Dr. Morgan Cable — Her Story From Science Fairs to Saturn

Dr. Morgan Cable credits her successful career to early exposure to science.

Dr. Morgan Cable, the first-ever grand prize winner of the Dr. Nelson Ying Science Competition in 1999, has camped atop Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, conducted research in the Atacama Desert in Chile, and has run multiple summer space camps in South Korea. Now, a Research Scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, Morgan focuses on asking questions about possible life in space.

 

She has worked on multiple projects like the Cassini Mission, which explored the Saturn system for more than 10 years, and as a collaborator on an instrument that will go on NASA’s next mission to Jupiter’s icy moon Europa. Her life story is full of scientific discovery and adventure, which is why she was one of the speakers at Orlando Science Center’s 2018 Galaxy Gala.

 

D. Morgan Cable was exposed to science at the earliest of ages. Growing up on the Space Coast in Titusville, she recalls “that undoubtedly had an effect on my upbringing, I was able to see numerous rocket launches just from my window!” Her father, a chemist at Kennedy Space Center — and Morgan’s biggest inspiration — always encouraged her to ask questions, and in doing so opened her to a world of exploration. She also credits frequent visits to Orlando Science Center to sparking an interest in science. “I liked that I could play and have fun, but I was also learning something.”

 

As an 8th grade student, she entered the first Dr. Nelson Ying Science Competition with the goal of helping humanity through scientific research. Young Morgan conducted a science project about whether or not she could grow a certain type of bacteria in a Martian environment. She was awarded the grand prize for her efforts.

 

Morgan heavily credits science competitions and organizations like Orlando Science Center for furthering her interest and passion in STEM learning. She recalls her ‘a-ha’ moment when realizing “wow, there are still so many
questions to be answered, and I could do this for a living!”

 

According to Morgan, exposing children to science at a young age is the most important thing parents, schools, and institutions can be doing.

 

“Science can be intimidating if you experience it later in life, if you’re shown it over and over again in a comfortable and fun setting, it becomes so much more approachable for all children. There is a really big mental hurdle in this field of thinking you’re not smart enough or not capable, but I’m here to tell you YES you are!” – Dr. Morgan Cable

 

Her message for anyone beginning to pursue a career in STEM is this: “No one knows your true potential except you. I have met scientists and engineers for NASA that used to be musicians and then one day decided they wanted to be a scientist and went for it. There is no right way to go about it. As long as you’re passionate about it – do it.”

Prestigious Dr. Nelson Ying Science Competition Names 2020 Teen Finalists

Prestigious Science Competition Moves Judging Online for Teens to Present their Groundbreaking Research Projects 

Since 1999, Dr. Nelson Ying — a scientist, entrepreneur and philanthropist — has partnered with Orlando Science Center to celebrate the exemplary research of visionary high school science students through an annual science competition in his name.

 

Every year during the Dr. Nelson Ying Science Competition, five students from across Central Florida are selected to present their groundbreaking scientific research to a prestigious Judges panel. One winner is selected to receive a cash scholarship as well as cash prizes for their teacher and their school.

 

This year, finalists were scheduled to present their research on Saturday, April 18 at Orlando Science Center with an awards ceremony planned for Sunday, April 19 at Dubsdread Country Club in nearby College Park. Unfortunately, Orlando Science Center has been closed to the public as a public health precaution since March 16. Instead of cancelling this event, Dr. Ying and Orlando Science Center decided to move the competition online.

 

Dr. Ying and Orlando Science Center didn’t want a global pandemic to stop this competition, which has been a tradition for over two decades. Finalists will now present to the judges via Zoom on Saturday and then attend a virtual awards ceremony on Sunday.

 

To compete in the Dr. Nelson Ying Science Competition, each entrant must perform a research project that has the ultimate goal of benefiting humanity. Projects are presented to a judges’ panel, consisting of retired engineers, scientists, educators, and Dr. Ying himself.

