COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Hundreds of underserved kids will have an opportunity to get some hands-on science experience from the comfort of their own home, thanks to a new partnership in central Ohio.
“I did a science demonstration to win Miss America, so I kind of came up with this idea of a scientist with a crown on,” explains Camille Schrier, 2020’s Miss America.
Schrier may have worn the crown as Miss America last year, but for central Ohio children, she may soon be known better as “Her Royal Scientist.”
An advocate for women in STEM, and a Doctor of Pharmacy student in Virginia, Schrier partnered with COSI and several local organizations to combine their mission of inspiring science and technology in underserved youth.
“I want to pay that forward to students that may not have those resources, and give them an opportunity to be inspired,” Schrier explains. “Because they can kind of break out of the cycle and give themselves an opportunity to have a really prolific, impactful career if they choose a STEM topic that is something that they’re passionate about. And maybe these boxes can inspire that for them.”
COSI’s “Learning Lunchbox” program is a collaboration with places like the like the Mid-Ohio Food Collective that support underserved communities.
The program delivers immersive kits to children without normal access to hands-on science.
“There are six science and STEM-related demonstrations within the box, and it’s completely self-contained. All of the materials that a student needs are inside of that box,” says Schrier, who reveals the contents of the kit.
Roughly 500 kits were passed out on Tuesday to families as they arrive for their food pantry collections.
“We ‘COSIfy’ it. We make it fun,” says Stephen White, COSI’s Chief Strategy Officer. “We make it engaging, because we know sometimes science can be challenging, but if we make it fun, and we meet people where they are, we believe firmly we can inspire those scientists of the future.”
COSI has handed out nearly 100,000 of their diversely themed Learning Lunchboxes to underserved children across the region.
“Anybody can do science regardless of what their background might be or where they’re from,” White explains.
But “Her Royal Scientist” is a call to young girls in particular.
“I’ve loved science my whole life, and I didn’t always have a lot of female stem role models growing up,” Schrier recalls. “So, as I went into my science career…I was constantly looking for a way to be that role model for young women and young men.”
Now, for Schrier and her partners, this little orange box is an opportunity to amplify that passion.
COSI has already distributed roughly 1,000 “Her Royal Scientist” themed Learning Lunchboxes. For information how to get one for your children, visit cosi.org.