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Every scientist will tell you that a strong passion for science is the powerful force that drove them through the long hours of coursework and still compels them into the lab or the field every day. Months, even years, can pass without a major breakthrough—but the spark, although it can sometimes be discouraged, never really goes away.

Professors and mentors have access to a wealth of material devoted to reinvigorating an undergratuate student’s or young professional’s passion for science. But what about planting the seed of that passion in younger people? How can complex concepts be boiled down to an eight year old's level of understanding?

Helping to bridge this gap are resources such as StemWorks, a robust web site full of scientific information and science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) activities geared towards children of all ages. In the Cool Jobs section, STEM professionals share how they apply science every day in child focused interviews and videos. These snapshots provide tangible faces and professional paths for children beyond the more traditional career paths.

For OSA members looking for more ideas on how to inspire future scientists, visit OSA’s Education Outreach page!