 

The finalists for the 2020 Dr. Nelson Ying Science Competition are as follows:

  • Kyle Bramblett, Titusville High School, for trying to see if an artificial structure could have significant effects on oyster growth, increasing oyster spats, and improving water quality.
  • Nathan Foo, West Shore Junior/Senior High School, for testing to see if mechanically simulated kangaroo care is an efficient and feasible method for treating preterm babies.
  • Ian Henriques, Seminole High School, for devising a simple, adaptive model for controlling drones for service during natural disasters in a way that conserves fuel and avoids collisions.
  • Varsha Naga, Winter Springs High School, developing a technique to reduce the risk of infectious deaths in patients with central venous catheters.
  • Pranav Swaminathan, Spruce Creek High School, for designing a low cost and practical device for motorcycles that can be used to reduce emissions.

 

Please check back on Monday, April 20 when we share the winner of the competition. The winner will receive $5,000, $1,000 for their school and $1,000 for their teacher or mentor. Previous winners have gone on to continue their research at top universities, such as MIT and Johns Hopkins and even work for NASA.

Renewable Energy Workshops — OUC Project A.W.E.S.O.M.E Lessons For Your Virtual Classroom

Project AWESOME is a collaboration between Orlando Science Center and OUC that has impacted over 100,000 students in Orange and Osceola counties over the past decade through renewable energy workshops.

 

These renewable energy workshops are typically delivered directly to the classroom, but since schools are currently closed due to precautions around COVID-19, this effort has shifted online. There will be 7 lessons available in the form of a voiced over PowerPoint. Each lesson will include science content, discussion questions, an activity for students to complete, and a reflection.

In 2009, Orlando Science Center created a STEM-based program on water conservation and alternative energy partnership with OUC - The Reliable One which has reached every 5th grader in OUC's service area. These hands-on renewable energy workshops stimulate STEM skills like critical thinking, communication and collaboration through projects that address real-world issues around water conservation and alternative energy.

 

Project AWESOME stands for Alternative Water and Energy Supply; Observation, Methods and Education. It brings science to life for thousands of students every year through inquiry-based instruction focused on renewable energies and water conservation. Students are immersed in real-world environmental problems that enhance their abilities to think creatively about sustainable solutions for today’s challenges. Additionally, the OUC Project A.W.E.S.O.M.E. includes curriculum content that reinforces concepts taught in-class and helps prepare students for Florida Standardized Assessment testing.

 

If you are not an educator or are looking for more at-home learning resources, view our resources page here.

Orlando Science Center Brought STEM Learning to the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba

Orlando Science Center was recently invited to bring hands-on STEM learning to the thousands of men, woman, and children living on the US Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Our mission is to inspire science learning for life and our team is dedicated to creating iconic experiences that spark curiosity and wonder for curious minds of all ages.

 

Our organization’s Education Outreach Team is providing hands-on learning within and beyond our organization’s walls throughout the year, often traveling throughout the state to facilitate programs at schools and community centers. However, this instance is the first time the team has left the country to provide educational programs.

 

Orlando Science Center hosted activities for students and families for several days, from June 7-10, including workshops at the base’s school, several family events and one evening exclusively for adults. Activities included a variety of hands-on activities, including engineering challenges, drone demonstrations, telescope viewing, and a mobile planetarium show. Families stationed at Guantanamo Bay are not allowed to leave the base so Orlando Science Center’s team provided welcome entertainment in addition to essential STEM learning.

 

Outreach is an important part of our organization’s mission because not everyone has access to a science center in their community. As we do our part to help fill the pipeline for future STEM workers, it is important to reach as broad an audience as possible. Young people engaged by hands-on STEM experiences help build important skills in critical thinking, problem-solving, communication and collaboration as well as learn about pathways to exciting careers.

