Science ATL and GPB Present “UNLADYLIKE 2020: Women Pioneers in STEM”

UNLADYLIKE 2020 graphic featuring women's headshots and illustrations

The sky’s the limit for womxn in STEM in 2020, but it wasn’t always that way. At 7pm on Wednesday, December 16th, Science ATL and Georgia Public Broadcasting will screen three short films from the Unladylike 2020 series, highlighting pioneers in STEM that paved the way for today’s womxn scientists and engineers.

After the screening, stay tuned for a live discussion with local scientists and engineers whose studies build on the work of the featured STEM pioneers. Learn more about the short films and our panelists below!


  • Williamina Fleming  – Pioneer in both astronomy and women’s rights.
  • Susan La Flesche Picotte  – Native American physician, public health pioneer in indigenous peoples’ reservations.
  • Ynés Mexía – First Mexican-American female botanist.


  • Cassandra Quave– medical ethnobotanist, curator of Emory University Herbararium, Associate Professor. Her work focuses on documentation and analysis of botanical remedies used in the treatment of infectious disease
  • Misty Benz– Associate Professor of physics and astronomy at GSU. Her research focuses on active galactic nuclei, supermassive black hole mass measurements, black hole scaling relationships, and AGN host galaxies.
  • Celeste Lomax- Community Liaison and Herb Steward at Trees ATL

Gifts for Science Lovers

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

Whether you need a gift for the science enthusiast in your life, or just want to treat yourself to the gift of knowledge, Atlanta’s Lead Explorer (ALEX) has you covered. Check out ALEX’s favorite gifts for science lovers, including books, magazines, and games. For even more gift inspiration, shop the Science ATL Store!


Science books for kids

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.

For younger science fans:

Science Books for Adults

For older science enthusiasts:

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

MAGAZINES (Print and Online)

Science magazines for all ages


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:

Robot Turtles (3+)

Zendo (8+)

Mastermind (8+)

Wingspan (10+)

Prime Club (10+)

Evolution (12+)


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.

Hispanic Heritage Month: CSOs on the GO!

To increase the STEM awareness within our community this fall, two South Cobb High School students created the CSOs on the GO! YouTube channel with interviews of Latinx STEM professionals about their careers. Aishat and Vivian are participants in Science ATL’s Chief Science Officer program, which empowers youth to lead community action projects to enhance their peers’ STEM awareness or address community challenges through STEM. The podcast series includes interviews with five different STEM professionals who identify as Hispanic or Latino/a, discussing their careers, their high school experiences and sharing their passion for STEM.

CSO Aishat

“During February, we hosted an in-person STEM speaker series for Black History Month at our school,” said CSO Aishat. “We planned on continuing the speaker series for Hispanic Heritage Month this fall, and the podcast seemed to be a perfect replacement in a socially distanced world.”

As Chief Science Officers (CSOs), Vivian and Aishat join 50 other middle and high school students from across metro Atlanta to develop and implement action plans that enrich the STEM community at their schools and in their community. Through leadership skill building activities, and coaching from teacher advisors and local STEM professionals, the program instills a Life of Leadership, an Attitude of Action, a Sense of STEM, and the Value of Voice. Students document their impact and reflect on their personal growth.

CSO Vivian

“During the beginning of this project, the biggest challenge for me was clear, constant, and concise communication,” said CSO Vivian. “In order to get all the speakers on board with our action plan, I had to send several emails back and forth between them as well as with my partner CSO and advisor. It was important that we made our intentions clear without causing confusion and just getting straight to the point. This, on top of scheduling and several early meetings, was somewhat new to me. But I am lucky to have the team that made this challenge not so scary, and totally achievable!”

Since working on this project, CSO Vivian says she has become more drawn to the world of engineering. “It is especially encouraging to see that the engineering workforce is becoming diversified with minorities who can represent our already diverse overall population. I have learned that there is a broad spectrum of careers in all sorts of fields waiting to be occupied by people like you and me!”

CSOs on the GO! Hispanic Heritage Month Series

View the entire playlist here, or jump to individual episodes below, and don’t forget to subscribe to the CSOs on the Go! channel!

