Celebrating our School & Youth Programs

The 2021-2022 year for Science ATL’s School and Youth Programs was full of awe-inspiring and exciting initiatives taken on by dozens of schools in multiple districts across Metro Atlanta. Over 300 students, teachers and STEM professionals worked together to bring impactful STEM outreach to thousands of students, educators, and community members. Their reach spread beyond their own schools, allowing them to provide their communities with unique ways to engage with STEM.

The Georgia Chief Science Officers Program celebrated its fourth year as one of the Metro Atlanta area’s premier STEM leadership programs. 46 CSOs at 22 schools brought a variety of STEM events and activities to more than 2800 students and 900 community members. Students went above and beyond this year, creating partnerships with their districts, universities and corporations to tackle problems at their schools that STEM could address. Check out their action plans below.

CSOs at Paulding County High School hosting a slime making event for more than 100 kindergartners from their feeder elementary schools.

CSOs at Paulding County High School hosting a slime making event for more than 100 kindergartners from their feeder elementary schools.

CSOs at Lovejoy High School created a STEM club to give students more direct access to STEM careers.

CSOs at Lovejoy High School created a STEM club to give students more direct access to STEM careers.

CSOs at Global Impact Academy took their first steps to addressing food deserts in their community by building a school garden and outdoor learning space.

CSOs at Global Impact Academy took their first steps to addressing food deserts in their community by building a school garden and outdoor learning space.

This year also marked the second cohort of the STEM Professional School Partnership Program. 46 educators teamed up with 46 STEM professionals across multiple industries to bring innovative STEM programming to more than 1600+ students in the Metro Atlanta Area. Throughout the year, elementary and middle school students explored STEM careers through hands-on experiments, professional panels and career days, and STEM-themed days and weeks, just to name a few. Check out some of the highlights below.

Student giving presentation on generative art

Forest Park Middle School’s Derwin Binion and NCR’s Bura Iruku explore the intersection between software and art.

Group sitting at table

Marietta Center for Advanced Academic’s Stella Kilpatrick (photographer) and Progress Math’s Tony Dunbar work to modify an art and coding integrated activity for their student George, who has visual and verbal disabilities.

Holding small worms with gloves

McNair Middle School’s Robert Russo and Wundergrub’s Akissi Stokes introduce their students to the world of bugs as sources of protein.

Science ATL is grateful for all of the contributions provided by our students in CSO and our partnerships in SPSP,  and we look forward to the transformative ways they will continue to support the school-to-STEM pipeline.

You can find more information about both the CSO and SPSP programs by checking out their websites:

CSO – ScienceATL.org/CSO

SPSP – ScienceATL.org/SPSP

The Georgia Chief Science Officers Program Congratulates the Graduating CSO Class of 2022

Collage of the Georgia Chief Science Officers Class of 2022

The Georgia Chief Science Officers Program is proud to present the GA CSO Class of 2022. As CSOs, student leaders design and implement STEM projects and events in their schools that raise student awareness about the diverse world of STEM. Since 2018, students around the metro Atlanta area have participated in the program, bringing unique STEM experiences to their peers and community. The illustrious seniors of the Class of 2022 have worked with fierce dedication throughout their time in the program to bring quality STEM action plans to the broader metro Atlanta community. Their hard work has provided opportunities in STEM for hundreds of students within their communities, and they have each left a lasting legacy within the GA CSO Program. Check out our spotlights below!

Aishat Adebisi

South Cobb High School, Cobb County

First CSO Year: 2019

Action Plan Highlights:Launching a podcast to interview STEM professionals from underrepresented groups, creating a student-driven tutorial program to fill in pandemic-induced learning gaps among peers

Best CSO Memory: Actually implementing and seeing the impact of her action plans every year!

Plans for Next Year: Attending the University of Washington in St. Louis.

Amelia Akins

South Paulding High School, Paulding County

First CSO Year: 2020

Action Plan Highlights: Conducting STEMonstrations with more than 150 students from her school’s feeder elementary school over the course of several student-led events.

Best CSO Memory: Sharing ideas with CSOs and supporting them in their action plans.


Ananda Broadnax

Banneker High School, Fulton County

First CSO Year: 2020

Action Plan Highlights: Developing both a COVID-awareness program during the height of the pandemic and creating a CRISPR studies program as an introduction to genetic science for peers.

Best CSO Memory: Finding peers who share her love of STEM, action and implementation.

