Interview Series

Ann Makosinski, University of British Columbia

anya

Tell us about your background & how it led you to where you are today.

1. My first toy was a box of transistors, and from there my interest in tinkering grew. I wasn’t given many toys, so I had to make my own. I started participating in my local science fair on Vancouver Island when I was in grade 6, and from then on I did 10 different science fairs in total. My most known invention is the Hollow Flashlight, a flashlight that runs off the heat of the human hand. I also invented the eDrink ,which is a coffee mug that harvests the excess heat of your hot drink and converts it into electricity to give your phone or iPod a boost of energy.

What keeps you passionate about STEM?

2. I love tinkering and taking things apart, and I think my curiosity of how things work, and seeing how I can put different things together to make something better has spurred my interest in STEM. However, I’m also a great lover of old films, and want to into the film/tv industry later on as well.

What does being a STEM All Star mean to you?

3. By being a STEM all star, I can hopefully show everyone of all ages and backgrounds that being interested in science is cool, and inspire them with my work to make their own inventions.

What are your goals for the future?

4. My goals for the future are to own at least five cats, live in California, have my own business and keep inventing, and also have been involved in a tv show or film.

Jennifer Swanson, US Naval Academy

jennifer

Tell us about your background & how it led you to where you are today.

I have always loved science! I started a science club in my garage when I was 7 years old. My love of science followed me throughout high school and college. I ended up receiving a B.S. in Chemistry from the U.S. Naval Academy and a M.S. ED in K-8 Science Education from Walden University. That led me to teach at Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Talented Youth. It also gave me a great background to pursue my other love– writing books for children. Now I am an award-winning author of over 25 books for kids, mostly about science.

What keeps you passionate about STEM? (if you have any passions outside of STEM, please feel free to mention them!)

STEM is so interesting to me. I love learning about a new technology that has been discovered, or even how an old technology was found in the past. The world is constantly changing and STEM is a huge part of everything we do. I am constantly on the hunt to learn new things about STEM and love to share my passion with my readers and students. My favorite saying is to “notice the science all around you.” And it’s true, STEM is everywhere!

What does being a STEM All Star mean to you?

I am proud to be a part of the STEM All Star team. It is a fantastic way to encourage young people to follow their interest in STEM topics. To learn what STEM is all about and share their passion with others.

What are your goals for the future?

Keep learning as much as I can about STEM. Impart the knowledge I have to my students and my readers in order to get them excited about STEM! Perhaps maybe one day they will decide to go into a STEM field and make great discoveries and/or inspire young people as well.

Anika Bagga, Cupertino High School, CA

anika_headshot

Tell us about your background & how it led you to where you are today.

I am a junior at Cupertino High School in Cupertino, California. Ever since I was able to write my first Hello World program, I have been continuously seeking new ways to learn more about computing and the different fields in technology. I have actively participated in several hackathons in the past few years with the goal of developing new skills and networking with like-minded people. Participating in hackathons has not only  given me the ambiguous, crazy entrepreneur experience but has provided the challenge to build cool projects in a non-school environment. I also enjoy teaching other girls about computing through leading workshops for middle schools girls and leading my high school’s women in technology club.

What keeps you passionate about STEM? (if you have any passions outside of STEM, please feel free to mention them!)

STEM is a such a versatile field that new there is always room for more innovation and problems to solve. Whether it’s simply connecting two people on different sides of the world or being able to source food to the hungry, technology can help solve some of our most pressing issues and make a huge difference. 

What does being a STEM All Star mean to you?

Passionate, driven, and curious. 

What are your goals for the future?

The importance of data in our world is exponentially growing and its power can be used to impact and improve the daily lives of everyone. In the future, I hope to pursue a career in which I can use my computing skills to impact people’s lives at a large scale by using data-driven technologies to solve our most pressing issues. In addition to working on data-driven projects,  I hope to change the educational system  so it doesn’t have to constantly fall behind the pace of our technology and job requirements. Education should also provide every student easy access to technology pathway, even if they don’t dream of being an engineer.

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