Adina Paytan ~ Multi-Scale Mentor

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Opening Minds to Science

Claire in the Media Spotlight
Funded by the National Science Foundation, Kids' Science Challenge is a nationwide competition for 3rd-6th graders. Scientists from many disciplines work with kids throughout the year, helping them to develop their research projects. In the first year of the program Dr. Adina Paytan was selected to work with students interested in the marine and terrestrial water cycle. Throughout the year she answered students' questions posted on the project website, helping them to develop their projects, which were then submitted to the contest. Claire Dworsky was the finalist – and Adina became her mentor and collaborator.

A soccer-playing third grader, Claire had become interested in researching whether runoff from artificial turf was impacting local water quality. She worked with Adina in her lab and in the field, collecting many samples, and finally presented her research at that year's annual American Geophysical Union (AGU) meeting – becoming at age 10 the youngest person ever to present at the prestigious meeting. In the process Claire also received plenty of media attention, being interviewed for TV, in print, online, and of course on NPR's Science Friday radio show.

For Claire, Adina is a role model. "She has a cool job!" exclaims Claire. "She gets to teach kids about what she does, and she gets to be around aquatic life every day. That's what I want to be when I grow up – a water scientist."