Our STEM Ambassadors
Garnet grew up in the rural lumber company-owned town of Scotia in Northern California. With the mentorship of local scientists, her junior high science projects evolved into year-long research endeavors that reached the state competition in Los Angeles. Her passion for adventuring in the outdoors also began with backpacking and fishing trips with her father and younger sister. Garnet attended Stevenson high school on the Monterey Peninsula as a boarding student, where her interests in science and the outdoors were further nurtured.
As an undergraduate at Princeton University, she majored in Geoscience, focused on large scale database analysis and model forecasting for circulation patterns in the oceans and atmosphere. For her senior thesis, she worked with the Atmospheric Chemisty Group of the Civil & Environmental Engineering Dept. on the field deployment of its VCSEL hygrometer on NSF HIPPO campaigns IV & V. Research took her to Boulder, CO, Kona, HI, Anchorage, AK, and onboard the research craft as it travelled to 89.5°N. She presented analysis of atmospheric findings at the AGU Annual Conference in December 2011, a rare honor for an undergraduate. Meanwhile, her outdoor interest expanded to include rock and ice climbing and she had the invaluable experience of volunteering as an EMT and rescue technician with the Princeton First Aid & Rescue Squad.
Since graduation, Garnet has worked as a Field Engineer in Drilling & Measurement for oilfield services provider Schlumberger, based out of St. John’s, NL, Canada – the eastern-most point in North America. Work also frequently took her to the Gulf Coast, including Lafayette, LA and Houston, TX, as well as Alberta, Canada, Abu Dhabi, UAE, Colombia, and Alaska. Stationed on land and offshore oil rigs for several weeks in a row, she was responsible for operating well positioning and geological analysis technologies while drilling. She has continued to explore the outdoors wherever she is, including cross-country and downhill skiing. In fall 2016 she will enter the MBA program at the University of Utah Eccles School of Business and is thrilled to encourage STEM learning in her new home.
Gabriela Lizarbe was born in Lima, Peru and grew up in New Jersey. She is currently a first-generation student at Utah Valley University, double majoring in Biology and Emergency Services. She attended a vocational high school, studying medicine, in which she became CPR, and EMT Certified. Throughout her college career, Gabriela has volunteered at Intermountain Healthcare, held leadership positions through the Science Association of Women, and is currently working at the Walmart Vision Center as an Optician. With her ambition and enthusiasm to one day become an Emergency Medicine Physician, she will be attending the Paramedic Program in the Fall of 2017.
As a young girl, it was always a priority to lend a helping hand, so volunteering became a lifestyle that she loves. Gabriela became interested in STEM when she attended a summer program in middle school, and it opened her eyes to the various science fields available. Now that she is in college, she believes that STEM programs are a great way to mentor youth and guide students to help them succeed in a field that they enjoy. As an Ambassador for the STEM Action Center, Gabriela wants to contribute to her community and inspire others to do the same. She is excited and thrilled to be a part of an amazing organization that will impact the students of Utah.
Micaela Purdin is a junior at Northridge High School in Layton, Utah. She plans to pursue a career in Mortuary or Forensics Science and is excited to participate in an internship at a mortuary this fall. Micaela is also Assistant Director with the Up with Kids! children’s theater troupe in Kaysville where she works with students age 3-15 to learn scripts, songs, and choreography. Micaela enjoys volunteering at STEM Action Center booths and encouraging students to pursue STEM activities and careers.
Melanie Prettyman grew up in a small town in Maryland and is the eighth of ten children. During high school Melanie pursued theater, but switched to medicine after being inspired at SheTech, a STEM event for high school girls. Melanie is studying Pre Medical at the University of Utah, so that she can become a gynecologist. She spends her free time volunteering at the downtown homeless shelter and the Maternal Newborn Unit at the Hospital. Melanie has her CNA and works at the University of Utah in the Cardiovascular Surgical Unit. Her hobbies include swimming, reading and working to excite others younger than her to pursue their passion for STEM.
Connor was born and raised in Ogden, UT. He is currently earning his masters in Mechanical Engineering at Utah State University. His love of engineering stems from when he built (with the help of his dad) a 25 ft. draw bridge to cross the canal in his backyard. As an Ambassador for the STEM Action Center, his goal is to inspire kids and young adults to pursue STEM careers, even if they think it might be too hard for them. He had plenty of doubts along the way, and there were some amazing mentors that gave him reassurance, and he wants to “pay it forward.” When not studying or doing Thermo-Mechanical Fatigue (TMF) research, Connor love’s playing soccer, hiking, snowboarding, running, and supporting Chelsea F.C.
Taylor Fang is a student at Logan High School. She’s highly involved in STEM pursuits, especially those in technological fields. This past summer she had the opportunity to attend the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory Outreach Summer program, and from this experience, started her own outreach event called GET: Girls Explore Tech. GET consists of a series of workshops over five weeks, and was the recipient of an inaugural Community Impact Grant from AI4ALL. She’s excited to help spread STEM to more people in Utah communities as a STEM Ambassador.