Episode 1: Dr. Juan Carlos Medina, Dow Chemical Company
Episode 2: Adriyel Nieves, PhD student in Electrical Engineering
Episode 3: Gaberiela Soalheiro, tech consultant and MBA student
Episode 4: Judy Betancur, marketing manager, Dupont
Episode 5: Beatris Mendez Gandica, engineer and program manager at Microsoft, and founder, Nuevo Foundation


Science ATL Launches Virtual Race Through Space App

Race Through Space logo over starry background

Annual race goes virtual, taking runners and walkers on an intergalactic journey

Science ATL, an Atlanta-based nonprofit working to bring people together through the wonder of science, is taking its annual road race straight to the stars. Race Through Space – Galaxy Edition, sponsored by Randstad and produced in partnership with Emory University and the Georgia Space Grant Consortium, is going virtual. Beginning October 15, runners and walkers can download the free app, developed with Atlanta-based Winnona Partners, and participate in an interactive virtual road race and outer space exploration adventure.

In this age of social distancing, technology is allowing us the opportunity to create a whole new Race Through Space.”

An Intergalactic Adventure

Science ATL’s Race Through Space – Galaxy Edition boldly goes where it hasn’t before, allowing participants to visit other galaxies by running millions of light-years in what feels like 5 kilometers. The 5K run is scaled to replicate an intergalactic journey 54.8 million light-years long. When using the app, runners listen as a narrator guides them through space, sprinkling science-centric humor along the way and bringing the funny. Starting at the Milky Way, runners and walkers travel nearly 9,000 light-years with each step. Participants use their smartphones to display actual images of the various heavenly bodies they pass, including the Andromeda Galaxy and the Cigar Galaxy. The result is an educational, entertaining race like no other.

“In this age of social distancing, technology is allowing us the opportunity to create a whole new Race Through Space,” says Meisa Salaita, co-executive director of Science ATL. “With our app, we’re able to combine science, education, humor, and fitness into one exciting experience.”

Virtual Race Through Space Day

Once you download the app from either the Apple App Store or Google Play, participants can run or walk the Race Through Space – Galaxy Edition anytime, or join hundreds of other run-stronauts on Saturday, October 17 for Virtual Race Through Space Day. Complete the journey to a black hole, then share your race time on social media and invite friends to join the adventure. 

For more information regarding Science ATL’s Race Through Space – Galaxy Edition, including access to official race merch and links to download the app, visit

Science ATL is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing people together through the wonder of science. The mission began in 2014 with the Atlanta Science Festival, co-founded by Emory University, Georgia Tech, and the Metro Atlanta Chamber. This annual two-week event, presented by Delta Air Lines, has brought science programming to more than 200,000 people in metro Atlanta. Additional Science ATL initiatives and events increase public interest in and appreciation of science in Atlanta with easy access points to science, technology, engineering, and math throughout the year. 

Vote for Science, Y’all!

Science Y'all t-shirt collage

It’s time to have your voice heard. Speak up for science, y’all! Every year at the Atlanta Science Festival Exploration Expo, we offer resources and information on science issues at the state and national level.

With the election a little over a month away, we wanted to offer some of those same resources here and encourage you to vote, so we’ve partnered with our friends at Science for Georgia to share the helpful resources they’ve pulled together.


September 30 – Recommended last day to request absentee ballot (how to request a ballot online)

October 5 – Last day to register to vote (check your registration here and check out this guide for how to register online!)

October 12 – Early voting begins in Georgia (find your early voting locations here)

October 16 – Recommended last day to mail absentee ballots (track your mailed-in ballot here – page 3)

October 24 – Statewide Saturday voting

October 30 – Last day to early vote

November 3 – Election Day! (find your polling place here)

Science for Georgia logo

Science for Georgia aims to improve communication between scientists and the public, increase public engagement with science, and most importantly in this critical election season, to advocate for the responsible use of science in public policy. The Science for Georgia team has pulled together an incredible resource to help you vote this election season. Check it out below!


Get your Science Yall bundle!

Register to vote!











