Pat Falcone, deputy director for Science and Technology at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) was a featured panelist in “Paving the Way: A Virtual Conversation,” a special livestream event sponsored by the Quest Science Center.
Watch the recording of the live event here.
Falcone is the principal advocate for the Lab’s science and technology base as well as its collaborative research portfolio. She was joined by three other women, all known as trailblazers and advocates for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) in their respective fields. The panel consisted of Falcone; Nan Ho, biologist and college dean of STEM at Las Positas College; Jayshree Seth, engineer, 3M Corporation; and Camille Schrier, biochemist and Miss America 2020. Schrier, a self-described “science nerd,” is the first scientist to be crowned Miss America.
Quest Advisory Board member and former journalist Susan Houghton moderated the lively discussion and revealed the panelists' paths to STEM careers, how they overcame challenges and obstacles and who inspired them.
“This program was designed to help us all understand how we can make a difference,” Houghton said. “2020 has been an unbelievable year – on many levels and on a myriad of issues. But it is also a year where we can attest that science really does matter. And that is a good thing.”
The theme centered around the panelists’ shared passion of encouraging students to pursue STEM careers. Each of the women shared personal stories and perspectives meant to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers and they encouraged individuals of all ages to tackle society’s important questions and the challenges that benefit from a curious mind.
“One of the great things about the Department of Energy national laboratories is that we practice team science,” Falcone said. “It is a myth that with science and engineering it is a solitary pursuit. It is not — it's teams. When you are working in teams, what that means is that you are bringing your tool set to the table, but you are not expected to understand everything. You do have to come up to speed to understand the problem, so a big part of the skills needed is learning new things and to become those teachers for each other.”
In her concluding remarks, Houghton addressed the panelists. “I have no doubt there are many students watching who are inspired by your stories, perseverance and accomplishments and may soon become the next generation of STEM leaders. I also know there are many colleagues and members of our audience who are grateful for all you have done to advance science and engineering. Thanks to each of you for making such an incredible difference in the lives of so many.”
For more information about this event and other STEM programs, visit the Quest Science Center website.
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