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Monday, February 26, 2024

Carey Minteer hopes to inspire a classroom of Egyptian students to become scientists.

Minteer is the first entomologist at UF to participate in Skype a Scientist, a program that matches scientists with classrooms across the world. Twenty other scientists from UF have participated in the program.

“I hope I really get to tell them about my job and that being a scientist is one of the coolest things you can do,” Minteer said.

Minteer will speak with an 11th grade class in Egypt by late October, she said. The Skype a Scientist program has held about 4,000 Skype sessions this year in more than 40 countries, wrote Sarah McAnulty, the founder, in an email.

The program shows students that scientists are real people who go out to bars on the weekends, play sports and dress up in Halloween costumes, McAnulty said.

“Scientists are rarely the way we’re depicted in movies — on the whole, we are not cold geniuses, evil masterminds or aloof and lab-coat-wearing,” she said.

McAnulty said the program also gives scientists a fresh outlook on how to approach their projects and gives students a role model they can relate to.

Minteer found out about the program through Twitter and was interested in the chance to debunk myths about scientists, she said. She is looking forward to speaking to the students about her passion for science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, and her career choice.

Minteer’s 11th grade high school teacher Charles Wilson inspired her decision to be a science researcher.

“I have always been interested in science,” she said. “This interest turned into a career I love, thanks to several amazing teachers and mentors. I hope to pay that forward by sharing my passion for science with today’s youth.”

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