Art + Science Collide: Horizon Theatre’s Completeness

Horizon Theater and Science ATL Flyer for CompletenessWhat happens when the brain and heart collide? Two grad students might have the answer, if they can look up from their research long enough to find out. At 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 25-26 and Oct. 2-3, Horizon Theatre will premiere a Horizon at Home virtual production of Completeness by Tony-award-winning playwright Itamar Moses (The Band’s Visit), who will join the theatre live via Zoom for a special performance intro and talkback. This romantic comedy takes a modern look at love through a scientific lens.

From Horizon Theatre:

“In Completeness, Elliot, a computer scientist, and Molly, a molecular biologist, are struggling with the realities of romance. When love is the answer, how do these two intellectuals manage to figure out the equation in the first place? When Elliot builds a computer program to help Molly with her research project, the variables in their evolving relationship shift as rapidly as the terms of their experiment. You’ll see both their romantic triumphs and regressions mirrored in the science they create.”

Post-show discussions immediately following each showing of the play will allow audience members to engage directly with the artists, as well as special guests. In partnership with Horizon Theatre, Science ATL has invited scientists with expertise in molecular biology and computer science to weigh in about the science described in the play. Get your tickets to Completeness and learn more about the guests below.

Friday, September 25 at 7:30pm (EST)

Charles Ford (left) and Avani Wildani (right)

Charles Ford IV

Charles Ford graduated from Davidson College with a BS in Neuroscience in 2012. He began a combined MD-PhD program at Emory University in 2015 and is currently completing his PhD in Neuroscience under the mentorship of Dr. Larry Young. His dissertation work focuses on oxytocin and the neurobiological basis of social bonding, behavior, and cognition.

Avani Wildani, PhD

Avani Wildani is an Assistant Professor in CS and Neuroscience at Emory University.  Her work is centered around information storage and retrieval across different storage models. She has worked in access prediction, data deduplication, power management, catastrophic fault tolerance, P2P networks, and recently in topological data analysis.  Her lab at Emory focuses on theoretical systems models, particularly those with biological connections, with a long term goal of categorizing neural information systems.

Friday, October 2 at 7:30pm (EST)

Myesha Green (left) and Neil Green (right)

Myesha Green, PhD 

Myesha Green is a scientist at heart. She received her PhD in Immunology and Molecular Pathogenesis from Emory University fifteen years ago. Currently, Myesha is a Montessori teacher, consultant, and Interim Head of School here in the Atlanta area. 

Neil Green

Neil Green came to computer science by way of his undergraduate studies in particle physics. He has spent the last 20 years implementing all aspects of software design and platform architecture through his work with Atlanta start-ups and technology enterprises.

[Myesha and Neil met in college, have been together for 23 years, and have been married for 15 years.]

Saturday, October 3 at 7:30pm (EST)

Carleen Sabusap (left) and Eric Shen (right)

Carleen Sabusap, PhD

Carleen Sabusap is a molecular biologist at Vanderbilt University studying drugs targeting the genetic origins of cystic fibrosis to understand why some therapeutics work better for certain patients versus others. She has designed and produced an eclectic mixture of science outreach programs; from a traveling neuroscience research lecture series involving abstract dance and an art exhibit about memory, to a training symposium for biologists to 3D print and animate molecular machinery. She enjoys painting and plans on creating a comic series about science and writing songs about the pandemic on her ukulele. 

Eric Shen, PhD

Eric Shen is a research scientist at Georgia Tech working on organic electronics, where he makes coatings that can change color with the push of a button, wires that can turn their conductivity on and off, and other fun applications. He has also been involved in many aspects of science outreach, such as the Atlanta Science Festival and Future Tech. When he’s not at work, Eric loves checking out Atlanta’s amazing art gallery scene, and sampling the wonderful restaurants and breweries across the city.

64 Selected for New STEM Professional School Partnership Program (SPSP)

For Immediate Release
Contact: Jon Waterhouse, Lenz, Inc., 678.770.9561, [email protected]
[download as PDF]

64 Educators and STEM Professionals Selected for Science ATL’s New STEM Professional School Partnership Program (SPSP)

IF/THEN and Science ATL Partner To Create Year-Long Program For Local Atlanta Schools and STEM Entities To Enrich Science Education

September 18, 2020 (Atlanta, GA)Science ATL, in partnership with IF/THEN®, a national initiative of Lyda Hill Philanthropies® which seeks to advance women in STEM, announced today they are launching “STEM Professional School Partnership Program” (SPSP). This new program, partially funded through a grant from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) IF/THEN Ambassadors program, was created to enrich science education in classrooms around metro Atlanta.

