By Jason Chen and Wesley Chen

On Wednesday, October 17th, students and scientists gathered at Rancho San Joaquin Middle School for Ask-a-Scientist Night, an annually held district-sponsored event.

At the event, students were given the opportunity to ask scientists about their jobs and for advice. Scientists and engineers came from all over Irvine to help students – from local businesses, industries, and even colleges and universities. These experts, along with IUSD science teachers, helped guide students with their science fair projects and give them helpful information about the different fields of science. Vanessa Dang, a mechanical engineer and one of the experts present, stated that Ask-a-Scientist Night was a good place for aspiring young people and a positive influence on their decisions in the future. She noted that kids would come in with the general knowledge of science and walk out knowing the specifics.

Most kids attending the event were 6th graders seeking help on their science fair projects. Rooms were packed with eager students waiting to receive helpful advice from the people who deal with science every day. According to Nik Sheth, a retired structural engineer with Boeing, most of the questions pertained to science fair projects, and they were often very detailed to grasp a fuller understanding of the concept. It served as a good opportunity for students to gain enthusiasm about the field of science and to obtain guidance in making their projects as good as possible.

On top of their projects, many attendees were curious about what the scientists did everyday. They asked about their occupations, their thinking processes, why they liked science, and many other excellent questions. Students inquiring the experts showed great interest in their answers, and some were inspired to start thinking about possibilities in their futures. Ask-a-Scientist Night, as biologist Monica Siegenthaler puts it, is an opportunity for proper consultations with experienced scientists. Not only is it fun and engaging, but it is also something outside of the box – a rare chance to look science in the eye.

Every year, Ask-a-Scientist Night is held, and every year it is extraordinarily successful. This year was no different, with an abundance of kids flooding the rooms, waiting to be inspired. Both students and scientists alike enjoy coming to ask or answer questions, and both groups value the generous opportunity supplied by the district to raise excitement for science.