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Preston gal meets science guy Nye

School senior featured in video

Bronx Times
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The Bronx has its own science girl.

A Preston High School senior was featured in an educational video with Bill Nye the Science Guy.

Donna Grace Moleta, 17, won the chance to assist Nye through the educational company Sophia’s “Get Schooled” contest. The first step in the contest was successfully completing a online, college-level course through Sophia.org. In Moleta’s case, it was college algebra. After grades were in, Moleta submitted a tweet to win to meet the man she calls her childhood hero.

“I <3 Bill Nye w/ all of my hypothalamus: he’s why I’m going into science. I want to help him Change the World! by inspiring passion in STEM,” was Moleta’s 140-character ticket to meet Nye.

Moleta, whose interest in science was piqued by a chemistry poster in her second-grade classroom, said she has been watching Bill Nye the Science Guy videos for as long as she can remember.

“Meeting my childhood hero was one of the greatest experience of my life,” she said, “It’s something I’ll never forget.”

Moleta said she admires Nye’s commitment to engaging people in science through his fun videos.

“He’s such a strong believer in what science and education can do,” she said.

Moleta has her own plans for changing the world through science. Her interest in environmental issues and love of science is leading her to pursue a career as an environmental engineer after she graduates from the Throggs Neck Catholic school.

Moleta traveled all the way to the Mall of America in Minnesota on Feb. 23 in order to meet Nye and participate in science demonstrations with him and his assistant.

One experiment involved blowing out a candle with different methods, such as sound waves and a pulse generator.

Another showed how a vacuum that connected two glass panes created a suction that even 16 people could not overcome.

A third involved Nye lying on a bed of nails with a cinder block on top of him, showing the effects of weight distribution.

“It was so much fun,” Moleta said of the experience.

The experiments Moleta participated in will be featured in an upcoming Bill Nye video.

Preston High School Principal Jane Grendell said the school’s community is proud of Moleta’s academic initiative that led her to complete the online college level course through Sophia.

“We’re also delighted that she had the opportunity to meet and assist Bill Nye as a reward for her efforts.”

Reach Reporter Jaime Williams at (718) 742–3383. E-mail her at jwilliams@cnglocal.com.
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