Meet the creators of the Life On Other Planets video series! Lily, Sierra, Phoebe and Sonia share their thoughts on making videos, hobbies, and the Galaxy Explorers program.
- What inspired you to create this video series?
Sonia: I’ve been interested in space since middle school and when I learned about the probably infinite status of the universe, the existence of extraterrestrial life has seemed possible and probable. Most people think of aliens as something supernatural and almost impossible but it is basically the opposite. I wanted to learn more about extraterrestrial life and share our findings.
Sierra: Originally, we were planning to make a video series on Black Holes, but then we attended an UP Workshop (one of the enrichment activities Chabot provides for GEs) about Phosphine and possible life on Venus. It was incredibly interesting and engaging and we thought that other people in our community and beyond would enjoy learning more about extraterrestrial life as much as we did!
- What is a challenge you faced while making the videos, and how did you overcome it?
Sonia: One challenge that we had was finding the appropriate level of content. The search for extraterrestrial life has a lot of technical aspects that we could go very far into so we had to decide what parts to mention and what parts to not. We needed to make sure our videos were digestible but still interesting to our desired audience (middle schoolers.)
Sierra: There’s so much information out there about space-science and the search for extraterrestrial life. It can be sort of overwhelming at times! We had to think about the important aspects we wanted to talk about, and then figure out how we were going to split that information up.
- What are your future video ideas?
Lily: We are currently working on a video on what we have seen so far and have two more lined up: theories on why we have not made contact with aliens and habitable planets that we know of.
- What do you like to do outside of Chabot?
Lily: I play marimba in my school’s percussion group.
Phoebe: I play tennis, read, watch TV and movies, and volunteer for an organization called ENGin.
Sonia: I enjoy photography, hiking, and drama tech at my school!
Sierra: I’m a part of my school’s cross country and track team, and I go backpacking with my family about once a year.
- What motivated you to explore STEM?
Phoebe: I liked programming and computer science classes in school, so that got me into the STEM field in the first place. I also looked into STEM opportunities due to interest in after school activities such as internships and volunteering.
Lily: My brother has always been super into biology, so we spent a lot of time together watching documentaries and doing activities like birding which got me more into STEM too.
Sonia: I’ve been interested in science since middle school because I love finding out how things work, specifically on an atomic level. All these cool things are hiding in our everyday activities and I want to learn as much about it as I can. Learning about the large large scale also interests me because it’s like we’re the cool things happening on the much smaller level!
Sierra: When I was little I would always imagine myself as an astronaut when I got older, so that’s just motivated me to explore STEM fields. I’m still holding out that maybe I’ll get to work in space-science, but as I learn more about different STEM subjects I realize that there’s so much more out there to explore!
- What is your favorite aspect of the Galaxy Explorers program?
Phoebe: My favorite part of the GE program is in-person demos. It feels rewarding to be actively teaching my community and helping kids become more interested in science.
Sonia: I’ve only experienced the GE program on zoom so far but I’ve really enjoyed the speakers! They’re incredibly knowledgeable and I love getting deep into a subject with an expert! I hope I’ll be able to take part in-person next year and I’m really excited to teach kids and hopefully spark the same interest that great teachers have sparked in me!
Lily: I’ve also only been a GE over Zoom, but I love the chance to meet new people, and I also really enjoy all of the guest speaker workshops!
- How has the Galaxy Explorer program changed since quarantine? How have you adapted to these new circumstances?
Lily: I joined Chabot when we were already quarantined, so I’m just excited to see what happens when I get to go to the museum in the future!
Phoebe: Before quarantine a majority of the program was about in person demonstrations to visitors, but now we focus our time on online Special Teams meetings and UP Workshops. To adapt to these changes, I have learned to organize my time better to make sure I don’t forget about online meetings and set aside time for research as well.
Sierra: Before quarantine, I only did the Museum Floor shifts, so in a way there have been some positive (?) aspects to being stuck at home. I’m so glad that I’ve started going to UP Workshops and am participating in Astro Team this year. I’ve definitely had to work on my time management skills as well, but in the end it’s worth it and I’m looking forward to when we’re able to safely meet in person again.
- What advice can you give to kids or people who want to learn during quarantine?
Phoebe: Virtual tours of museums are great because you could “visit” a museum that is normally inaccessible to you and these tours can be really interesting. Watching documentaries is my favorite way to learn because not only are they informative, but also quite enjoyable.
Sonia: I can get a little distracted sometimes so what I’ve been doing is watching videos on youtube of pretty niche subjects while crocheting or embroidering to combine two interests! it can be a lot of fun and it feels good to learn!
Check out some of their videos!