Science Fusion to promote youth and diversity in science
St. Paul, Minn. (Jan. 10, 2017) — On four Saturday afternoons in January and February, science, culture and opportunity will meet during the Science Museum of Minnesota’s popular Science Fusion event series.
This long-running event series focuses on the accomplishments of members of the Twin Cities’ Asian American, African American, American Indian and Latino and Hispanic communities in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
During each Science Fusion event, science and education professionals from leading Twin Cities companies will present displays that demonstrate their passion for their work and highlight the contributions they’ve made to science and innovation. Visitors of all ages will get a memorable, hands-on look at the scientists’ areas of expertise in a science fair-style setting that is the perfect atmosphere for in-depth, one-on-one interaction between visitors and presenters. And at each event, the Science Museum and Donaldson Company will recognize a high-achieving Minnesota high school student with the 2017 Donaldson Science Award (award winners listed below).
The first event in the series, African Americans in Science, reaches an important milestone in 2017: its 25th anniversary. First celebrated in 1992, African Americans in Science was the pioneer Science Fusion event and has become a beloved Science Museum tradition. The museum will mark the anniversary with visits by local scientists and educators, hands-on activities, live music, and an appearance and book signing by Duchess Harris, co-author of the new book Hidden Human Computers: The Black Women of NASA.
The Science Fusion event series is presented by Donaldson Company.
Four events to celebrate diversity in science
The 2017 Science Fusion events are:
25th annual African Americans in Science: Saturday, January 14
Visitors will meet science and educational professionals from Donaldson Company, USDA Forest Service, Boston Scientific, General Mills, 3M, the University of Minnesota Medical School, the National Society of Black Engineers, Imhotep Science Academy, the Science Museum’s Kitty Andersen Youth Science Center, and other organizations, learn about what they do through interactive displays and presentations, and discover the inspiring contributions they’ve made to technology, education, health care, and innovation.
In addition, the event will feature Macalester College professor and Chair of American Studies Duchess Harris JD, Ph.D., who is co-author of the new book Hidden Human Computers: The Black Women of NASA. The book tells the story of a group of black women who, in the 1940s, provided crucial engineering skills and critical thinking to NASA’s space flight program. Harris is the granddaughter of Miriam D. Mann, one of the program’s members. The untold story is also at the center of the Hidden Figures movie, which opened nationwide on Friday, January 6. Duchess Harris will do a meet-and-greet and book signing in the Science Museum’s lobby from 1:30 to 3 p.m. on Saturday, January 14. This appearance is free and open to the public. Harris will also address Science Fusion attendees at the conclusion of the event at 4 p.m. Attendance at this address requires a Science Museum exhibit gallery admission wristband.
Amantes de la Ciencia!: Saturday January 21
Amantes de la Ciencia (Lovers of Science) introduces visitors to science and education professionals from the Twin Cities’ Latino and Hispanic communities. Companies and organizations represented this year include Donaldson Company, Ecolab, General Mills, the University of Minnesota’s Material Advantage and Neuroscience programs, the Science Museum’s Kitty Andersen Youth Science Center, and others, along with live entertainment from Salsa del Soul and Grupo De Danzas Colombianas en Minnesota.
American Indians in Science: Saturday, January 28
Visitors will meet individuals from Minnesota’s American Indian communities who have made significant contributions to science, engineering, and education. Professionals from the Donaldson Company, General Mills, the USDA Forest Service, Ecolab, the Mayo Clinic Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science, the Science Museum’s Kitty Andersen Youth Science Center, and more will meet visitors and engage them in hands-on science programming.
Asian Americans in Science: Saturday, February 4
Rounding out this year’s Science Fusion series is Asian Americans in Science, an event that invites visitors to meet science and education professionals who represent many geographic backgrounds, from Southeast Asia to the mainland and the Pacific Islands. The presenters, including representatives from Donaldson Company, Ecolab, General Mills, Northwestern Health Sciences University, YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities, the University of Minnesota’s Material Advantage program, St. Catherine University, the Science Museum’s Kitty Andersen Youth Science Center, and more will share stories about their experiences and successes in the science, technology, engineering and math disciplines, and get visitors involved with hands-on activities that relate to their areas of expertise.
