2021 News

Recognizing Outstanding Volunteers for K-12 Programs

October 4, 2021

Since Fall 2020, 252 volunteers have dedicated their time and effort in supporting Berkeley Lab K-12 programs. The enthusiasm and expertise of the volunteers were crucial in providing meaningful and engaging educational opportunities for the next generation of scientists.

Volunteers contributed in numerous ways to various K-12 programs. From giving career talks in classrooms through Let’s Talk About STEM to putting together STEM kits for SAGE Summer Camp, volunteers were key in all aspects of programming, including logistics, content development, facilitation, and mentorship. The recently published Exposure article highlights K-12 summer programs and the impact that volunteers had on students and educators who took part in these programs.

Below, we highlight 15 volunteers who went above and beyond in devoting their time to K-12 programs. They will be formally recognized during the Office of Government and Community Relations’ Volunteer Appreciation Event on Thursday, October 7th. (The recording of this event can be found here.)

Dula Parkinson (above) and Rebecca Carney (below) giving career talks for Acorn Woodland Elementary School's College & Career Day

Jonelle Basso


BLDAP, Community Collaborations, Teacher Externship Week Speaker

Natasha Brown


SAGE Project Committee Co-Lead

Micah Folsom

(Physical Sciences)

Career Talks, Community Collaborations, Let’s Talk About STEM, Nuclear Science Day, Teacher Externship Week Speaker, SAGE

Bryce Foster



Mariah Parker

(Energy Sciences)

Family STEM Festival, Let’s Talk About STEM, Live Science, Teacher Externship Week speaker

Dula Parkinson

(Energy Sciences)

Career Talks, Experiences in Research mentor, Let’s Talk About STEM, Live Science

Anand Prakash

(Energy Technologies)

BLDAP, Community Collaborations, Let’s Talk About STEM

Laurie Stephey

(Computing Sciences)

BLDAP, Experiences in Research mentor

Rebecca Sugrue

(Energy Technologies)

SAGE Project Committee Co-Lead

The below volunteers are also part of the Teaching Scholars program, a joint collaboration between the Career Pathways Office and K-12 Programs. All of these scholars have dedicated over 50 hours in service.

Srinidhi Bheesette

(Physical Sciences)


Rebecca Carney

(Physical Sciences)

Let’s Talk About STEM, Live Science, Nuclear Science Day, SAGE

Xi Chen


Experiences in Research mentor, Let’s Talk About STEM

Lisa Claus

(Computing Sciences)

Community Collaborations, Experiences in Research mentor, SAGE Professional Growth Committee Co-Lead

Sara Gushgari-Doyle

(Earth and Environmental Sciences)

BLDAP, Live Science

Bashir Mohammed

(Computing Sciences)

Let’s Talk About STEM

Sign up for future opportunities through the new volunteer portal

Berkeley Lab recently rolled out a new volunteer portal, through which Lab employees can easily find and sign up to volunteer for K-12 and community programs. All Lab employees are encouraged to sign up!

10th Annual Nuclear Science Day

February 27, 2021

This year, the Nuclear Science Division, Accelerator Technology and Applied Physics Division, the Advanced Light Source, and the Government and Community Relations Office hosted their 10th annual Nuclear Science Day in a virtual format. Over 200 scouts in middle and high school joined us to learn about nuclear science, radiation, isotopes, and other topics in particle physics! Volunteers also led the participants through exciting lab tours and experimental equipment demonstrations.

Through attending Nuclear Science Day and completing the activity worksheet, participants earned their Nuclear Science Merit Badge (Boy Scouts of America) and Get-to-Know-Nuclear Badge (Girl Scouts). Over the past 10 years of Nuclear Science Day, we have hosted and awarded badges to over 2000 total scouts. Congratulations to the participants this year for earning their badges and we look forward to welcoming troops back on-site next year!

Thanks to Alan Poon for organizing the event and to the many volunteers ( a few pictured below) for their support.

Groundhog Day: Season Science Family STEAM Night

SAfG's Mo hosting a capillary action activity
EESA volunteer Kolby Jardine's garden ecosystem tour
EESA volunteer Hang Deng's storm formation demo
January 28, 2021

Berkeley Lab K-12 partnered with Scientific Adventures for Girls (SAfG) to host a climate science themed virtual STEAM night with Bay Area families on January 28. SAfG aims to remove systemic barriers to participation in STEM for girls and underserved youths with hands-on learning activities. Their program provides learning opportunities in STEM subjects, challenges stereotypes in STEM professions, and increases positive attitudes toward STEM. Our team has previously partnered with SAfG to extend our support for education and outreach with elementary level students.

At Groundhog Day: Season Science, SAfG teacher Mo Henigman introduced themselves as Marmota monax, also the scientific name for groundhogs, and launched our climate and environmental science themed event. Co-hosts Mo and Alisa Bettale (from the K-12 team) then led kids and their adults through virtual demonstrations that simplify complex scientific concepts in plants and weather. Prior to the event, attendees received STEAM kits containing materials for the activities. Worksheets are also available for anyone who wants to try the activities at home: capillary action, LED flashlight, and glowing groundhog bag. Mo and Alisa were also joined by volunteers from Berkeley Lab's Earth and Environmental Sciences Area. Kolby Jardine (middle), a plant and microbial research scientist, took us on a tour of his backyard garden ecosystem and demonstrated how seasons affect photosynthesis. Hang Deng (right), an environmental research scientist, used colored water to demonstrate how hot and cold fronts move and how storm formation occurs as a result. For a quick stretch break, The ClimateMusic Project, a collaboration of scientists and musicians who communicate climate science through music, shared a composition called Climate by composer Erik Ian Walker. The piece uses climate data and projections such as carbon dioxide concentration from the 1800s to 2250 to guide musical progression. To conclude the event, kids were encouraged to continue observing their hands-on projects as well as their environment. We look forward to seeing how the students continue engaging in climate science!