Heather Tomasello is a long-time ExploraVision mentor for her daughter’s team at Pine View Middle School in Land O’ Lakes, FL. Last year, she mentored a grade 4-6 science team that won 1st place nationally and was honored at the ExploraVision Awards Weekend in Washington, DC.
Q: How did you first get involved with ExploraVision?
A: It’s a bit of an interesting story. I competed for merit scholarships all throughout my education. In fact, I helped pay my college tuition with all of the prize money I won. When I became a mom, I wanted my kids to share the same, positive experience of getting rewarded for innovative thinking.
Q: How long have you been involved with this science competition?
A: I have served as an ExploraVision team mentor since my kids were in kindergarten. Obviously, the requirements looked much different in kindergarten compared to now—in middle school—but some concepts are universal. As the unofficial “team mom,” I always offer the kitchen table and a positive voice of encouragement.
Q: What is the best way to help a team struggling with prioritization?
A: I do my best to make ExploraVision seem less daunting by breaking down large sections into smaller, simpler tasks. This ultimately keeps everyone focused and engaged in the scientific process
Caption: In Spring 2015, Heather’s middle school team was awarded 1st place nationally for its biodegradable tablet prototype.
Q: Do you have advice for mentors considering getting involved in a child’s STEM education?
A: My advice is to go for it! STEM combines all different kinds of disciplines that set students up for success in life. Creativity, problem solving, and dreaming of a better future inspire ‘reluctant scientists.’
Are you ready to impact students just like Heather? Register a team now for ExploraVision.