STEM Careers


There is no one right path towards a STEM career. Each person should choose the path that works best for them.  …That was a key message shared with approximately 500 Mount Si High School students recently during an engaging science lesson. They learned first-hand from a chemical engineer guest speaker about the potential for hydrogen fuel as a sustainable energy source, as well as opportunities for careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields.  


Enjoy this recap from MSHS Chemistry Teacher Courtney Fuller, who set up this zoom opportunity for all chemistry classes and other science students:

“Our Chemistry team (Sierra Rothlisberg, Estelle Nicolas, Elise Cooksley, Andrew Rapin, David Ramseyer, and myself) have been working on incorporating more inclusivity into our curriculum.  Part of this goal has been to explore the concept of “what does a scientist look like?”  Our hope is to engage our students in meaningful activities allowing for them to see that scientists of all backgrounds make important contributions to our collective scientific progress.  In other words, we want our students to see science through more than one lens and provide them with diverse role models.


As part of this initiative, on Tuesday 11/10 all of our chemistry courses at the high school participated in a program called “Skype a Scientist” ( whose mission is to connect scientists with classrooms to give students the opportunity to discuss science.  Julie Fornaciari, a chemical engineering PhD candidate from UC Berkeley, spent the day with our classes.  She presented her research on hydrogen fuel technology and also talked about her pathway towards chemical engineering as a first generation college student in her family. 


Students appreciated the opportunity to connect with a “real” scientist to see how the concepts they are learning in class are utilized in the real world – particularly in solving environmental challenges.  Students also benefitted from hearing about different STEM education and career pathways, along with opportunities for funding their education. One of the big takeaways from Julie’s presentation… There is no one right path towards a STEM career.  Each person should choose the path that works best for them.”


Student Jordyn Padzensky shared this feedback with the presenter: “Julie, thank you for taking the time to teach us about your research and career! It was really cool and helpful to hear about how you started in your field. I've never actually heard about most of the science and research that you talked about, and as someone who is looking into pursuing science/chemistry in college and beyond, it opened my eyes to a path that I never would've known was an option!”  Find more student responses in a padlet they created to thank the presenter, here.


To watch a video recording of this 50-minute lesson, click here.


Kudos to our teachers who are working hard, creating innovative lessons, and finding meaningful learning opportunities during this challenging time!