Introducing the 2021-2022 Middle School Chief Science Officers

Pardes places a strong emphasis on innovation and STEAM (Science. Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) for all students, and our Chief Science Officers (CSOs) reflect this academic priority. These seventh and eighth graders are proud to represent Pardes as this year’s CSOs: 

Pace S. 

Noam G. 

Lev S.

Emmett U.

The CSOs attended a summer Leadership Training Institute to connect with peers at other schools and to begin their Action Plan to create student-led innovation/STEM programs at Pardes. The students then kicked off the school year by participating in a variety of summits and meetings, including the STEM & Innovation Summit at the Arizona Science Center. This annual event bringing those within the STEM community together for a day of demonstrations, hands-on explorations, and networking opportunities. Our CSOs were also able to attend the Fall Cabinet Meeting, a virtual event for CSOs.

Laurie Burckhardt and Nicole De Palma, co-advisors of the Pardes CSO Chapter, believe this program starts with a curiosity and builds into so much more. “In addition to building leadership skills, students are able to go on trips and listen to individuals within the STEM community, such as Boeing, University of Arizona Medical School, and Barrett Jackson to peak their interest in potential careers. Students also plan at least one activity for STEAM Night at Pardes,” Burckhardt explains.

“My expectation for our CSOs this year is that they come up with creative, fun ways to engage our school in STEM activities and to enhance and enrich our STEM program,” De Palma continues.

Noam enjoys participating in something other students may not think to participate in – such as Student Council and other clubs. Lev echoes this thought, adding that CSO is something he can continue into his high school career.

The CSOs are part of an elite cohort of over 250 national Chief Science Officers. As individual chapters and as a collective whole, the students work hard to address campus issues regarding innovation and STEM-related topics to help grow this type of learning within their schools. “For me, being a CSO means having some input in what my school does in science, math, and Makerspace. I want to impact the school in a unique way,” Emmett explains. The program encourages student voice by placing youth in the center of STEM experiences, career exploration events, and community conversation.