Students meet renowned Bay Area scientists at Science Alliance’s Dine with a Scientist

By Cathy Wang and Shannon Tseng | Opinions Editor and Publicity Manager

Science Alliance Club hosted their second annual Dine with a Scientist event in the cafeteria on Saturday, Feb. 6. Renowned scientists from around the Bay Area, including Dr. Yang Shao from Vector Labs, Dr. Paul B. Mir from Lawrence Livermore Labs, and Dr. Pratap Chillakanti from Lensoo, came to share their work with more than 60 high school and elementary students and parents. To start the night off, each student was seated at a table with one or two scientists while freshman James Wang, sophomore Claire Cheng, and senior Cathy Wang provided classical background music as guests arrived.

Before starting the dinner, Dr. Richard Zare, Professor of Chemistry at Stanford University, gave a keynote lecture on asking questions and developing interest for science. He also conducted a small experiment with bubbles and dry ice to demonstrate the properties of surface area expansion.

Students then ate with and talked to the scientists who worked in their fields of interest at their dinner tables. Parent volunteer Fahria Khan and the Science Alliance club officers prepared and served a three-course Italian meal, consisting of an appetizer salad, a main course of either spaghetti, alfredo, or penne, and a dessert of chocolate pudding served with whipped cream.

Students acquired knowledge about working in various STEM-related fields including biology, engineering, astronomy, physics, and chemistry. They also received contact information to communicate further with the scientists.

“[Dine with a Scientist] allows students to talk personally with professionals in the field who can offer more insight about a particular subject area that textbooks and classes cannot,” said senior Shubham Gupta, Science Alliance Vice President, “It helps students get a feel for what working in that field would entail if they plan on pursuing it in the future.”

Attendees paid $35 per ticket, and the club plans to donate most of the money raised to the science department for lab equipment and use the rest to club expenses and possible scholarships for seniors.

“We raised $1500 this year compared to $3000 last year, so the event was not as successful as it could have been.” junior Felix Li, Science Alliance Panelist said. “Next year, we’ll market the event better in order to have a larger impact.”