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Chelsea Students Change Their Scientific Perceptions

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In an effort to get more students excited about science, one publication recently launched a new program where scientists from all disciplines visit kindergarten through high school classes across the country. NY1's Shazia Khan filed the following report.

When students at the Hudson High School of Learning Technologies in Chelsea learned a scientist would be dropping by their classroom, Benjamin TenOever was not exactly what some had in mind.

"Lab coat, goggles, you know, crazy hair. That was my image of a scientist and very strict, I mean business," said student Jade Rigos.

TenOever's visit was part of Scientific American Magazine's "1,000 Scientists in a 1,000 Days" initiative. It was launched, in part, to erase stereotypes of the look and manner of a scientist.

"One of the things that 1,000 Scientists can do is show these students that scientists come in every color and every shape and size. They could be women, they could be men, they could be doing lots of different things and maybe the questions they ask are really fun questions that the students could see themselves doing some day," said Scientific American Editor-in-Chief Mariette DiChristina.

"It was pretty good because we're talking to a professional. Like, he knows what he's saying and he knows what he's talking about," said student Neil Narayan.

For teachers, the program brings dimension to their lesson plans, as professionals in the field add context and perhaps pique interest in science careers.

"A nation full of scientists is a better nation and I think that a goal to inspire more high school students to become scientists is a really noble goal," TenOever said.

TenOever, a microbiologist, used slides and an experiment to share his passion for viruses, and his excitement was contagious.

"To be shown how quick it just spreads is amazing. My research last year on viruses wasn't really clear as I wanted it to be but this was just beyond what I expected," Rigos said.

To learn more about the program and how you can participate, visit www.scientificamerican.com/1000scientists.

For more information on programs designed to engage students in science, technology engineering and math, visit connectamillionminds.com.

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