 

By bringing a little of Orlando Science Center to those who wouldn’t experience it otherwise, our team has helped unlock a universe of possibilities. You never know who you might inspire during a live science show or by teaching someone how to program a robot to accomplish a task. Such experiences can ignite a passion for knowledge that can fuel a lifetime of discovery.

 

If you'd like to view the photo album from our trip, please click on the photo below: 

 

Orlando Science Center Brings Activities to Guantanamo Bay

Dr. Nelson Ying Science Competition Winner is Pooja Shah

High School Junior’s Green Algae Research Scores Top Prize!

Pooja Shah, a junior at Melbourne’s West Shore Jr./Sr. High School was named the grand prize winner in Orlando Science Center’s Dr. Nelson Ying Science Competition. The awards ceremony was held on Sunday, April 28 at the historic Dubsdread Ballroom near Orlando Science Center.

 

For over 20 years, Dr. Nelson Ying — a local scientist, entrepreneur and philanthropist — has partnered with Orlando Science Center to celebrate the exemplary achievements of our community’s young scientists.  Shah’s research project on green algae was rewarded with a $5,000 scholarship, a $1,000 award for her science teacher and an additional $1,000 for her school.

 

To compete in the Dr. Nelson Ying Science Competition, each entrant must perform a research project that ultimately benefits humanity by solving a world problem. Projects are presented to a distinguished panel of judges including current and retired engineers, scientists, educators, and Dr. Ying himself.

Pooja Shah, Grand Prize winner of the 2019 Dr. Ying Science Competition

 

Shah’s research project created a quorum sensing model in green algae, which can lead to a better understanding of these organisms. Ultimately, her findings could help researchers to develop solutions to algae blooms, coral reef disease and threats to human health.

She has been researching in a plant physiology lab at Florida Institute of Technology since her freshman year. In addition to science, her interests include playing the violin, running cross country and playing basketball. Shah also coaches a special needs basketball team and hopes to combine her love of science research with her passion for helping others with a career in the medical field after college.

First Runner Up

Her fellow finalists were also recognized with prizes. First runner up honors were shared by Kyle Bramblett, a junior at Titusville High School, and Kishen Mitra, also a junior at West Shore. Both reserved $1500 scholarships for their research. Bramblett designed an artificial structure that would have significant effects on increasing the average oyster growth rate and improving the calcium and carbonate levels in water near these structures while Mintra is devoted to developing an organ-on-a-chip system as a risk prediction tool for assessing damage during radiation therapy on patients.

Kyle Bramblett, First Runner Up of the 2019 Dr. Ying Science Competition
Kyle Bramblett, First Runner Up of the 2019 Dr. Ying Science Competition
Kishen Mitra, First Runner Up of Dr. Ying Science Competition
Kishen Mitra, First Runner Up of the 2019 Dr. Ying Science Competition

Second Runner Up 

Second Runner up was a tie between Alex Carnes, a junior at Lake Highland Preparatory School in Orlando, and Laboni Santra, a sophomore at Oviedo High School. Carnes created an application that would allow parents to non-intrusively monitor their child’s social media accounts for cyberbullying while Santra designed and fabricated microneedle patches for delivery of therapeutics directly to phloem tissue, which combats citrus greening – a bacterial threat to Florida’s nine billion dollar citrus industry.

Alex Carnes, Second Runner Up of the Dr. Ying Science Competition
Alex Carnes, Second Runner Up of the Dr. Ying Science Competition
Laboni Santra, Second Runner Up of the Dr. Ying Science Competition
Laboni Santra, Second Runner Up of the Dr. Ying Science Competition

Dr. Nelson Ying is a longtime supporter of Orlando Science Center. In 1997, after sponsoring numerous exhibits and serving on the board, he decided to try something new.  He wanted to support the Science Center’s mission to inspire science learning for life while also creating an opportunity to inspire and encourage exceptional science achievement among young people.

