Rising Superstars of the STEM World
Innovation & Tech Today|Fall 2021
NOAA Scientist Dr. Tracy Fanara and Mythbusters Co-Host Tamara Robertson love fashion, the ocean, superheroes and tinkering with things. They’re also two of the most prominent scientists promoting and mentoring kids in STEM.
Robert Yehling

Tracy Fanara remembers the day she knew what she wanted to do. An elementary teacher was talking about the 1978 Love Canal disaster, in which barrels of chemicals from a toxic landfill dislodged and bled into the Niagara Falls, NY water table and leached into backyards, basements and a schoolyard. The disaster resulted in the creation of the EPA Superfund and a host of new regulations.

“That’s what sparked my interest in environmental engineering,” she recalled, “protecting people from natural disasters, making sure they have clean water and food to survive.”

As for Tamara Robertson? It took a little longer, but the way it happened was equally random. “I grew up taking things apart — not always a good thing!” she laughed. “I’ve always been a tinkerer, naturally curious. Only when I was a sophomore in college, did I realize engineering could be an option, but at the time, the only thing I knew about it was that Scotty was an engineer on Star Trek.”

Two amazing careers germinated from these casual early brushes with science — part of the point they make every day in their work with younger STEM students. Dr. Fanara manages coastal and national modeling efforts for NOAA, a most crucial job in these times of sea-level rise and coastal change. Dr. Robertson is the co-host of the Science Channel’s Mythbusters Jr. with Adam Savage, former co-host of Mythbusters 2.0, and engineering consultant and wardrobe designer — a fascinating combination. Together, they presented a virtual session in the recent SciFest All Access, produced by USA Science & Engineering Festival; Tamara co-hosted the entire event as well.

They also co-publish the Seekers of Science comic, a fun mixture of cool animation and sound, teen-grabbing science, which has a circulation of hundreds of thousands and is a huge hit among students and parents alike.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM INNOVATION & TECH TODAYView All

Making Safety a Standard

Is Testing En Masse the Next Logical Step for Employers?

2 mins read
Innovation & Tech Today
Winter 2021

No Holds Barred

How Entrepreneur and Bar Rescue Star Jon Taffer is Helping Bars Deal with Labor Shortages and Inefficient Management Techniques

9 mins read
Innovation & Tech Today
Winter 2021

Tech for Boomers: Prepping for a Generation of Tech-Savvy Seniors

Baby boomers are among the last generations not considered “digital natives,” but they were the first generation to integrate technology into their everyday lives. The post-WWII generation born between 1946 and 1964 essentially defined the tech-centric world we live in today.

5 mins read
Innovation & Tech Today
Winter 2021

Private Space Stations Are Coming (and Soon)

Since construction began in 1998, The International Space Station (ISS) has served as the essential platform where multiple countries have collaborated to support scientific research and other activities requiring the unique attributes of humans in space.

2 mins read
Innovation & Tech Today
Winter 2021

Isn't Next Year Always Going to be THE YEAR for EVs?

We’re Not Kidding This Time—and We Have Evidence

4 mins read
Innovation & Tech Today
Winter 2021

Entertainer/Entrepreneur Steve-O

Chats Jackass Forever, Content Creation, and Stunts That Get Wilder With Age

7 mins read
Innovation & Tech Today
Winter 2021

Creating a Cybersecurity Checklist

A List of Things You Should Know To Make a Smart Home Network Safer

5 mins read
Innovation & Tech Today
Winter 2021

4 Reasons Your Brand's Video Content Is Weak (and How To Fix It)

Video marketing has increased significantly over the years, and will undoubtedly continue to do so in 2022. According to research from Wyzowl, roughly 86% of businesses use video as a marketing tool — a dramatic increase from 2016, when only 61% of brands did so.

3 mins read
Innovation & Tech Today
Winter 2021

PRODUCT REVOLUTION

MOST INNOVATIVE PRODUCTS

3 mins read
Innovation & Tech Today
Winter 2021

Penn & Teller

Magic’s best-dressed duo talks life, tech in magic, and 46 years of genuine friendship.

10+ mins read
Innovation & Tech Today
Fall 2021