Plans for Next Year: Attending Stanford University


Armani Oliver

Lovejoy High School, Clayton County

First CSO Year: 2020

Action Plan Highlights: Developing a STEM competition for 10 science classes within Lovejoy High and working with administration and teachers to navigate the transition to virtual STEM opportunities.

Best CSO Memory: Working with fellow CSO Breanna to bring STEM experiences to Lovejoy High.

Breanna Braddock

Lovejoy High School, Clayton County

First CSO Year: 2019

Action Plan Highlights: Creating a STEAM club to provide students opportunities to interact with STEAM beyond the classroom all year.

Best CSO Memory: Working 2 years strong with fellow CSO Armani.


Luke Leathers

Paulding County High School, Paulding County

First CSO Year: 2021

Action Plan Highlights: Conducting experiments with the students from feeder middle and elementary schools using gel electrophoresis to create a cladogram of various Georgia-native bird species.

Best CSO Memory: Judging the enthusiasm of CSOs on the biweekly calls.

Manitcha Kheim

Manitca Kheim

Forest Park High School, Clayton County

First CSO Year: 2019

Action Plan Highlights: Developing an interdisciplinary outdoor learning garden in collaboration with several content departments across grade levels.

Best CSO Memory: Getting support from her advisors even after they’d transitioned to new jobs outside of the school.


Natalia Sanchez-Munguia

Martha Ellen Stilwell School of the Arts, Clayton County

First CSO Year: 2020

Action Plan Highlights: Developing a STEAM club that connected peers driven in the arts to STEM experiences.

Best CSO Memory: Working with other CSOs to come up with ways to work around the challenges of the pandemic.


Samyukta Iyer

Wheeler High School, Cobb County

First CSO Year: 2019

Action Plan Highlights: Developing a coding day for students within the school community, creating student-driven tutorial opportunities for peers, supporting the CSO International Community as a Georgia State Representative

Best CSO Memory: Sharing leadership and responsibilities with the Georgia CSO Cabinet as well as the CSO International community.

Plans for Next Year: Attending Georgia Tech

Congratulations again to the GA CSO Class of 2022. You are bound to change the world as leaders, and we look forward to cheering your continued success!

The Georgia Chief Science Officers program is sponsored by UPS, International Paper, Lockheed Martin, Cox Enterprises, Delta Community, and Norfolk Southern, and is part of the CSO International consortium. For more information, please visit the CSO program page.

Gifts for Science Lovers

Pink ALEX mascot with "Gifts for Science Lovers" on a chemistry background

ALEX has put together her list of gift ideas just in time for the holidays! What better gift than the gift of science? We’ve compiled a list of science books for all ages, sustainable household gifts, and science games. And if you want to shop and support our organization, shop the Science ATL Store!


We love reading and have had many authors visit over the years at the Atlanta Science Festival. ALEX’s list below includes books by our ASF author friends and many more. Stop by one of Atlanta’s local independent bookstores to buy them for your favorite science lover or check them out online.

For even more ideas, see the National Science Teachers Association’s list of Outstanding Science Trade Books.

Under the Stars by Lisa Harvey-Smith

Under the Stars by Lisa Harvey-Smith

For younger science fans:

Code Breaker by Walter Isaacson

Code Breaker by Walter Isaacson

For older science enthusiasts:

MAGAZINES (Print and Online)

Science magazines for all ages

If you want to keep the science going all year round, consider one of ALEX’s favorite magazines!


If you’ve read as much science as you can and want some other gift ideas, ALEX has a few picks for the household that help save the earth and the species that live here.


Games are another great way to learn about science, technology, engineering, and math at home. Check out some of these favorites this holiday season:


Shop Science ATL and Atlanta Science Festival Merch

You can now shop exclusive Science ATL and Atlanta Science Festival merch online! Grab your “Science Y’all” t-shirts, commemorative Atlanta Science Festival merchandise, and gifts to celebrate Atlanta’s science community! Shop the Science ATL Store here.

And always, to keep inspiring curiosity in Atlanta, consider a donation to Science ATL in honor of your favorite science fan. Science ATL Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing people together through the wonder of science.

Celebrating Native American Heritage Month

Collage of three books: Whale Snow by Chie Sakakibara, Fresh Banana Leaves by Jessica Hernandez, and Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer

Before there were laboratories and maker spaces, there was only the earth and what it contained and produced. The lens through which indigenous people made sense of the world came from their relationship with the land. While technological and scientific progress expands our knowledge and understanding in important and astonishing ways, Native American scientists and cultural leaders simultaneously illustrate the way indigenous intelligence adds a vital perspective to modern science. 

