Inspiring Women Mentor Headwaters Students

Inspiring Women Mentor Headwaters Students

Headwaters Science Institute is proud to connect our students with science mentors in many of our programs. And on International Women’s Day, introducing some of the incredible women who are passionate about inspiring the next generation of scientists. These women are all dedicated and accomplished researchers who are advancing science in their fields, and taking the time to share their experiences with Headwaters students!

Some of the incredible women who are making a difference with Headwaters Science Institute’s programs are Gabriela Rios-Sotelo, Kerri Spuller, Ashley Pierce, Anna Holmquist, Aviva Fiske, and Hanna Kahl. We are always grateful when they are able to allocate some of their time to help us reinforce our mission of “fostering curiosity through science.”

Gabriela Rios-Sotelo‘s research on White nose syndrome in bats is crucial for understanding and combating this deadly fungal disease. In addition, her work as a science educator has brought natural history and science lessons to people of all ages.

Kerri Spuller‘s research on landscape change and climate change in drylands has important implications for understanding how our planet is changing. Her work as an environmental scientist also helps ensure that our water and soil are safe and healthy.

Ashley Pierce‘s work in atmospheric pollutants is essential for understanding and addressing some of the most pressing environmental problems we face today. As an AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow placed at the National Science Foundation, she works on programs that are cross-disciplinary with a focus on sustainability.

Anna Holmquist‘s research on spider biodiversity and the urban heat island effect is fascinating and important for understanding how our cities impact the natural world. Her passion for science education and making science accessible to all is also inspiring.

Aviva Fiske‘s research on sturgeon genetics is crucial for understanding and conserving these endangered fish populations. Her work with the GOALS program also helps ensure that more girls have the opportunity to experience the wonders of science and the outdoors.

Hanna Kahl‘s research on citrus pest management is essential for ensuring that farmers can produce healthy and sustainable food. Her work as a middle school teacher and in Women in Data also highlights her dedication to science education and empowering women in STEM.

Mentors play a critical role in inspiring young students to pursue science. They act as a guiding light by providing advice, answering tough questions, and empowering students to navigate the complexities of science with confidence. With a mentor’s support, students can feel inspired and equipped to take on the challenges of science, and pursue their dreams with passion and purpose. This is why we pair the best mentors with our Headwaters programs! The students see what is possible when they see themselves in and connect with these amazing women scientists.

Introducing the new ‘Lunch With A Scientist’ episode library

Introducing the new ‘Lunch With A Scientist’ episode library

Stop me if you’ve heard this one: A shark scientist, hurricane researcher, and archaeologist walk into a bar… No, this isn’t the plot of the latest Samuel L. Jackson movie; it’s several of our latest “Lunch With A Scientist” episodes!

Looking for a way to bring real-world science to your classroom? “Lunch With A Scientist” is our biweekly YouTube series that brings discussions with professional scientists right onto your device or into your classroom. The aim is to provide an inside glimpse into the minds of STEM professionals and bring awareness to students about the possibilities of careers in science. 

Now, we’ve made it easier to find what you’re looking for with the new “Lunch With A Scientist” library at The new site allows you to easily navigate through our 60-plus episodes with a simple search tool or by a filterable topic grid. 

Want to show your class an episode on careers in life and environmental sciences? That will give you 33 episodes to choose from. What about pursuits in health, medicine, and genetics? That will give you talks with 16 professionals in that field.  

This searchable database was brought to you as a direct result of donations from our generous supporters, and we very much want to keep this valuable resource free to our community. With that in mind, we’re announcing three sponsorship opportunities for future “Lunch With A Scientist” episodes, part of our digital resource library that receives thousands of views each month. 

Here are the three sponsorship levels and what you will receive with each one: 

  • Bronze ($250): We’ll link your business or organization in the video description and mention it in the introduction. 
  • Silver ($500): In addition to a link in the video description and mention, we’ll include your logo in the thumbnail image. 
  • Gold ($1,000): We’ll read an advertisement script that you provide or we write, in addition to your logo and link. 

We’d also like to remind you that “Lunch With A Scientist” is a valuable tool for teachers. 

We can arrange a video meeting with a scientist from a field that matches your curriculum and have your students submit questions they’ll answer after the presentation. 

Teachers can begin a research project unit with a Lunch With A Scientist talk, which is a great way to introduce students to the field and show them what kind of research is possible. After watching the talk, you can move into a full-length Headwaters Research Program or lead one of your own.

You can also use the talks as a standalone activity; each talk includes a student investigation activity and a list of associated NGSS-aligned resources. You can use a talk as a one-time exercise to fill a class block or use it for 2-3 classes by incorporating the resources.

Download our program proposal for more information, or schedule a meeting with us to discuss. If you’re interested in sponsoring an episode, email Program Director Jenn Cotton at