Scientist Connects with 1,000 Students Worldwide Through Skype a Scientist Program

Congratulations to Lev Looney, a University of Miami graduate student working at NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic Meteorological Laboratory (AOML), for surpassing his 1,000th student through the Skype a Scientist program! 

Skype a Scientist is a nonprofit educational organization that enables scientists to video conference with students in classrooms. ​Scientists volunteer their time and are given the opportunity to connect with students or the public around the world to share about their research. The platform gives students and/or the public the opportunity to get to know a real scientist and get answers to their questions straight from the source. The Skype a Scientist database includes thousands of scientists who work in different fields and study a wide range of topics. 

Headshot photo of Lev Looney.

Lev signed up for Skype a Scientist in 2020 and after 40 video calls across 22 schools to 57 classes he has reached over 1,000 students! These schools have been located in 5 countries (USA, Japan, China, Malaysia, Canada) and 11 states (Michigan, North Carolina, Oregon, Virginia, New York, Texas, South Carolina, Indiana, Wisconsin, Washington, Massachusetts) and include elementary, middle, and high school aged students. 

Lev is pursuing a PhD in Meteorology and Physical Oceanography and focuses his talks on weather, climate, and hurricanes. One of his talks titled “Hurricanes: The Basics and Forecasting” for middle school age level can be seen here

Outside of Skype a Scientist, Lev has been involved with Scientists in Every Florida School, giving similar talks to 5 classes in Florida. He also serves as a pen pal through the Letters to a Pre-Scientists program and is involved in numerous other outreach groups at the University of Miami. 

“I joined Skype a Scientist to help myself get over my fear of public speaking. I love sharing my excitement of science with others and figured this would be a great way to get over my nerves. Not only did it help me drastically improve my communication skills, but Skype a Scientist has also helped keep my passion alive for what I do, especially in the tougher times of grad school! Many of the times, the students teach me things as well. Joining this platform made me realize I want to continue to include teaching others in my career path, something I never thought I would want. I strongly encourage scientists to join and for other professionals to find ways to share their knowledge with others,” said Lev. 

AOML is proud to have multiple scientists participate in Skype a Scientist covering topics ranging from hurricane formation to coral reefs to physical oceanography. If you are interested in participating, either as a scientist, teacher, or group, please visit the Skype a Scientist website. Please visit here for more information regarding Scientists in Every Florida School and here for Letters to a Pre-Scientists.