Paula Garcia Todd showing a cloud in a bottle to a group of students.

IF/THEN Ambassador Paula Garcia Todd

“Now more than ever, our schools need the community’s support,” says Jordan Rose, executive co-director of Science ATL. “Instead of one-and-done classroom visits by scientists, the SPSP program fosters stronger partnerships by cultivating repeated interactions and longer-term relationships between schools and STEM companies and universities. The result will be schools’ increased capacity for STEM partnerships, and more meaningful exposure to STEM topics and careers for students.”

Co-founded by Science ATL and Atlanta-based AAAS IF/THEN Ambassador Paula Garcia Todd, SPSP pairs 32 STEM professionals to 32 K-12 schools in Atlanta for a year of monthly interactions, reaching more than 10,000 students and creating a flexible framework to strengthen long-term STEM partnerships. The participating schools come from eight metro Atlanta school districts (Atlanta, Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Douglas, Fulton, Marietta City, and Rockdale), and include elementary, middle, and high schools. For a complete list of participants, see To help more students see themselves as future STEM professionals, the program has recruited a diverse group of scientists and engineers, including 63% women, 53% Black/African-American, and 16% Hispanic/Latinx STEM professionals.

Each educator and STEM professional pair will implement 7-10 classroom or school engagement activities that support the STEM efforts within the selected schools. These efforts will be guided by goals centered around school needs and the resources the STEM professional can leverage from their personal/professional networks. The program supports participants through monthly newsletters, quarterly professional development webinars, and a supply budget to support partnership activities including reimbursement for field trip travel and activity supplies.

“We are excited to introduce students to the many everyday applications of STEM, and to positive role models who are improving their communities through their STEM skills,” says Paula Garcia Todd, AAAS IF/THEN Ambassador and Global Strategic Manager, DuPont. “While we hope students will be inspired to pursue a STEM career, we are confident the program will create more curious problem solvers and lifelong learners, ready to tackle tomorrow’s challenges.”

The AAAS IF/THEN® Ambassador program brings together 125 women from a variety of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics careers to serve as high-profile role models for middle school girls. STEM professionals use their skills in many fields – including research and development, sports and recreation, finance, fashion, gaming, engineering and manufacturing, entertainment, healthcare, retail, music, and more. More information can be found by visiting

To find out more about the STEM Professional School Partnership Program, visit

Science ATL is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing people together through the wonder of science. Through public events and community programs, Science ATL fosters a love of science, builds community around science, and enables equitable access to science learning opportunities. The mission began in 2014 with the Atlanta Science Festival, co-founded by Emory University, Georgia Tech, and the Metro Atlanta Chamber. This annual two-week event, presented by Delta Air Lines, has brought science programming to more than 250,000 people in metro Atlanta. Additional Science ATL initiatives increase public interest in and appreciation of science in Atlanta with easy access points to science, technology, engineering and math throughout the year. More at

IF/THEN® is part of Lyda Hill Philanthropies’ commitment to fund game-changing advancements in science and nature. IF/THEN® seeks to further advance women in STEM by empowering current innovators and inspiring the next generation of pioneers. Rooted in a firm belief that there is no better time to highlight positive and successful female professional role models, IF/THEN® is designed to activate a culture shift among young girls to open their eyes to STEM careers by: (1) funding and elevating women in STEM as role models, (2) convening cross-sector partners in entertainment, fashion, sports, business and academia to illuminate the importance of STEM everywhere, and (3) inspiring girls with better portrayals of women in STEM through media and learning experiences to pique their interest in STEM careers. To learn more, visit or follow IF/THEN® on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

Lyda Hill Philanthropies encompasses the charitable giving of founder Lyda Hill who believes that “science is the answer” to life’s most challenging issues and is committed to funding transformational advances in science and nature. To learn more, visit

# # #

Building an Equitable Community

The team at Science ATL has been doing some soul-searching. Earlier this year, before the pandemic, we embarked on a strategic planning journey to more clearly articulate our goals, metrics for success, and action steps to get there. This continues to be a work in progress, but we are pleased to share Science ATL’s key pillars: fostering a love of science, building community around science, and enabling equitable access to science learning opportunities throughout metro Atlanta.

