Meet the Site Coordinators of NOVA Science Studio
The new national program will be led by five site coordinators and include 30 middle and high-school students grouped into regional cohorts from the Northeast, Southeast, Midwest, Southwest, and West Coast.
We are excited to take the NOVA Science Studio to the national stage with a virtual launch of our program that will engage students from across the country!
Not only do we seek to provide youth with the skills to tell engaging digital stories about the science happening in their communities, but also to amplify the voices of young people who have long been underrepresented in science communication.
Over the course of six months, students across the United States will learn about video production, identifying misinformation, and a wide range of STEM careers, under the guidance of a site coordinator and the mentorship of a NOVA producer.
Each site coordinator leads two hour long sessions a week for a regional cohort of six students. And the students receive regular feedback and instruction on how to develop and refine their science journalism video projects.
We’re excited to introduce the first group of NOVA Science Studio site coordinators, which includes science communicators, producers, and teachers who have a strong track record of covering science through multiplatform storytelling.
Cesar Almeida is a youth program coordinator at Faith in Place. As an artist, educator, and Fulbright Scholar, he designs artistic and educational programs for youth and young adults to conserve and uphold ancestral forms, which include environments, cultures, and languages. He earned his B.S. in education from Northwestern University, and his work challenges Western colonial approaches to education by centering the learner’s identity, embodying youth-led approaches, and validating new media as literacy. Ultimately, Almeida recognizes that the environment is not only about the birds, bees, and trees but is about the places we live, learn, eat, and sleep.
“There is not enough representation or access to science and the environment,” Almeida says. “The dominant narrative perpetuates the idea that nature and science originate from foundations of white and eurocentric forms of thought, but this is not the case, and it is my mission to increase representation and access to science and the environment for BIPOC artists, youth, and communities.”
Tazeen Hossain is a process development engineer at Bosch Rexroth where she leads her site’s digital manufacturing transformation. She graduated with a B.S. in mechanical engineering and a minor in Spanish from the Georgia Institute of Technology. She also holds a Women in Leadership certificate from Cornell University. As an alumna of INROADS and the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), she has served both organizations through STEM advocacy and mentorship for minority students in high school and college. Hossain’s passion for increasing representation in STEM has led to her establishing an employee resource group at Bosch Rexroth focused on highlighting and celebrating the intersectionality of different identities within the workplace. Her love for engineering technology drives her to constantly seek ways to break barriers and provide underrepresented youth with access to careers in STEM.
“When you bring more people on stage who can tell different stories, and share perspectives that speak to the other 40% of Americans, suddenly science is relatable,” Hossain says. “More problems get solved within our communities because more people are aware of them.”
Greg Hufford is a STEM literacy specialist at 826 Boston who has a fervent passion for the natural sciences and is fascinated by the overlap between scientific and artistic pursuits. Prior to joining 826 Boston, he served with AmeriCorps in New Hampshire, where he taught environmental science to elementary school students. Hufford holds an M.S. in geology from the Colorado School of Mines, and—before a recent career switch—worked as a geologist. In his free time, Hufford loves to wander outdoors, paint, play Dungeons and Dragons, and make music.
“Science has had a central role in my life for over two decades,” says Hufford. “Even as an adult, I still crawl in the woods on my hands and knees, and explore the world through a magnifying glass. I see science as an iterative process of discovery that can enrich our lives. I have been and will continue to be a student of science.”
San Francisco, CA
West Coast Region
Niba Nirmal is a multimedia science communicator based on the traditional land of the Ramaytush Ohlone (San Francisco, CA). She creates scientific content through articles, photos, videos, and social media. Her personal project “Notes By Niba” explores the science of cosmetics, fashion, and skincare through YouTube and Instagram. She holds a B.S. in genetics and genomics from UC Davis, where she studied the effects of climate change on crops. She also holds a double-minor in toxicology and diversity studies. She received her M.S. in genetics from Duke University, graduating with the class of 2020. Her graduate research focused on the genetics, form, and function of plant roots.
“While researching plant genetics, I discovered a passion for science communication,” Nirmal says. “Lacking scicomm mentorship, I had to teach myself video production and arduously build my brand from the ground up. NOVA’s program gives me the unique opportunity to directly mentor students in my field so they need not undergo the unnecessary struggles I had to.”
Leon Tynes is the technology and computer science lead educator at the Academy of Math and Science Desert Sky in Phoenix, Arizona. For the past eleven years, Tynes has used a flipped classroom approach to maximize learning in the realms of 3D modeling, digital media, mobile app development, and computer science courses. Dedicated to immersing his students in all aspects of technology, he has successfully integrated science and engineering concepts, which has led to numerous student awards. He has a passion for habitat and climate issues and wishes to develop authentic projects to broaden students’ global awareness in STEM.
“My focus has always been in urban education and equity in computer science and technology,” Tynes says. “I have a significant amount of experience with students creating nonfiction media dealing with contemporary social issues. Imploring students to research contemporary issues that directly affect their communities and their potential to explore college and substantive careers is a priority of my pedagogy.”
With a focus on hyperlocal storytelling, the NOVA Science Studio aims to give students the tools to tell their own stories through the science happening right in their own backyard. We will be sharing updates on the program and student projects via the NOVA Education Spark newsletter and NOVA Science Studio social media accounts. Follow us on Twitter and YouTube to stay connected!