Emma Steinebronn, a graduate student in physics, recently shared with us her experience creating PAW Pals, a program that organizes monthly undergraduate and graduate student visits to Park Forest Elementary School. The organization teaches all disciplines of science, coordinating with the Park Forest Elementary School curriculum to provide parallel educational opportunities.
Q: What is your research area?
ES: Condensed Matter Physics – Novel Electronic States in Thin Films
Q: Why did you start PAW Pals?
ES: While I love learning why things work, I’ve always found this learning to be of little fulfillment to me unless I am able to share it with others. In research, we typically share findings in the form of academic papers accessible to academics, but I really wanted to make science accessible to everyone. The easiest way to do so is to ensure the next generation of scientists has the tools they need to be encouraged and empowered from a young age—no matter who they are or where they’re from.
Q: What is your favorite part of PAW Pals?
ES: I grew up in a family of engineers who encouraged me to pursue a STEM career, so while I knew representation was important, it did not fully hit me how truly necessary it is until a little black girl went up to the teacher we partner with last year and say “I didn’t know people like me could do stuff like this” after working with one of our black volunteers.
Q: How can people join PAW Pals if they are interested?
ES: We will be having an info session on September 6th at 7 PM in Osmond 109.
Image credit: Centre Daily Times. All Rights Reserved.