Identifying Potential Scientists

Finding a scientist to reach out to is the first important step to connecting with someone who can help you to learn and grow. Here are some steps you could take to finding someone who is the right fit:


  1. If you do not already have a project idea, determine an area of STEM that interests you. If you are unsure you could:
    • Check out the website for a local university and the different STEM majors or programs that they offer
    • Look at the subject areas in the Society’s publications, Science News or Science News for Students, and read some articles that interest you.
    • Read some of the project abstracts from students who have participated in the International Science and Engineering Fair in recent years using the ISEF Projects Database.
    • Go to the main Research at Home webpage and look at the topics in the “Guidance on Specific Topics” section to see some types of projects that can be done at home.
  2. Identify universities or independent laboratories that study a few topics that interest you and look at the faculty who work in that department. If your topic is broad, start with local institutions.
  3. Read the biographies, publication lists, research interest, and/or any other information provided for each person and keep notes on each person you look into.
  4. Create a prioritized list of scientists that you think would be of most help to you. Here are some factors you might consider:
    • How closely their research aligns with your interest
    • If you have viewed any webinars or videos of them speaking
    • If you have read and understood their research publications enough to ask specific questions
    • Proximity to you geographically (in case in-person meetings become possible in the future)
    • If there is evidence that they have supported high school students or undergraduate students in research in the past.