As we imagine what kind of community we would like to build, and how best to expand equitable access to science learning, we recognize that we are missing voices – including Black voices – in crafting these strategies. Science ATL is committed to operationalizing equity and inclusion as part of our mission to build community around science, and we are committed to deepening our equity efforts with Atlanta’s Black community.

Starting in September, we are taking two steps to build a more equitable community: 1) we have joined the international Of/By/For All Change Network that supports civic and cultural organizations in becoming representative of, co-created by, and welcoming for their diverse communities; and 2) we are working with community engagement consultant Nasim Fluker and Purpose Possible to build organizational structures and initiatives built on sustained inclusion of community voices and input about community needs. These efforts will help us to review current initiatives and inform new ones through the lens of equitable access, and to amplify Black voices in our community related to science and STEM education.

Science ATL has always valued equitable access to science learning opportunities, and our work with Title I schools, in zip codes with low Child Well-Being ratings, and with diverse community partners has helped to build an inclusive community around science in Atlanta since our founding in 2014. But we are so excited to dive into more intentional work to listen to, engage with, and celebrate Black communities in Atlanta.


Special thanks to our friends and advisors who have helped to guide our thinking: Tjuan Dogan, Cheryl Kortemeier, Jamal Jesse, Natalie King, Ann Cramer, Kimberlin Bolton, Errika Moore, Sabrina Gomez, Daniel Aguirre, Ayana Gabriel, and David Jackson.

Science Is For Everyone

At Science ATL, we believe that science is for everyone.

These past few weeks have highlighted how the American perception of “everyone” often does not include Black Americans, whose voices and lives are devalued time and again. The scientific community is part of the problem of systemic racism in our country, yet there are groups who are actively working to make change. These organizations are striving to improve access to science learning opportunities, increase representation amongst scientific leaders, and reduce barriers that prevent people from feeling science can be for them.

The scientific community is part of the problem of systemic racism in our country, yet there are groups who are actively working to make change.

We are proud to partner with many of these organizations and encourage you to learn more about, support, and participate in the work they do. Stay tuned to our social media accounts (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter) as we share about each of these organizations in the coming weeks.

The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation – With a focus on Black neighborhoods on the Westside, the Blank Foundation is making change by providing resources and helping to build community. We are grateful to their support for our Georgia Chief Science Officer program where we are empowering youth to lead STEM education and community change efforts.

Brown Toy Box – A local company spearheaded by the awesome Terri-Nichelle Bradley that works to make science, technology, engineering, arts & math (STEAM) accessible, representative and fun for Black children. We are proud to partner with Terri on a project funded by the United Way to provide her STEAM kits and Science ATL passports to hundreds of underserved elementary students this summer. You can also find her kits for sale on the Brown Toy Box website.

The Gathering Spot – We were excited to partner with The Gathering Spot for the 2020 Atlanta Science Festival on an event on Black entrepreneurship in the tech world. The Gathering Spot is a club designed to unite and build community amongst the next generation of industry and tech leaders, fostering community and relationships amongst people of different backgrounds.

Historic Westside Garden – Revitalizing the Historic Westside Neighborhoods of Atlanta through the power of home food gardening, the Historic Westside Garden has partnered with us and a team from Emory University the past two years to help teach about the science behind soil and gardening at the Atlanta Science Festival.

re:imagine/ATL – With a focus on diversity, inclusion, and storytelling, re:imagine/ATL trains, equips and inspires young people to build careers in the creative and digital media industries.

Science Creations – With a focus on hands-on learning, Science Creations works to bring science to life with science shows and STEAM kits. The team has done a lot of work in low-income communities, reducing barriers to science by making workshops and shows affordable for all.