Robin Wall Kimmerer is among the voices drawing attention to this significant intersection. Her work demonstrates how science is, above all, a way of knowing, and, as such, can be intertwined and enhanced by integrating the other ways of knowing scientists bring with them – religious, racial, linguistic, cultural, and beyond. Her gorgeous and acclaimed book Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants (2017) weaves scientific and indigenous stories together. Kimmerer is part of a vital and growing community of scientists illustrating how indigenous knowledge and methods are central to their scientific explorations. 

This work provides a different lens through which to think about scientific information, one that dissolves the sense of otherness in objects of scientific inquiry and invites the expertise and experiences of different fields and cultures to contribute to the enterprise of science. It emphasizes the reciprocity of our relationship with the things we study and use for study, and imagines, as Kimmerer writes, “a time when the intellectual monoculture of science will be replaced with a polyculture of complementary knowledges” (139). 

One way we can make science more accessible and equitable is to recognize how it intersects with other bodies of knowledge and the experiences of groups typically underrepresented in scientific careers. By widening the lens through which we think and communicate about science, we also expand which information or ideas are considered relevant to scientific ways of knowing.  

During Native American Heritage Month, Science ATL encourages you to explore some of these or other investigations at the intersection of indigenous and scientific knowledge:

Science of Taste: Unravel Your Spice Cabinet

Event Details

Date: November 18, 2021

Time: 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Location: Online

Audience: Adults

Cost: $5.00

Spice up your holiday season! In this online event, learn from the experts, Bodie Pennisi, Ph.D., and Bradley Averill from the University of Georgia, to create your signature spice according to the chemistry of flavor. Take on the holiday season with ease and expertise. You’ll have science to back your recipes so that you can excite the palette for your guests!

This event will help you understand the science and medicinal value of the spices that make our holiday season so sweet and savory. We will delve into how spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper, coriander, cumin, vanilla, and saffron work together in harmony to create the perfect dish and sensorially cement our holiday memories with taste. Join us for an interactive talk where our guides will walk you through a tasting and profile of each spice and provide deeper insight and understanding into how these spices can create the perfect holiday spice mixture. Sign up by November 11th, and we’ll mail you an envelope with a variety of small packs of spices to sample, compare and mix! 

Dr. Bodie Pennis

Meet Dr. Bodie Pennisi

Dr. Bodie Pennisi is a Professor and statewide Extension landscape specialist in the Department of Horticulture at the University of Georgia. She is responsible for planning and coordinating a statewide Extension program to support the professional landscape industry, and conducting applied research with emphasis on sustainable landscape practices such as biodegradable containers and microbial inoculants. She also conducts research on quantifying and qualifying floral provisioning resources for pollinators, biological enemies, and ecosystem services in urban and agricultural landscape contexts.

Bradley Averill

Meet Brad Averill

Brad Averill is the Family and Consumer Sciences Agent in Madison and Oglethorpe County. He in his 3rd year with University of Georgia Extension. His plan of work at UGA Extension includes Chronic Disease Prevention and Management and Reducing the Risk of Foodborne Illness through ServSafe Food Manager Certification.

21st Century Leaders and Science ATL Launch STEM Leadership Program across Metro Atlanta High Schools


21st Century Leaders and Science ATL Launches STEM Leadership Program across Metro Atlanta High Schools

Partners with Cox Enterprises

ATLANTA (September 8, 2021)– 21st Century Leaders (21CL) and Science ATL, in partnership with Cox Enterprises, have launched a STEM leadership program for metro Atlanta high school students.

The collaborative program will include a version of 21CL’s school-based program tailored for STEM and Science ATL’s Chief Science Officers program. It will also include a self-guided online STEM Leadership curriculum module within 21CLs’ Leadership Connect®. This online platform is housed on 21CL’s partnering company, Rali, an Atlanta-based learning management system.

21CL and Science ATL will launch five STEM+21CLubs across Metro Atlanta counties and school districts for the 2021-2022 school year including:

  • Banneker High School in Fulton County
  • Forest Park High School in Clayton County
  • South Cobb High School in Cobb County
  • South Paulding High School in Paulding County
  • Tucker High School in DeKalb County

Each STEM+21CLub will serve up to 25 students throughout the school year while engaging the larger student body through STEM-focused and student-led service projects, leadership forums, career coaches, and leadership and STEM online curriculum. Following this pilot year, the program’s goal is to open up to additional schools throughout Georgia for the 2022-23 school year.

