Skype a Scientist connects scientists and engineers with classrooms across the world. The scientists give a brief presentation about their work before answering questions about their field, science in general and being a working scientist.

Through Skype a Scientist I spoke with classes aged from 6 to 16, in classrooms from Brooklyn and Chicago to rural Ohio. The presentations were largely about 3D printing but also covered some of the more fundamental details about material science and metals.

Talking with some of older students was a great opportunity to impart some advice about higher education and science careers. The oldest pupils will be graduating in a few years and have already began to consider university and career options.

However, fielding questions from first and second graders is the most interesting and challenging part of Skype a Scientist. Children can cut straight to the point with no filter, “who cares any of this?” or can catch you off guard with a questions you’ve never considered, “can you 3D-print a cat?” or “how do you make sticky tape?”.

Skype a Scientist has a database of thousands of scientists and helps them connect with classrooms, families, libraries, scout troops, and more. Dr. Rob Snell took part in March 2021.