Science for Georgia – Science for Georgia was birthed out of the March for Science, and since then, the team has united scientists around the state who communicate and celebrate the ways science can help solve many of our state and world’s most significant problems by breaking down barriers that distance many people from feeling part of the scientific community. Their Science Tales & Trails program focuses on highlighting disparities in environmental justice.

STEM Gems – Rockstar engineer and author Stephanie Espy has made it her mission to show young women that the STEM fields aren’t just for men. Through her book, camp, academic coaching and more, she has worked hard to provide better representation and role models. We’re proud to have had a STEM Gem event at nearly every Atlanta Science Festival.

The Story Collider – This live show and podcast dedicated to sharing true, personal stories about science has been at every Atlanta Science Festival since our first one in 2014. Since then, Atlanta has been lucky enough to be one of the cities hosting regular shows throughout the year. The Story Collider has a mission to collect stories from as many different voices as possible, including stories of Black science, joy and life. Find playlists of these stories here.

The Village Tutorial – A recipient of one of our mini-grants to develop Festival programming, the Village Tutorial aims to remediate and enrich the talents of children from diverse backgrounds through the creation of global awareness and respect for diverse cultures and people.

West Atlanta Watershed Alliance – This community based non-profit uses the glory of nature and working to protect, preserve and restore it to improve the quality of life for Black neighborhoods in Northwest and Southwest Atlanta. WAWA has partnered with Science ATL annually for an incredible outdoor STEAM event annually at the Atlanta Science Festival.

500 Women Scientists – This national grassroots organization has a pod here in Atlanta whom we’ve partnered with for Atlanta Science Festival events. Their mission is to make science more open, inclusive, and accessible, and transform society by fighting racism, patriarchy, and oppressive societal norms. See resources on their website for scientists supporting the Black Lives Matter movement.

United Way of Greater Atlanta – With their support for our Georgia Chief Science Officer program and helping us send Science ATL Passports to low-income families, United Way of Greater Atlanta is serving communities in Atlanta that need it most. The charity’s work in tracking child well-being data and working to improve that across the city is making a huge difference for Black residents in the city.

YMCA of Metro Atlanta – We are proud to be a partner of this organization that works to meet the most critical needs of our communities everyday but especially in times of crisis. Not only have we worked with the YMCA team to produce Festival events, we also partnered with them to distribute several hundred of our Science ATL Passports to help provide out of school science learning to underserved communities when the coronavirus crisis struck.

Virtual STEM Day: A Recipe For Success

by the Georgia Chief Science Officers

School is different now. We are all making adjustments in how we teach, learn, and interact. So while we are Zoom-ing, Teams-ing, and HangOut-ing (Hanging Out?), let’s keep Georgia schools’ annual STEM Day tradition alive! Before school is out, you can host your own Virtual STEM Day for your community.

As Georgia Chief Science Officers, we are a group of middle and high school students leading community efforts to enhance STEM awareness and participation among youth. We know you are still hungry for STEM, so we’re sharing a menu of options to make your Virtual STEM Day delicious and nutritious. If you are a student like we are, you can lead the effort. Reach out to your teachers and propose a Virtual STEM Day. As we say in the CSO program: don’t just hope it happens, #MakeItHappen!

What is STEM Day?

Since 2013, the Technology Association of Georgia – Education Collaborative (TAG-Ed) has been leading a statewide campaign to encourage schools and classrooms to host STEM/STEAM programming on the first Friday in May. No matter the date, or if it’s one hour, one day, or a whole week of STEM activities, the point is to make a focused celebration on STEM. Of course, many of you are doing STEM activities as part of your coursework – think of STEM Day as an opportunity to do something you couldn’t do as part of your classes, a co-curricular activity that enriches our understanding of how STEM is applied in the real world. STEM Day can help students connect with local STEM professionals and businesses, realizing the local career opportunities available in STEM fields and the real-world problems being addressed through STEM work. STEM Day can be a chance for students to build, experiment, create, and test their ideas.

