Letters to a Pre-Scientist is brought to you by a small team of dedicated volunteers.
Co-Founder and Organizer
Anna helped create Letters to a Pre-Scientist while getting her Ph.D. in Chemistry at UC Berkeley. Being from rural North Carolina herself, she understood the importance of a good science education, and she wanted to help inspire students to keep working hard in school. She wants the pre-scientists to realize that science is more than just a list of facts in a textbook; it can be a tool for bringing positive change to people’s lives. She also wants to give scientists the opportunity to reach out and see what a difference they can make in the lives of young people.
Anna currently lives in Massachusetts and is a postdoctoral fellow at the Belfer Center in Harvard Kennedy School, researching energy technology innovation policy.
Co-Founder and Organizer
Macon previously taught 6th grade science in a rural, low-income community in eastern North Carolina. Wanting to expand her student’s global understanding and connection to science disciplines, she created Letters to a Pre-Scientist in 2010 with the help of Anna Goldstein. While teaching, Macon witnessed how lack of health care access and education regarding healthy behaviors negatively impacted her students ability to learn. Passionate about the interconnection between education and health disparities, she left the classroom to pursue her Masters of Public Health at UNC-Chapel Hill. Over the past few years, she has worked with non-profits and NGOs bridging healthcare access among minority populations by managing programs related to smoking cessation, cancer screening, HIV/AIDS education, and children’s health insurance enrollment. Currently, she is spending one year in NYC rotating through health clinics to gain clinical experience within public health. Macon is excited to see LPS adapt and grow in its 7th year running, and is looking forward to leading our team of classroom coordinators.
Lucy got involved with LPS when she taught seventh grade science at Neal Middle School in Durham, North Carolina with Teach For America for two years. She implemented the program at her school in 2012, where her 100 students benefited from the wise and kind words of scientists from around the world. They learned that individuals define success differently and about the hard work it takes to become a scientist. They were exposed to the broad application of science in the real world and experienced the wonderful suspense of waiting for snail mail! In August 2013, she packed up her life and took a cross country road trip with her boyfriend ending in California, where she is currently calling home. Lucy is excited to start her fifth year teaching 6th grade science at Equitas Academy in Los Angeles, CA.
Jaleal is a Ph.D. student at UC Irvine, studying evolutionary and population genetics and their applications in understanding human disease. Before starting graduate school, Jaleal spent time working in Washington, DC for a public health and bio-defense consulting firm. He has been a pen pal in the program since 2012 and had the opportunity to volunteer in Letters to a Pre-Scientist classrooms twice. Jaleal is now very excited to be working directly with the program and for the chance to get other scientists involved!
Louisa is a Ph.D. student at Northwestern University. Her research focuses on reducing automotive emissions by developing more sustainable catalysts. She earned her Bachelor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Minnesota. During her undergraduate education, she gained an interest in empowering young scientists through teaching math to middle school students. She believes strongly in encouraging students to try new things through personal connections, and looks forward to building those connections as a Science Classroom Program Coordinator.
Anna is a recent graduate from the College of William and Mary and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Government. “She currently works as a technical editor and business analyst at iWorks Corporation in northern Virginia. After learning about and applying for programs such as Teach For America, she has been searching for ways to advocate for the power of education and to encourage young students to pursue their dreams. She was recently accepted as a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate for children) volunteer in Maryland and was appointed as a CASA to a child’s case by the court. Her main responsibility is to compile information surrounding the child’s case and act as a consistent figure in the child’s life. Her goal is to produce a comprehensive court report for the judge that provides recommendations for what will be in the best interest of the child. She is uncertain about her long-term career track but hopes to attend law school in the future! LPS caught her attention because it is important for every student to know that someone believes in him or her. She is excited to be joining the LPS team and helping to facilitate the inspiration of young minds throughout the country.
Kelsey is a Ph.D. student at Washington University in St. Louis, studying earth and planetary science. Originally from Indiana, she earned her Bachelor’s degree in Geochemistry at Brown University. Her research focuses on the chemistry of rocks from different planetary bodies. Through her studies, she has worked with Moon rocks collected by the Apollo astronauts and Martian meteorites. Kelsey enjoys educational outreach because she loves explaining the processes that occur on other planets, and what they might mean for us here on Earth! She was a pen pal in the LPS program last year, and is extremely excited to work with both sides of the pen-pal program this year.
Hannah is an ecological researcher and environmental educator. She’s interested in how humans are changing the natural world, and getting people to understand both the wonder of nature and the effects that they can have on it. Hannah earned her Bachelor of Science in Biology from the State University of New York at New Paltz, where she worked with a state-sponsored program focused on getting girls and minorities into STEM fields. She was reluctant to accept her interest with science in middle school for fear of being teased, and now wishes she had a scientist pen pal when she was younger so maybe she could have embraced her love of science sooner. She is excited to be working with LPS to make that a reality for students today!
Sergio is a postdoctoral fellow at Umeå University in northern Sweden. He has a Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology from the University of Maryland, Baltimore. His Bachelor of Science is from Binghamton University in New York. Currently, he is investigating the inhibition of fatty acid synthesis in Chlamydia trachomatis with novel antimicrobial compounds. During his scientific training, Sergio has gained an interest in science education, outreach, and communication by mentoring students and teaching laboratory sections of general biology and bacteriology courses. Sergio is excited to join the LPS team this year to help inspire interest in science in young students.
Sarah is a Research Associate in the mathematical medicine department at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. Her current research involves using math and computers to better understand the genetics of epilepsy. She earned her undergraduate degree from Capital University where she majored in math and minored in biology and computer science. Sarah has used her numerical skills to study topics like the spread of disease, reading DNA, and soil nutrient cycling and has worked in places like Tennessee, California, Montreal, and Hong Kong. She hopes that her work on the LPS team will show younger students the possibilities of where their curiosity can take them.
Erin is a post-doctoral researcher at the University of California, Los Angeles. There, she studies questions of how different cells that have the same DNA use different genes for their different functions. As a graduate student at Cornell University, she enjoyed scientific outreach and helped middle school girls attend science workshops through Expanding Your Horizons. When Erin was a kid, she didn’t realize how much fun scientists have, and she wants to help other kids figure that out as early as possible! She had a great time as a pen pal last year, and now she is looking forward to connecting students with scientists.
Social Media Coordinator
Aliyah is a PhD candidate in the Department of Immunology at the University of Pittsburgh. Her research focuses on how to manipulate the signals controlling the immune system’s response to solid tumors. She is excited to continue this work at the Cordeliers Research Center in Paris, France beginning in 2017. Aliyah did her undergraduate work in molecular biology & biochemistry and French literature at Rutgers University in New Jersey, and worked for a year at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia before relocating to Pittsburgh. Early in her graduate studies, Aliyah realized that her love of writing could be meshed with her love of science. Since then, she has sought opportunities to communicate science to the public, and is excited to continue that work with LPS this year!