We are accustomed to seeing kids line up for autographs from their favorite sports stars or music idols. But a scientist? That’s exactly what happens after each inspirational session a NHSOY scientist leads for economically disadvantaged, at-risk(for dropping out of school) middle school children who are disproportionately represented by ethnic minorities. In our partnership with the Hillsborough School District, these middle school kids ride a charter bus to MOSI, funded by donors, for our “Meet the Scientist” day. Each experiences MOSI’s educational environment, receives a shirt, a wholesome meal, and a few hours in a social and fun learning setting. But most importantly, they meet a human being who tells them a compelling story about growing up to become a scientist and their life’s work.

No one tells the kids they have to line up to have their MOSI shirt signed. Many of them choose to stand in line after the talk to meet and share a few words with the NHSOY scientist and get an autograph. Over the course of the day, more than 1,000 kids will have this opportunity. To date, MOSI has touched the lives of more than 10,000 kids with our NHSOY program and partnership with the Hillsborough School District.

Our kids are growing up in a world that faces daunting and complex problems, from the effects of human-induced climate change, the scarcity of clean water, the rapidly evolving world of biology, the information explosion, the use of new sensors and robotics in medicine, the promise of 3D printing and nanotechnology, just to name a few. The solutions to these fundamentally scientific problems and their policy implications will come from future STEAM practitioners.

Role models make a big difference in the growth of kids and here at MOSI, by interacting with our NHSOY scientist and the YES! Team, they have a profound opportunity to be inspired and believe they can also make it. We work so they can commit to a simple yet transformational self-promise:

I will stay in school, go to college and grow up to become a scientist just like the one I met at MOSI.

Our world and their future depends on more of today’s kids doing just that.

Find out the impact of NHSOY’s Meet the Scientist Day on the community by reading these letters submitted to

Molly Demeulenaere, President and CEO of MOSI.