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Scientists and Engineers in the United States

Scientists and engineers from around the world are doing amazing things!
Link to lesson ideas for how to use the resources below. 

  • Ignacio Chapela - life science, ecology, mycology, genetics - LS1, ESS3, ETS1, ETS2 (links to indigenous peoples and regions of Mexico)
  • Aprille J. Ericsson - aerospace engineer at NASA - ETS1, PS3, PS4
  • Helen Quinn - theoretical physicist - PS1, PS2, PS3
  • Hannah Spaul - land management/engineering at The Nature Conservancy (Wisconsin) - ETS1, ETS2, ESS1, LS2, LS4
  • Lisette Titre - computer/software engineering, video games - ETS1, ETS2, PS4

Dr. Ignacio Chapela - Ecologist, Mycologist

 Photo of Ignacio Chapela

DCI Life Science  

LS3 Heredity: Inheritance and Variation of Traits
ESS3 Earth and Human Activity
ETS1 Engineering design
ETS2 Links among engineering, technology, science and society

Country: United States

Map of United States

Bio and Projects: 
Ignacio Chapela is a microbial ecologist and mycologist at the University of California, Berkeley. He works on staple crops,  using transgenes into wild maize. He is a critic of the biotechnology industry and an advocate for Indigenous rights. Chapela founded The Mycological Facility in Oaxaca state, a facility dealing with questions of natural resources and indigenous rights, and collaborates with indigenous communities in Mexico, Costa Rica, and Ecuador on issues of rights to genetic resources.

Contact:
Email:  ichapela@berkeley.edu

What inspired me to go into science?
“... ideas of questions, what questions do I address and which questions do I leave aside because that's the way everything happens. You choose to do one thing and not do the other. And, in that process, to what extent do you allow yourself to be influenced, fed by outside forces, is, to me, a really good measure.” From this interview of  Dr. Chapela. 
 

 

Dr. Aprille J. Ericsson - Aeronautical Engineer

 Photo of Aprille Ericsson

DCI Engineering

ETS1 Engineering design
PS4 Motion and stability: Forces and Interactions
PS3 Energy

Country: United States

Map of United States

Bio and Projects:
"The majority of my engineering career has been spent working at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC); where NASA plays a vital role in global understanding of the Sun-Earth connection, Earth, and Space science... My NASA career started as an aerospace engineer in the Robotics group, but soon after, I transferred into the Guidance Navigation & Control discipline... I was the Deputy Instrument Project Manager for the ICESat-2/ATLAS (Ice, Cloud, & Land Elevation Satellite), a $500M LIDAR laser altimeter instrument that will provide measurements over the Greenland and Antarctica ice sheets... In 2014, I assumed a new role in technology development, as the Deputy to the Chief Technologist of the Applied Engineering and Technology Division. In this role, I focused on enabling the development of miniaturized Technology and Small Satellites like CubeSats. In 2017, I assumed the New Business Lead position of the NASA GSFC Instrument Systems and Technology Division. I have [also] been an Adjunct Professor at: University of Maryland, Bowie State University and HU. I am proud to be the first (African American) female to receive a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from HU; the first American to receive a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering, the Aerospace option from HU; and the first African American female to receive a Ph.D. in Engineering at NASA GSFC." (from an autobiographical statement she provided)

Contact:
Phone: (301) 286-9154  Email:  Aprille.J.Ericsson@nasa.gov 

What inspired me to go into science?
“There were so many different things that inspired me! My first inspiration in school was in first grade I got to see astronauts on TV. In seventh grade my grandfather would often help me with my science projects. He was my source of inspiration at home. I had a very good earth science teacher in ninth grade; the projects were hands-on and exciting. Then, I went to a summer program in eleventh grade that took us to a field trip to the air force base. My senior year I had an awesome physics teacher who made science fun; we spent a lot of time doing the physics on the pool table!” 

Children Text Resources

Blog (bio) about Dr. Aprille Ericsson from GeekGirlCon (MS/HS)

Another bio about Dr. Ericsson from the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals (MS/HS)

Books about space:

From Paper Airplanes to Outer Space, by Seymour Simon (upper ES)

Seeing Earth From Space, by Patricia Lauber (grades 3-7)

 

 

Dr. Helen Quinn - Theoretical Physicist

 Photo of Helen Quinn

DCI Physical Science

PS1 Matter and Its Interactions
PS2 Motion and stability: Forces and interactions
PS3 Energy

Country: United States

Map of United States

Bio and Projects:
Helen R. Quinn is professor emerita of physics at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory at Stanford University. She was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2003 and was president of the American Physical Society in 2004. As a theoretical physicist, her research has focused on particle physics such as nuclear forces, antimatter, and dark matter. In addition to her scholarship in physics, she has had long-term involvement in science education and in the continuing education of science teachers. She was an active contributor to the California State Science Standards development process. She recently chaired the Committee on a Conceptual Framework for New K-12 Science Education Standards for the National Research Council. (Bio from the Stanford NGSS Assessment Project)