A Virtual STEM Day can be all of these things – just taking place on your school’s online learning platform. Many schools have their own enterprise-wide online platform that ensures privacy and security for students and educators. If your school has its own Zoom, Google, or Microsoft Teams, for example, this would be the ideal platform on which to host your Virtual STEM Day. If your school does not have something like this, you can organize an asynchronous STEM Day, in which students participate independently, on their own time, in their own ways. In this scenario, you (as the organizer), would put together a list of activities and share it with your community. Students would complete the activities on their own time. You may wish to consider a way for participants to submit evidence of completion by a certain deadline, with some kind of award for motivation.

Prepare, Promote, and Share

Get a complete Zoom tutorial, and discover 7 Tips to Zoom like a pro. Don’t forget to check your security settings to protect student privacy – here are some tips to prevent Zoom-bombing. Whatever your school or district platform of choice, you can find a way to connect, build community, and celebrate STEM together.

On behalf of the student leaders at the Georgia Chief Science Officers program, we wish you and your students a happy and satisfying Virtual STEM Day! Don’t forget to share what you’re doing with: #GASTEMDay #MakeItHappen @Georgia_CSO, and @ScienceATL


Some dishes will require advanced planning or even pre-work from your students, others are truly plug-and-play. Pick and choose the dishes that will make your Virtual STEM Day the most appetizing to your palate. Bon appetit!


(activities that take less than an hour)

Make it Fun

Host a costume contest or theme for your Virtual STEM Day. Have students dress up as their favorite scientist, or assign everyone an element of the periodic table and have them come in costume (based on the element’s characteristics, real-world use, etc.). Do the same with planets, macromolecules, physics equations, simple machines. Vote on the best costumes.

Citizen Science

You don’t need to BE a scientist to DO science. Join the worldwide movement to participate in the collection of scientific data! Discover new ways that proteins can fold and help scientists design better therapies for HIV and cancer (FoldIt!). Identify plants and animals in your neighborhood with the iNaturalist app. Help scientists find clogged blood vessels in the brain scans of Alzheimer’s patients (StallCatchers).

April is Citizen Science Month – but the science doesn’t stop in May. Keep it going with resources from Science ATL on how to do citizen science, including tutorials and suggestions for project ideas to get you started. On your Virtual STEM Day, watch a tutorial together, and have students choose one of a couple projects, spend 20 minutes on their own completing the task, then come back together and report out! Citizen science projects and apps are great ways to get involved in REAL science from your own home.


The Japanese haiku is three-line poem of 5-7-5 syllables, and the sciku is a science haiku and an annual Atlanta Science Festival tradition. It doesn’t have to rhyme, but it should tell a story about what inspires and moves you about science. Write about your favorite science topic, a question you’ve always been curious about, or what wows you about the natural world. Consider a public health message to your neighborhood, or translate CDC guidance into verse, or offer a message of hope and comfort to people affected by coronavirus, or a word of support to healthcare workers.

On your Virtual STEM Day, students can write and submit their science haikus and vote on the best ones (type it into the chat box, or write it out in marker on paper and hold it up to the webcam). Or head outside to chalk it on their driveway or sidewalk. Then post and tag it with @AtlSciFest, #AtHomeSciFest, and #SciKu.

Science Snacks

Hungry for fresh, exciting science activities based in amazing phenomena? The Exploratorium’s Science Snacks are hands-on, teacher-tested, and use cheap, available materials. Satisfy your curiosity without ever getting full.


(more extensive activities)

Career talks

Invite a STEM professional to give a talk about his/her career. You can contact your local university/college or business partners. When inviting professionals, be brief and polite. Explain who you are, what you expect from them (e.g, a 15-minute talk about your career plus 10-minute Q&A session via Zoom with 120 middle school students on Thursday May 7), why it is important to you, and when you’d like to hear back. Say “thank you for your consideration”!

Science ATL can help you find a STEM professional for your Virtual STEM Day event. We will match you with a STEM professional and it will be your responsibility to figure out when and how to connect them to your Virtual STEM Day. Be sure to test the online platform with your STEM professional prior to the day of – your platform may limit access to school students and employees. To make a request, complete this form by May 8. We will do our best to fulfill requests in the order in which they are received. Limited dates/times/professionals are available.