“Every young person, no matter their background, has the ability and the potential to become a leader in their school, community and ultimately the workforce. They just need the opportunity, resources, and confidence to believe it,” said Kate Hewitt, executive director of 21st Century Leaders. “We’re grateful for partners like Science ATL, Cox Enterprises, and our five piloted high schools who recognize and believe in that same vision.”

The new program builds on the strengths of Science ATL’s Georgia Chief Science Officers program that empowers youth to lead STEM enrichment activities in their communities. It also leverages 21CL’s 33-year history of year-round youth leadership development programs that collectively connect, transform and inspire students to embrace diversity, explore career opportunities and develop as leaders. The impact of the program, while measurable in real-time, will also provide long-term impact results with employability skills, enhanced college and career readiness, scholarship opportunities, and internship and professional connections.

“Partnering with 21st Century Leaders is a great way to broaden access to STEM careers and to empower more youth to use STEM to make the world a better place,” said Jordan Rose, executive co-director of Science ATL. “I am so proud of the two student leaders from our Chief Science Officer program who helped to develop the new STEM curriculum for 21CL’s Leadership Connect platform – what a great example of youth voice in action!”

Cox Enterprises’ funding, along with support from the United Way and Community Foundation of Greater Atlanta COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund, will help ensure these opportunities come at no cost to the students while also providing financial support to the partner schools and faculty members overseeing the STEM+21CLubs.


About 21st Century Leaders
21st Century Leaders® is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that connects, transforms, and inspires high school students from diverse backgrounds across Georgia to leverage diversity, explore career opportunities, and become leaders in their school, community, and ultimately the workforce. Since inception in 1989, 21st Century Leaders has served more than 16,000 diverse high school students from over 250 Georgia high schools through year-round leadership development, diversity and inclusion training and career exploration programs. For more information about 21st Century Leaders, visit www.21stcenturyleaders.org.

About Science ATL
Science ATL Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing people together through the wonder of science. Our mission is to cultivate an equitable community of lifelong learners across metro Atlanta who are connected and inspired by the wonder of science. Through public events like the Atlanta Science Festival, and community-building initiatives like the Georgia Chief Science Officers youth leadership program and the STEM Professional School Partnership program, we are improving access to STEM/STEAM learning opportunities and building community around science. Learn more at http://scienceatl.org.

Cox Enterprises
Cox Enterprises is dedicated to building a better future through our leading communications, automotive and media companies. Our major operating subsidiaries include Cox Communications and Cox Automotive, and we are strategically investing in new industries and emerging technologies, with sizeable interests in clean technology and health care. Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, Cox is a global company with nearly $20 billion in annual revenues and brands that include Autotrader, Kelley Blue Book and Cox Homelife. Founded in 1898 by Ohio Governor James M. Cox, the company is a family-owned business committed to its people, communities and planet. To learn more about Cox, visit coxenterprises.com, view our collective impact report at coxcsrreport.com, or follow us on Twitter via @CoxEnterprises or @AlexTaylor_Cox.


Cultural Hotspots: Science of Roller Skating 

Close-up shot of a woman wearing colorful teal rollerskates with hot pink laces

Roller skating has taken Atlanta by storm! From shooting down the Beltline to going in loops at a local roller rink, kids and adults are zipping all over the place on their wheeled feet! Science ATL will dig deep into this cultural phenomenon in the first event of our occasional Cultural Hotspot series.

We’re partnering up with Roll ATL, Atlanta Roller Derby, and our physicist friends at Emory University to learn more about the science behind roller skating.

Update: this event has been rescheduled to Saturday, September 25th

Join us on Saturday, September 25th from 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. on the Silver Comet Trail to skate and learn!  Registration is not required, but it helps us plan, so click here to register and we’ll have an ALEX sticker waiting for you at the first stop!

  • WHEN: September 25, 2021
  • 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
  • WHERE: Silver Comet Trail
  • WHO: Families, beginner, and intermediate skaters
  • WHAT TO BRING: Your skates! Don’t have skates, but still curious? Bring any wheels you’ve got. It’s still fun to learn while scooting!

Come anytime between 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. and start your skating journey at the Mavell Road Trailhead. At various points along a 1-mile path, we’ll be stationed up doing demos of fun moves and unpacking why they work! Between stations, you can try out the moves yourself!

This event is designed for all ages. Beginner, intermediate, and expert skaters welcome! Parking, restrooms, water, and picnic tables are available at the trailhead.

Join us for the Science of Self-Care

Illustrated graphic of a woman in a yellow sweatshirt meditating on a purple yoga mat. A navy blue brushstroke and text overlay reads "Science of Self-Care"

The pandemic has made everyone tired. Many of us are stretched thin caring for families, children, our jobs, etc. It’s time to shift the focus back to ourselves, and not just others. On Thursday, August 26th, join us for a special conversation and online workshop with the Self Care Agency that dives deep into the science of self-care. 

