Tuesday, November 29, 2016

eCYBERMISSION, Volunteering, and Music: A Perfect STEM Formula

Lisa Benson is what we consider a veteran with the eCYBERMISSION volunteer program. After four years volunteering as a Virtual Judge and one National Judging & Educational Event (NJ&EE) under her belt, Lisa has proven her time and effort in inspiring youth to STEM excellence nationwide.

A college degree in astronomy later turned into a career as a Quality/Test Engineer. Officially titled Physical Scientist, Lisa works for the Night Vision and Electronic Sensors Directorate. If Lisa hadn’t gone into the engineering field, she probably would have become a teacher.

“This is my way of reaching out and educating, and sharing my enthusiasm for the sciences, without actually having to be in a school every day,’ said Lisa. “I don’t think I’d have the stamina of a teacher full-time.”

Volunteering as an eCYBERMISSION Virtual Judge, Lisa draws on her experiences in college, especially when a team is really close but missing a point or a variable in their experiment. Participating in NJ&EE helped put things in perspective for Lisa. She participated in STEM workshops and was able to talk with the kids about her jobs technology.

“To actually see the teams’ projects and hear their thought process was amazing,” said Lisa. “I make sure not to discourage anyone, but let students know that mistakes are a part of science and the overall experimentation process.”

In her free time, Lisa continues to lend her time. Lisa plays the tenor saxophone for the local community band where she lives in Virginia. The band plays all genres of music but more recently has tried to play show tunes and movie soundtracks. Traditional and classical tunes are favorites amongst the community.  

 Just as in music, Lisa feels there’s always opportunity for STEM but it’s not always communicated appropriately.

“I see the STEM opportunity locally but I just don’t see a lot of people taking advantage,” said Lisa. “I definitely find myself looking forward to being a virtual judge with eCYBERMISSION each year.”

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