Von Steuben Metropolitan Science Center
Julio Mendez Sr. is a physics and engineering teacher, and robotics coach, at Von Steuben Metropolitan Science Center. He is passionate about reaching students who have given up on science and opening up the doors of science and engineering to diverse students, who have been traditionally underrepresented in the STEM fields, at all levels. He works with the Smithsonian Science Education Center in an initiative to diversify the STEM teacher workforce, to more reflect the changing face of the students in our country’s schools and to promote the retention of said teachers, through the mentoring of teams of administrators and teacher leaders who are implementing plans of action within their schools or districts.
Julio is participating in an engineering experience with Dr. Avanaki and his team at the OPIRA, the Optical & Photoacoustic Imaging Research and Analysis Laboratory. The lab works in the research of Photoacoustic imaging. The team is a multinational group of post-doc, Phd students and the occasional undergrad and high school student.
Julio is bringing this experience back to his class through creating experiences for his high school science students to experience the engineering aspect of the research world. Science cannot always be conducted with existing tools and implements, therefore new and sometimes revolutionary methods or devices need to be invented to follow through on the scientific investigations.