Volunteer Spotlight: Charmaine San Jose Hinahon – Girlstart


April is National Volunteer Month and we’d like to give a shout out to all of the amazing people who volunteer for Girlstart! We are thankful for the time and energy they spend to help us provide fun and empowering STEM experiences to girls and their families.

Today, we’re spotlighting Charmaine San Jose Hinahon, one of our long-time volunteers who has truly made a difference at Girlstart!

How long have you been volunteering for Girlstart?  

I have been a volunteer since 2009.

How did you find out about Girlstart? What made you want to work with us? 

My company, Thermo Fisher Scientific, started participating with the annual Girls in Stem Conference in 2008. The folks (including Angie Cheng) organizing the workshop looked like they were having so much fun, so I joined the following year. My company has been participating in the annual event since 2008. 

What is your favorite part about volunteering with Girlstart?

 Seeing all the young scientists’ excitement for learning science.

Is there a fun anecdote you’d like to share or an event you’ve attended that stood out to you?

One year we presented a workshop theme featuring techniques used in crime scene investigation shows: blood splatter detection, fingerprinting, DNA matching, etc. A participant was so convinced with our expertise, they wanted to know if we had been on television! Unfortunately, we had not, but our scientific instruments have been on TV.

Do you currently work in a STEM career? If so, what advice would you give girls who are interested in pursuing STEM?

Yes, I am an R&D scientist for Thermo Fisher Scientific. My advice for future scientists is to nurture your curiosity! If you are curious and enjoy asking questions of the world around you, and are driven to test out those questions, this is a career for you. You will learn something new every day.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

Research is called research because there is a lot of re-do and re-peat, hence the word Re-search. Scientists have learned to embrace the successes as well as the failures. Even a failed experiment teaches you something; we call it proof of principle. I’m a huge fan of the Ted Lasso show. We’ve adopted the motto in the lab to Believe, to Be a Goldfish when the experiment fails, and to know that Science is Life!!!

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