From my childhood days...

Hi everyone! My name is Elaine and I am SO excited to be a PolarTREC educator this year!

I've always loved science as long as I can remember. I grew up in the Midwest which was a great place to explore the world. When I was 10 years old, I asked for a telescope and a microscope for my birthday. I remember begging my parents to stay up late and look at the stars, planets, and lunar eclipses. I would also spend hours collecting samples from the river to look at under my microscope. One time, I even pricked myself with a thumbtack so I could see what my blood looked like. (Please don't try that!)

Elaine exploring a river
I still love exploring rivers and streams even when not collecting samples!

...into college...

I carried that love of "the unseen" with me through college. I started out studying biochemistry at the University of Southern California. Then, this midwesterner fell in love with the ocean - it's another world and it's magical! I spent some time on Catalina Island off the coast of California where I studied the effect of our human coastal cities on plankton and other microscopic organisms. (All that microscope training came in handy!)

Elaine with Crab
Here's a little crab I found while taking sediment cores in Two Harbors, Catalina Island

...through my masters program...

After undergrad, I pursued a masters in Marine and Environmental Biology. But more than doing the science, I loved talking about it. Halfway through my masters, I started taking courses in science communication and science visualization. My passion really exploded. I took the research I had conducted and turned it into an animation entitled "The Nitrogen Cycle" which took 1st Prize at the USC Science Film Festival. I also created 3D models of diatoms based on the work of artist Ernst Haeckel, and current electron microscope imaging.

3D Printed diatoms
Here are three of the diatoms I created 3D models of, and then printed. From L->R: Cornutela Profunda, Bathropyramis Trapezoides, Hexastylus Triaxonius

...and into my career!

After completing my degrees, I found a path into education, working first in outdoor education on Catalina Island and in Big Bear Mountain, California. From there, I've been lucky to spend my past 3 years at the California Science Center. I absolutely love getting to communicate science to school groups, museum visitors, homeschool students, and curious Angelenos I meet out on the road. And I am so excited to see where this PolarTREC adventure takes me! Subscribe to my page for updates on my adventures, educational activities, and lots of science! (Click the button at the top left!)

Elaine at Work
Here's just a snipit of some of the work I get to do at the California Science Center!

Penguins Holding Hands
Look how cute! These penguins clearly love each other as much as I love science <3 (Photo credit: Lollie Garay)

California Science Center
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Amy Osborne

Hi Elaine, I love the story of your journey and the great photos that go along with it. I also love Ernst Haeckel and the 3D model you made!!! I have his book of Radiolaria-it's the plankton that makes up the rocks in the Marin Headlands. Cool 3-D models!!! I look forward to hearing the next chapter in your journey.