When COVID-19 forced K-12 students across the country to move to online or hybrid schoolwork, STEM advocates with ties to Missouri S&T like Grace Dietzler, BSci’16, helped sequestered kids manage their education during the pandemic. Deitzler, who is now working on a Ph.D. in microbiology at Oregon State University, reached out to Facebook friends who are parents with an offer to teach their children anything they wanted to learn about science.
She spoke on video to a kindergartner and second-grader on the timely subject of the life cycle of germs and customized a session with another second-grader about microorganisms in the ocean and their roles in the coral reef system.
Deitzler advocates scientific representation to children at an early age.
“As a kid, I only knew a few scientists who let me ask questions,” she says. “Kids want to learn, and these sessions are a great opportunity to answer the questions their parents and teachers might not be able to address. I want to show kids what the path to becoming a scientist is like.
“We are all in a difficult situation right now, but it also has a silver lining,” says Deitzler.