Virtual Pathways Program features science television host

Pathways to Your Future: Exploring STEAM Careers offers workshops and activities to stay connected
Emily Calandrelli

Emily Calandrelli is  the featured speaker for the Pathways to Your Future:  Exploring STEAM Careers program offered  through Penn State York.  The program, normally held in person, is being offered virtually. Calandrelli will share her story of transitioning from a career as an engineer to hosting a Emmy-nominated science television show on Netflix, "Emily's Wonder Lab," and other science-related programs.  Calandrelli is also the author of the chapter book series, "The Ada Lace Adventures."

Credit: Courtesy of Wolf Productions Inc.

Emily Dawn Calandrelli, Emmy-nominated science television host, is the featured speaker for Pathways to Your Future:  Exploring STEAM Careers set for 9 a.m. Friday, May 14 via Zoom. The program, designed for seventh grade students, has gone virtual due to the pandemic but that has not kept students from learning about science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics (STEAM).

This is the 24th year for the program which is normally held in-person and features a variety of presenters and workshops in an all-day format on campus at Penn State York. Last year’s program, although fully planned, had to be canceled because of the pandemic.

"I was so happy that Penn State York was able to offer a safe, COVID-friendly, hands-on experience to our participants this year. The whole community was so disappointed to cancel last year's event, but I am so excited to connect virtually with students, teachers, and community members for the 2021 event,” said Carly Wood, coordinator of Youth Educational Outreach and the Nittany Scholars Program at Penn State York.

Students have been doing activities throughout the month of April and some will continue doing activities from the three pre-recorded virtual workshops following Friday’s keynote address by Calandrelli. Calandrelli is a MIT-engineer who transitioned from her career in engineering to becoming the television host and co-executive producer of “Emily’s Wonder Lab” on Netflix. She will share her story and the twists and turns in her career that led her to where she is today.

She is also a featured correspondent on “Bill Nye Saves the World” on Netflix and executive producer and of Fox television’s “Xploratuin Outer Space.”  Participants in the Zoom will have the opportunity to ask questions following Calandrelli’s presentation.

“Emily Calandrelli is a dynamic individual with a fascinating career journey. I love watching her show, 'Emily's Wonder Lab' and her informational videos about space exploration,” said Wood. “I am so excited to host her virtually this year during our webinar and I look forward to students connecting with her during the live, online event!”

This year’s Pathways Program includes 125 students and 14 teachers from York area school districts. Each teacher received kits for students and the pre-recorded presentations to use with students at their convenience. The three virtual workshops included are:

Aim for Mars is presented by Broadcom MASTERS Winner and Virginia Academy of Science Best of Symposium winner Eleanor Sigrest. Aim for Mars is a creative workshop where students will engage in a discussion about the scientific method using slosh in microgravity as the subject. Sigrest shares information on the basic physics of surface energies and hydrophobicity and hydrophilicity using an integrated activity. Participants will color portions of a piece of paper with a heavy layer of crayon and use water droplets to demonstrate hydrophobicity and hydrophilicity. Students will also view a video of an experiment in zero-gravity aboard an airplane flying parabolic arcs that will demonstrate the behavior of fluids under the influence of gravity compared to the amazing behavior under microgravity that were modeled in the experiment.

Unlocking the Secrets of Newton’s Cradle is presented by Becky Yep, a structural engineer from The Boeing Company. In this workshop students learn about the popular Newton’s Cradle gadget. Illustrious super villains, like X-Men‘s Magneto or the Kryptonians from Superman, often showcase the mesmerizing Newton’s Cradle as a sleek gadget in their evil lair. What secrets do these devices contain, beyond their power to fascinate their users? In this workshop, students will learn about the science behind the famous mechanism, including the conservation of energy and momentum, and Newton’s third law. Students will create their own Newton’s Cradle from scratch, which they can keep as a relic for their own lairs!

Everything Under the Sun for Meteorologists is presented by AccuWeather meteorologists Renee Duff, Kristina Pydynowski and Courtney Travis. Many people do not associate art with the weather, but in this workshop, students use their artistic skills to make their own rain cloud and windsock. In addition, students learn about high and low air pressure by watching a fascinating egg demonstration.

“While Pathways looks very different this year, we will still be able to introduce students to potential STEAM careers, expose students to STEAM professionals, facilitate hands-on learning, and provide information and materials to local schools,” said Wood.

Program format

Pathways to your Future 2021 offers both synchronous and asynchronous content. This allows schools who are unable to plan field trips due to schedule constraints from school closures to attend the event and keep students and volunteers safe. Each participating student has been provided with an individual kit of supplies and will be provided access to the Pathways to Your Future Padlet. This Padlet page has virtual workshop videos.

Students and teachers can use their kits to follow along asynchronously and complete the hands-on workshop from home or school, wherever they are learning at the time. In addition to the virtual workshops, the Pathways Padlet also has spaces for students to upload photos of their work and comment to one another about the workshops and what they have created. There are also links for teachers included with local STEAM competitions and resources that they can utilize to further enrich their STEAM instruction.

Schools participating in the program include Edgar Fahs Smith STEAM Academy, Hannah Penn K-8 School, Goode K-8 School, South Eastern Middle School, Hanover Middle School, Shrewsbury Christian Academy, Harrisburg Academy, Christian School of York, Central Middle School, Davis K-8, Spring Grove Area Middle School, West York Middle School, and Northern York Middle School.

For more information on Pathways to Your Future: Exploring STEAM Careers, visit the website or contact Carly Wood at [email protected] or call 717-771-4173.