All events are from 1 to 4 p.m. All Science Fusion activities are free with the purchase of general exhibit admission. During each Science Fusion event, up to four kids enter FREE with the purchase of one adult ticket. Special rates are available for individuals with limited incomes; visit www.smm.org/tickets for more information.
Donaldson Award recognizes exceptional student achievement
In conjunction with the 2017 Science Fusion event series, four students from around Minnesota will be formally recognized and awarded the Donaldson Science Award. The award recognizes Minnesota high-school students who have demonstrated exceptional achievement in or passion for a STEM discipline, either in the classroom or outside of school. Students are nominated for the award by teachers or mentors, and they are publicly recognized at one of the Science Museum’s four Science Fusion events
All winners receive $500 and a one-year membership to the Science Museum of Minnesota and will attend the Science Fusion event for which they were nominated. Award ceremonies will take place at 12:30 p.m. on the Atrium Stage on level 3.
2017 Donaldson Science Award Winners:
Recognized on Saturday, January 14 at the 25th annual African Americans in Science
Jones, a senior at Brooklyn Center Senior High School, was nominated for the Donaldson Science Award by her advisor, Joe Kane, from the Minnesota Office of Higher Education Gear Up program. Mr. Kane describes Jones as an individual who is independently driven toward goals above and beyond just the high school curriculum. For the last three summers, she has participated in a month-long science research program with college professors at St. Cloud State University. Under the direction of Dr. Robert Johnson, she has contributed to biomedical research, high-level game design, and computer coding, and she has worked with the National Security Agency to learn more about careers in preventing cybercrimes. After graduation, Jones hopes to attend St. Cloud State University to study biochemistry or chemistry.
Recognized on Saturday, January 21 at Amantes de la Ciencia!
Enriquez, a senior at Great River School in Saint Paul, was nominated for the Donaldson Science Award by his teacher and guidance counselor, Teresa Hichens Olson. As a Teen Tech Librarian at Hosmer Library, he leads science and math workshops with younger learners. He has also worked at Urban Arts Academy – a local non-profit with a focus on social justice and education – and as a Step Up Intern for the city of Minneapolis. Enriquez has built his own computers and taught himself how to code in four different languages. Through his work and studies, Enriquez has established a reputation as a person who takes challenges and turns them into opportunities. He cares about others’ learning and works for social justice in his community. He will graduate from Great River School at the top of his class, and he plans to attend college to study computer science or engineering.
Recognized on Saturday, January 28 at American Indians in Science
Henagin, a freshman at Cloquet Senior High School, was nominated by his Science Research teacher, Dr. Cynthia Welsh. Ojibwe culture is a vital part of Henagin’s life. He stays connected to his roots through Pow Wows, ricing, and language learning. He has also been able to bridge his love for both culture and science by attending science camps that focus on Ojibwe language, global climate change, conservation, and the past, present, and future of wild rice. Henagin has demonstrated a keen interest in animal behavior, physiology, and genetics. Henagin’s aptitude for science research became apparent in eighth grade, when he and a partner studied the respiration rate of Japanese Medaka fish. Together, they completed a poster presentation, a research paper, and a presentation to fifteen Ph.D. scientists, who reviewed and critiqued his work. This project earned Henagin and his partner a place at the state science fair.
Recognized on Saturday, February 4 at Asian Americans in Science
Haidari, a sophomore at Liberty Classical Academy in White Bear Lake, was nominated for the Donaldson Science Award by her teacher, Dr. Naomi Dillner. In her first year in the United States, Haidari entered a science fair competition with a project about the usefulness of the ingredients in toothpaste. Her project not only demonstrated Zahra’s aptitude for scientific research, but also highlighted her strong interest in biology and chemistry, and how each field relates to health care. Haidari knows that education – STEM education, in particular – is not available to many girls in her home country of Afghanistan, and she aspires to become a physician someday so that she can teach Afghan women about health. Much of her interest in science is driven by her passion to give back to her community.
The Science Museum of Minnesota has a 110-year history of bringing science learning to life through hands-on exhibits, giant screen films, and unparalleled educational opportunities that reach people in Minnesota and around the nation each year. For museum information, call (651) 221-9444 or visit www.smm.org.