Our self-care virtual workshop will begin with a guided meditation session, followed by a chat with experts in self-care and science. Then we’ll have structured time to develop a Strategic Self Care Plan and a tool kit for your personal wellness journey. By the end, we’ll have answers to the following questions:

  • What happens in the brain when stress is introduced?
  • How does your brain respond when you address a need and take care of yourself?
  • What happens when you ignore taking care of yourself for a long period of time?
  • What strategies can you use to address your needs and the people you care about?

We look forward to seeing you online on Thursday, August 26 from 7:00-8:30 p.m. With your $10 ticket, you will get access to the online event and guided help to create your own self-care plan, based on science. This event is designed for ages 18+. To register on the day of the event, email [email protected]

Meet Our Experts

Gillian Hue, Ph.D. is a lecturer in the Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology program at Emory College. Dr. Hue is also a Senior Faculty Fellow in the Center for Ethics at Emory University where she serves as Program Associate in the Neuroethics program. Dr. Hue serves as Executive Managing Editor at the American Journal of Bioethics Neuroscience (AJOB Neuroscience), one of the leading international academic journals devoted to the field of Neuroethics.




Dr. Brian McGregor is a community psychologist with over 15 years of experience in needs assessment, program evaluation, clinical and community-based research. He is part of the Self Care Agency and the owner of McGregor Research & Consulting, LLC.






Anana Harris Parris is the founder and CEO of the Self Care Agency, LLC where she operates as the lead Strategic Business & Self Care Consultant Program Designer. She is also the founder of the SisterCARE Alliance






Sation Konchella is the owner of Grace Counseling and Wellness with specialties in relationship strengthening, anxiety and stress management, life adjustment and self-esteem issues. 







Science ATL Launches Robot Revival Book Club

From building robots in Coan Park to going on a scavenger hunt in your home for robot parts, join Science ATL for an exciting summer!  

An existence void of robots is certainly a reality of the past, but with Alexa, Roombas, and more, robots are here to stay! Our book selections will immerse you in this world of artificial intelligence, and encourage you and your family to think through questions of what it means to be human in a world of robots. Read along with us, and then join us for events – self-guided, in-person, and online. (P.S. All books are available to purchase or order online from our friends at Little Shop of Stories in Decatur!)

Register first for the Robot Revival Book Club, and you’ll receive our reading guides with engaging prompts, activities, questions, and resources for every reader to be able to contribute to the conversation around the books on the reading list! You’ll get to tailor your book club to your family’s needs, whether you are a party of 1, 2, 5, or 10. Then we’ll also have a half-dozen events over the summer designed for audiences of different ages, so you’ll have the chance to dive even further into the world of robots.

Whether you are staying near or traveling far during June and July, make it a summer of cyborgs and join us for Robot Revival: A Family Book Bonanza!

Join The Book Club!

#Atlanta40 Challenge Extended

Exciting news! The #Atlanta40 Challenge has been extended through the end of April. If you didn’t complete all 40 micro-conservation activities before the end of the 2021 Atlanta Science Festival, this is your chance to get to know Atlanta’s native species AND win awesome prizes!

Prizes, you say?

Everyone who completes the Atlanta 40 challenges can get a free tree (6-8-foot tall) through Trees Atlanta AND will be entered into our prize drawing.

The first 20 people to finish will receive two free day passes to the Atlanta Botanical Garden.

If you finish by the original deadline of midnight on March 31st you will be given TWO entries in our prize drawing.

If you finish by midnight on April 30th you will be entered once into our prize drawing, which includes:

  • Secret Atlanta and Hiking Atlanta‘s Hidden Forests by Jonah McDonald
  • Georgia Audubon’s Coffee & Chocolate Lovers Gift Package
  • A year-long membership to the Atlanta Botanical Gardens
  • And, our GRAND PRIZE!
  • Drumroll, please…

    Aerial view of Hike Inn
    We are excited to announce the grand prize for completing the Atlanta 40 – a free night stay at this place – The Hike Inn located in the Chattahoochee National Forest! Obviously, we are tempted to keep this prize for ourselves, but our lawyers advised against that.

    How do I win these amazing prizes?

    In order to be entered, you have to fill out the brief survey we send you when you complete the Atlanta 40 just to make sure you really did all the challenges, and we have ways of checking if you’re being truthful! So be truthful!