Learning Details of "What is a Scientist" Through Summer Enrichment
Learning Details of "What is a Scientist" Through Summer Enrichment

Even with EA's campus closed for the summer, Middle School Science teacher Mr. Steve Kerwin and his students have not missed a beat in creating a lively virtual learning environment in the "What is a Scientist?" summer enrichment course.

Eighteen Middle School students participated in a week-long course where each day they had the opportunity to meet a scientist studying in a different field through a program called "Skype a Scientist."

"A goal of this course is to show my students that scientists are just real people," Mr. Kerwin explained. "By talking to these scientists on Zoom, I wanted my students to see that anyone can be a scientist, and they aren't always the stereotype of a person in a lab coat mixing chemicals all day."

The Middle Schoolers started the week by being introduced to the three core sciences they will take in Upper School: biology, chemistry and physics, and then finished the week learning about climate change and the medical field.

On Thursday, July 2, students met environmental scientist Sarah Neuhaus, who spoke about her work studying glaciers, and how they are important indicators of climate. Ms. Neuhaus is a graduate student at The University of California Santa Cruz.

When asked what advice she would give to a student who aspires to be an environmental scientist, Ms. Neuhaus said, "Go spend as much time as you can outside. Be curious about the way that the world works."

EA Science Department Chair Mrs. Grace Limaye '90 stopped by the class and shared exciting new sustainability initiatives EA is planning for the future. "We are trying to form a Green Action Task Force that is going to be made up of students and administrators so that we can push the school forward in sustainability. We are going to be building an outdoor classroom, and we are really excited about that."

Gabriella Burke '27 said that she enjoyed Mr. Kerwin's "What is a Scientist?" class because it kept her busy, and she is interested in being a radiologist. "I am so glad that EA is offering these online courses, and I hope they keep doing them," observed Gabriella. "These courses have kept me very occupied during summer and during quarantine, and I feel like I am really learning a lot which will prepare me for courses that I will have to take in the future."

She also mentioned that she is glad she had the opportunity to meet Middle School teachers over the summer, which has helped her feel prepared for the fall when she starts 6th grade.

"I had a lot of fun learning in this class, especially about glaciers with the environmental scientist", Gabriella said. "I have gotten a good idea of the teachers that I am going to have and what Middle School is going to be like, so I definitely feel more comfortable already."

Throughout the week, students also heard from an astronomer, physicist, neuroscientist, and Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Pediatric Surgeon Dr. Holly Hedrick P '20, '21, '23.

The summer enrichment course took place via Zoom the week of June 29.

Written by EA Communications intern Julia Depillis '18