Contact:
Email:  quinn@slac.stanford.edu 

What inspired me to go into science?
“I was fortunate to have both parents and teachers who encouraged me to be curious about the world. I never thought I would have a lifelong career as a scientist but at each step of the way some one or more people encouraged me to take the next step and I kept going forward following my interests. Perhaps the most unique message came from my excellent high school math teacher Miss Cunningham, who one day told me ‘Helen, you could be a mathematician, because you are so lazy! You will never do a problem the long and boring way, you always try to find a clever way.’ I puzzled over whether this was praise or criticism, but the grounding she gave in mathematical reasoning was important as I became a theoretical physicist, which is a very mathematics-based profession.” - Dr. Quinn (provided in an email)

Children Text Resources

The Mystery of the Missing Antimatter, by Helen Quinn and Yossi Nir (advanced HS physics)

What's Smaller than a Pygmy Shrew? by Robert Wells (explore sizes and what small means, grades 1-3)

What Are Atoms? By Lisa Trumbauer and Linda Bullock (Upper elementary, basic info book)

Zoom by Isyan Banvai (K+, Students see a small piece of something, but it's deceiving! Keeps them guessing what it is. No words.)

NASA - background information on atoms - (5th grade +)

What's the Matter in Mr. Whisker's Room? by Michael Elsohn Ross and Paul Meisel (grades 2+)

Videos

K-5 song and video on matter from Untamed Science and a write-up from the NGSS@NSTA portal on how the video connects to the NGSS 

Ted-ED video - Just How Small Is an Atom? by Park and Bergmann (grade 5+)

Crash Course Chemistry video on The Nucleus (of the atom) from PBS Learning Media and Wisconsin Media Lab (may need Wisconsin IP address, MS+)

The Atom - videos and interactive learning from PBS Learning Media (grades 5+)

Teacher Materials

Overview of Dr. Quinn’s scientific and educational work, including an interview transcript, from Quanta

Another short biography of Dr. Quinn from Symmetry magazine

5th Grade Properties of Matter Lesson review from NGSS@NSTA 

Background on antimatter from LiveScience (HS)

 

Hannah Spaul - Land Manager/Engineer

 Photo of Dr. Hannah Spaul

DCI Engineering and Life Science 

ETS1 Engineering design
ETS2 Links among engineering, technology, science and society
ESS3 Earth Systems
LS4 Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity
LS2 Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy and Dynamics

Country:  United States

Map of Mexico

Bio and Projects:

Hannah Spaul is the director of Land Management at the Wisconsin chapter of The Nature Conservancy. She takes care of the natural preserves using a variety of tools. For instance, Hannah Spaul controls and stops the spread of invasive species through fire management and other means.

Contact:
Email: hspaul@tnc.org

What inspired me to go into science?
“I don’t think I made a conscious choice to pursue science until I was entering college, but I do remember I loved science fair projects in school, and was often making up and doing my own experiments at home. As a youth I enjoyed spending time outdoors, whether it was hiking somewhere new, catching frogs in a pond, or making forts in the back yard and adjacent empty wood lots. I was always curious about nature and interested in how the plants and trees interacted with insects, birds, frogs and other wildlife. As I learned more about how critical it was to protect natural places, I realized that I wanted to do something related to protecting nature for a living.”

 

 

Lisette Titre - Software Engineer

 Photo of Dr. Lisette Titre

DCI Physical Science  

ETS1 Engineering design
ETS2 Links among engineering, technology, science and society
PS4 Wave Properties

Country: United States

Map of United States

Bio and Projects:
Lisette Titre is a computer animator. She has worked with computer games, including Tiger Woods Golf for Nintendo’s Wii, The Simpsons, and Dante’s inferno. Titre uses images of real people to 3D digital sculpture. She needs to use her ability as an artist as well as her computer engineering skills. She is also working to develop a STEM-based, computer game development curriculum to connect youth to careers in tech. 

Contact:
Email: zette16@gmail.com

What inspired me to go into science?
“I've been playing games all my life. I've been drawing since I can remember. I think it started when I saw 'Toy Story.' It sort of clicked for me that I could be an artist and also use my left and my right brain and do very technical work, in addition to creating beautiful art. So it was really 'Toy Story' that sort of drove me to go to school for computer animation.”

 

Children Text Resources

I, Robot, by Isaac Asimov (MS/HS), classic on robots and artificial intelligence

Scratch 2.0 Programming, by Denis Golikov (upper ES/MS)

Neuromancer, by William Gibson (MS/HS), scifi book, winner of Hugo/Nebula that basically coined term "cyberspace"

Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World, by Jane McGonigal (HS+)

 

Videos

Interview with Lisette Titre, answering Q's from the STEM community

Brief video from DK, What is Computer Coding (upper ES) 

Can video games make you smarter? Review of largely "pro" studies (MS/HS)

Story from the Today show on Women in Coding

 

Teacher Materials

Code.org and Hour of Code - the most well known effort to get kids involved in computer programming (K+)

Girls Who Code - inspiring MS and HS girls to get into coding (can start a club!)

Scratch - common, free and easy to use programming tool from MIT

Khan Academy computer programming tutorials (MS+)

Common myths about computer programming

 

For questions about this information, contact Kevin Anderson (608) 266-3319