Witty Scientists: “Infecting” Kids with Curiosity

Kent has a company that teaches fun, hands-on, STEM based Science for students of all ages. Witty Scientists was started in 2014 by Mariola Kulawiec PhD. Her mission is to feed curious children’s minds with science to increase their creativity. She wants adults to remember how curious and creative they were during childhood.

Photo courtesy of Mariola Kulawiec

Kulawiec grew up and earned her PhD in Poland, always dreaming of being a scientist in the United States. Fourteen years ago, she moved to Buffalo to work at the oldest cancer research institute in the world, Roswell Park Cancer Institute. She then moved to work at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Institute in Seattle, working in cancer genetics. While working there, a colleague asked her to participate in presenting some science experiments to the Fred Hutch Daycare Center kids. They wore lab coats, brought in real science equipment, and the kids were mesmerized.

When her son was in daycare, she was again asked to volunteer. Kulawiec got some help from other parents and did a few more science programs. She really enjoyed it. When her fellowship grant ran out at Fred Hutch, she realized there was a demand for teaching science hands-on and decided to start a business doing just that.

Kulawiec has teacher training, teaching college students while she was earning her PhD.

I never expected to teach kids,” she said. But it turns out she has the knack for it.

Witty Scientists’ breakthrough came when she collaborated with the King County Library System. They were doing a summer reading program with the theme of “heroes” and she was invited to send in a program proposal. She designed four programs on women scientists. She covered their lives, including their childhoods, and they did hands-on science experiments based on what each scientist studied. The most challenging part was having to limit how many kids could participate at once. She has been invited back every year since.