 

He and Fred Curtis, another long-time Science Center volunteer and donor, started the Dr. Ying Science Competition in 1998. Ying hopes to inspire young people to become good role models and successful world-changers by leveraging their passion for science. Dr. Ying’s son, Nelson Jr., now oversees the competition with Ying and Curtis in collaboration with Orlando Science Center.

Science Stars Compete for Top Prize

Since 1999, Dr. Nelson Ying — local scientist, entrepreneur and philanthropist — has partnered with Orlando Science Center to celebrate the exemplary achievements of local science students through the Dr. Nelson Ying Science Competition. Beginning April 26 and ending with a finalist luncheon on April 28, high school students from across Central Florida will present their groundbreaking scientific research that has the potential to solve some of humanity’s most pressing issues.

 

To compete in the Dr. Nelson Ying Science Competition, each entrant must perform a research project that has the ultimate goal of benefiting humanity. Projects are presented to a distinguished panel of judges including current and retired engineers, scientists, educators, and Dr. Ying himself.

 

This science competition has been a part of Orlando Science Center for 21 years, and along with Dr. Ying, is thrilled to be able give these future innovators a platform to showcase their talents. The winner of the competition will receive $5,000 for their hard work, $1,000 for their school and $1,000 for their teacher or mentor. Previous winners have gone on to continue their research at top universities and even work at NASA.

 

From cyberbullying solutions, to saving Florida’s nine-billion dollar citrus industry, these are the finalists of the 2019 Dr. Nelson Ying Science Competition

 

Kyle Bramblett_2019 Ying Finalist
Kyle Bramblett, 2019 Ying Finalist

Kyle Bramblett

 

Kyle Bramblett is a junior at Titusville High School. His passion for swimming, fishing and kayaking has inspired him to dedicate his life to saving marine ecosystems through environmental engineering. Kyle will be presenting his groundbreaking research on designing an artificial structure to house a calcite media that dissolves over an extended period of time. Scientists can use this design to increase oyster populations and improve calcium and carbonate levels in the water.

 

Laboni Santra_2019 Ying Finalist
Laboni Santra, 2019 Ying Finalist

Laboni Santra

 

Laboni Santra, a sophomore at Oviedo High School, has been dedicated to resolving the phloem-restricted bacterial disease of citrus greening since middle school. Her groundbreaking work has led her to success in the Florida State Science and Engineering Fair and a state bid to the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. She will be presenting the 3D-printed novel microneedle patch she designed to directly deliver therapeutics to phloem to resolve citrus greening.

 

Kishen Mitra_ 2019 Ying Finalist
Kishen Mitra, 2019 Ying Finalist

Kishen Mintra

Kishen Mitra is a junior at West Shore Junior/Senior High School. When he’s not carrying out his duties as founder of his school’s Engineering Club, performing with local orchestras and volunteering at the Space Coast FabLab, Kishen is pursuing his dream to enter the field of cardio-oncology. He will be presenting cutting-edge research on developing an organ-on-a-chip system that works as a risk prediction tool for assessing damage during radiation therapy on patients.

Alex Carnes_ 2019 Ying Finalist
Alex Carnes, 2019 Ying Finalist

Alex Carnes

Alex Carnes has been passionate about STEM since he was a child. After pursuing projects in hydroponics and post-athletic evaluation in middle school, Alex’s love for computer programming and his desire improve the world led him to develop an app to curb cyberbullying and adolescent suicide. He will be showcasing his innovative app that would allow parents to non-intrusively monitor their child's social media accounts for cyberbullying.

 

Pooja Shah, 2019 Ying FInalist
Pooja Shah, 2019 Ying FInalist

Pooja Shah

 

Pooja Shah is a junior at West Shore Junior/Senior High School. In addition to being a part of a plant physiology lab at Florida Institute of Technology, Pooja also plays violin, partakes in track and basketball and coaches a special needs basketball team. She is presenting her innovative quorum sensing model in green algae to help researchers develop solutions to algae blooms, coral reef disease and threats to human health.