Lincoln Interactive Students Chat with Los Alamos National Laboratory Researcher

Dec 13, 2010, 11:52 ET from National Network of Digital Schools

Cutting Edge Science Club students expand their horizons

MIDLAND, Pa., Dec. 13, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Interacting directly with important figures in the science community is a rare opportunity for high school students, but that is exactly what students taking the Lincoln Interactive online curriculum were able to do in an online video chat with Dr. Sebastian Mernild, a leading climate researcher with Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL).

The students, as members of the Cutting Edge Science Club, participate in monthly chats with LANL researchers. Dr. Mernild answered a wide range of questions from the students from how he became a scientist to how his advanced computer models predict climate warming.

The video chat was moderated by Caroline Hardman, Special Projects Coordinator with the National Network of Digital Schools, which is the developer of the Lincoln Interactive online curriculum. Steve Stringer, with LANL's Technology Transfer Division, also participated. The Cutting Edge Science Club chats are the result of a cooperative agreement between LANL's Technology Transfer Division and NNDS to develop curriculum support materials, such as LANL-featured educational videos and other science and engineering-related opportunities for high school students.

Before a round of questions and answers about the scientific research that Dr. Mernild is conducting regarding ice melt and freshwater runoff on the Greenland Ice Sheet, Dr. Mernild shared how his school, military, and career path led him to his current position as a climate researcher.

"The Cutting Edge Science Club is a unique experience for both the students and experts who participate. We think this program is valuable in introducing students to interesting fields in science and helping them to see how work being done in these fields applies to their everyday life," said Hardman. "We often hear back from experts telling us how much fun they had chatting with the students, especially when we open up the floor so that students can ask more free-form questions."

Students participating in the chat are taking an assortment of science courses and range in grade level from middle to high school. When asked about steps they could take to reduce their ecological footprint, the students offered several actions, such as using less electricity, carpooling, recycling, and purchasing local items with less packaging. Stringer said, "The goal is to try to do as many of these things as possible, probably not all at once, but we can always do our part."

Dr. Mernild, who was eager to participate in the forum, said he is looking forward to talking with students again. "It was fun and I enjoyed it a lot. And that hour just ran very fast."

Next month's Cutting Edge Science Club chat will be with Dr. Scott Twary, a bioscientist and algae researcher who is researching and bioengineering algae that can be converted into clean burning biofuel. Dr. Twary participated in the Cutting Edge Science chats last year and was extremely popular with students.

About Dr. Sebastian Mernild: His early interest in mathematics and a range of sciences eventually led him from Denmark, his country of birth, into the ranks of the Danish Army. As an Army Officer, he found that traveling to other countries and landscapes sparked his greater interest in ecology and geology. Following his years in the Army, he attended the University of Copenhagen, where he specialized in climatology and glaciology. He enjoys the work he conducts with LANL's Climate, Ocean and Sea Ice Modeling team and visits Greenland often to gather data from ice and snow measurements.

About NNDS and Lincoln Interactive: The National Network of Digital Schools is a 501(c)3 non-profit management foundation, dedicated to providing the highest quality K-12 online curriculum and comprehensive management services to traditional brick and mortar schools, charter schools and cyber schools focused on expanding educational opportunities for students. As a community foundation, NNDS also lends financial support to educational initiatives that expand opportunities for young people. NNDS empowers its partners to expand curriculum options by offering accelerated courses, alternative education and credit recovery courses – as well as developing more effective educational programs for special education students. Lincoln Interactive is also the premier choice for students who learn best from the safety of their own home.


Contact: Toni Cicone Craig


SOURCE National Network of Digital Schools