Written Category Winner
Melanie Golob first started to like science in high school; She had a few great science teachers who were passionate about the subject. She had a hard time picking a major in college because she didn’t want to focus on just one area of science. She chose biochemistry, because it combined multiple fields of science into one. After graduating, She worked with an organization called Mad Science, traveling to classrooms and fairs to show young kids that laboratory science can be fun. She started teaching while doing research in graduate school at UCLA, and fell in love with the idea of helping communicate science and research. After grad school, She taught summer school chemistry to a group of students who had previously failed. The most interesting thing she learned from that class was that many of the students just needed the concepts explained in a different way in order to understand them. Her current work is with a company called Doctor Evidence, encouraging clinical-practice guideline developers to use the most current medical evidence in writing guidelines. She also communicates science every day to her almost-4 year old, who asks questions such as “Why does the sun go down?” and “Why do plants need light to grow?”
Visual Category Winner
Dianna Cowern received her BS in physics from MIT. While there, she worked on a dark matter detection experiment and on the electric vehicle team. She received a fellowship to study low-metallicity stars–the oldest stars in the universe–at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. During that time, she started her own educational channel on YouTube called Physics Girl. Her passion for outreach came from growing up on the small island of Kauai where there were limited opportunities to explore science beyond the classroom. She now works in the UCSD physics department as an outreach coordinator where she aims to reach today’s youth and spark curiosity through online science media!