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Dinner with a Scientist Leaves a Lasting Impact

A Night of Inquiry, Biomimicry, and Professional Inspiration

The Tuolumne County Superintendent of Schools (TCSOS) celebrated a successful Dinner with a Scientist event on Monday, December 4, 2023, held at the Oak Pavilion on the Columbia College campus. This engaging event united 198 participants, including 33 distinguished STEM professionals, 35 teachers from 15 school sites, and an enthusiastic cohort of 130 5th to 8th-grade students from Tuolumne County.

Supported by generous funding from Stantec through the Sonora Area Foundation, this collaborative initiative aimed to ignite curiosity, foster a love for science, and bridge connections among students, educators, and professionals in the field of science.

This year’s event showcased a wide array of professionals quietly working within our community, addressing critical aspects such as safety, public health for humans and pets, environmental understanding, energy provision, infrastructure development, and global monitoring. The event highlighted the diversity and significance of expertise in our community, “From trees to tunnels, satellites to soil, we’ve got a variety of experts here tonight.” stated Tricia Dunlap, TCSOS STEM Coordinator, in her opening remarks.

The evening culminated in an enriching hands-on biomimicry activity led by Dunlap. Biomimicry, an innovative approach that draws inspiration from nature’s designs and processes to solve human challenges and create sustainable solutions, provided students with a unique opportunity to explore nature’s wisdom and apply it to real-world problem-solving.

“We extend our heartfelt gratitude to Columbia College for their invaluable partnership and gracious hosting of our Dinner with a Scientist event,” expressed Dunlap. “The support from Stantec through the Sonora Area Foundation has been instrumental in enabling this enriching experience for our community’s students, teachers, and STEM professionals.”

The interactive sessions, direct engagement with scientists, and the hands-on biomimicry activity served as catalysts for inspiring future innovators and fostering meaningful connections between academia and the professional STEM community.

The success of the Dinner with a Scientist event reaffirms TCSOS’s commitment to promoting scientific literacy and empowering the next generation of thinkers and problem-solvers.