To get you started, here are a few pre-recorded STEM professionals in recent Zoom calls with middle and high school Chief Science Officers from around the world:

Or, have students research STEM careers on their own and report-out to the group what they discovered.


Jazz up your Virtual STEM Day with a Coding Dance Party, or see how artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning can be used to address world problems. Schedule an Hour of Code activity!

Whether they’re completely new to coding or have significant confidence in the subject, any student can gain a few skills through trying out the Girls Who Code – Code At Home activities. There are different levels of difficulty so you can organize breakout rooms to help mentor students of similar experience level through completing the activity. Make sure to post your work on social media.

Hack Club Workshops guide students through creating projects like websites, simple easels, and games, with a focus on customization and make each project unique to the creator. They’re very entertaining and user friendly – give it a try.

Our friends at the Lyndhurst STEM Club shared a great Programming and Coding glossary they have found helpful at their Coding Parties and wanted to share it with the Science ATL community.

Cooking Challenge

How can your students harness the power of the sun using a few household materials? By building solar ovens. Have students collect materials and sketch designs on their own, then host a virtual building race to see who can get their design up and running in the time given. Check out the info at Teach Engineering’s Cooking With The Sun or ShareIt Science’s Solar Oven Design Challenge to plan your event. Or join Atlanta chef/educator Asata Reid for one of her live online cooking classes for kids.

Design Challenges

Develop a design challenge around one or more of the Grand Challenges of Engineering or the Grand Challenges of Social Work or the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals. Pick one or more challenges and guide teams of students through the Engineering Design Process to create, prototype, test or get feedback on, and then refine a solution to the challenge.

COVID-19 Learning Resources

For COVID-19 science learning, a good place to start is this comic for kids – they can even print it out and make it into an 8-page zine (a great skill to apply to other projects). BrainPOP has a decent 4.5 minute kid-focused video that covers the same topics (a bit of biology, explaining quarantine and social distancing, contextualizing the media’s response, recommendation to direct additional questions to parents and trusted sources like WHO, etc.). For more advanced learners, Georgia Science Teachers Association has posted a phenomenon on the genomic epidemiology of COVID-19 with lesson resources to their phenomenon bank. Of course there are many more resources, including these we like:

You can use STEM Day to host a scientific reading hour for students. The reading series A Kids Book About has partnered with epidemiologist Malia Jones to create a free ebook explaining COVID-19 to students. Host a STEM book review where students can listen to excerpts of the book and share their feelings and understandings about the virus. For K-2 learners, teachers Naomi O’Brien & LaNesha Tabb have created an interactive eBook called What Is a Pandemic? that includes several hands-on activities to help younger students get a better handle on the current climate.


(activities that can be done by students on their own)

Virtual Museum Tours

Experience the world of STEM at home with your students through a virtual field trip. Want to explore locally? ATL Museums At Home is a partnership of Atlanta’s top museums and cultural attractions. Sign your students up for a Field Trip Friday!

The Smithsonian also offers virtual tours of its museum complex. Explore biology with your students with the Smithsonian Natural History Virtual Tour, or explore aviation with the Smithsonian Air & Space Virtual Tour.

Denise Farney, a 7th/8th grade science teacher at Longfellow Middle School, Lorain, OH, has curated a list of 30 Plus Field Trips: Mars, Critter Cams, and More! The extensive list covers multiple STEAM experiences that connect students to museums around the world through partnerships with some of the most well known parks, museums, zoos and aquariums.

Community service

Discuss how students can take action to support the community during the COVID-19 crisis. Present some options, and provide opportunity for students to commit to actions. For example, join one of our Chief Science Officer’s project to sew and distribute fabric masks to healthcare and essential workers in metro Atlanta. Sign up to help at

Or think more broadly – review and discuss The Lazy Person’s Guide to Saving the World, based on the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals, and have each student commit to one action.

Spanish Resources

Ciencia Puerto Rico has a number of free STEM lessons in Spanish and live scientific conversations in Spanish, with STEM grad students and experts from the Ciencia Puerto Rico network.

Other Resources

Enjoy your meal and don’t forget to share what you’re doing with #GASTEMDay #MakeItHappen @Georgia_CSO @ScienceATL