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Mind of a Scientist

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Mind of a Scientist

Sonoma County Library, Calif.

Education - Children & Adults | 2020

Innovation Synopsis

Mind of a Scientist (MOAS) is a series of virtual field trips connecting teens with scientists active in their fields, exposing them to STEM disciplines and providing them with opportunities to solve real-world problems and learn first-hand what it’s like to be a part of the STEM workforce. Recorded events are shared on YouTube to extend access.


Preparing teens for the workforce is a countywide concern, and STEM education is crucial to address complex world problems like global warming, disease and an interdependent world economy. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts overall employment to grow by 3.7% from 2019 to 2029, while jobs in STEM fields will to grow by 8%. With the pandemic, this is more challenging. The problem we seek to address is to find meaningful ways for teens to explore STEM topics within the limitations of distance learning.

Key Elements of Innovation

MOAS project goals are for teens to solve real-world problems using math and science, learn about careers in STEM and develop Social-Emotional Learning skills. Other elements include developing relationships between schools, libraries and industry; highlighting social justice in science; providing access; and facilitating meaningful experiences between students and scientists. Participation will help teens gain skills necessary to succeed in STEM fields, and to encourage them to enter the STEM workforce in the future.

Achieved Outcomes

Anticipated outcomes for the series include:

  • Students will increase knowledge and curiosity about STEM disciplines.
  • Students will have a greater understanding of the diversity of “what a scientist looks like.”
  • Teens will feel that their efforts and experiences are relevant and make a difference.
  • Teens will enjoy learning about science.

Outcomes will be measured through a combination of surveying and observation.