About us

Our Mission

The mission of Letters to a Pre-Scientist is to facilitate one-on-one connections to humanize STEM professionals, demystify STEM career pathways, and inspire all students to explore a future in STEM.

Humanize STEM professionals

Demystify STEM career pathways

Broaden students’ awareness of who can become a STEM professional

Inspire students’ curiosity about a future in STEM

History

LPS was founded in 2010 as a classroom project in rural North Carolina for 100 curious students whose teacher recognized that their lack of access to STEM role models and narrow vision of what it meant to be a scientist was preventing them from seeing STEM careers as realistic options despite their enthusiasm in science class. The snail mail model was selected because it is low cost, accessible worldwide, and a unique way to facilitate human connection.

Challenges of low-income schools

In the words of an LPS teacher, “Students often view scientists as people who are inaccessible. They see portrayals of them in the media, but they don’t usually know any real scientists and – by extension – don’t often see themselves in the role of being a scientist.”

Our Values

Letters to a Pre-Scientist is committed to supporting all aspects of diversity in STEM and ensuring an inclusive environment that is welcoming to everyone who interacts with our programs. This includes, but is not limited to, treating pen pals from different races, ethnicities, cultures, languages, religions, socioeconomic backgrounds, genders, sexual orientations, and abilities with respect. We strive to maintain a culture where everyone who participates in Letters to a Pre-Scientist feels supported by the program to be their full selves.

Meet Our Staff

Click headshot for bio

Lucy Madden

Founding Chief Executive Officer

Jenelle Dozier

Program Manager

Anna Goldstein

Founder; Board of Directors

Uche Amaechi

Board of Directors

Katie Stofer

Board of Directors

Anna Harley-Trochimczyk

Board of Directors

Lucy Madden

Founding Chief Executive Officer; Board of Directors
lucy.madden@prescientist.org
Lucy discovered LPS in 2012 while teaching seventh grade science in Durham, North Carolina, and had the fortunate opportunity to be the first teacher after founder Macon to host the pen pal program in her class. She began working with Macon and Anna to grow the program, and hosted the program in her Los Angeles classrooms for three more years. She found that students’ authentic interaction with a professional role model was an entry point to engage students in science class, and loved the wonderful suspense her students experienced waiting for snail mail! During the 2018-19 school year, Lucy completed her master’s in Education Policy and Management at Harvard University while working to transition Letters to a Pre-Scientist from a volunteer program to a nonprofit organization. Energized by the passion that surrounds the LPS community, she is looking forward to supporting LPS’ growth and development!

Jenelle Dozier

Program Manager
jenelle.dozier@prescientist.org
Jenelle joined the LPS team because she saw an incredible opportunity to connect students to STEM mentors that they may not have connected with otherwise. After graduating with her bachelor’s in Environmental Biology and Spanish, Jenelle worked at an environmental research center studying the effects of climate change on coastal ecosystems. While there she developed a passion for connecting the community with her research work through citizen science experiences. When she learned about LPS, she was immediately intrigued by the opportunity to serve students by introducing them to all of the possibilities within STEM careers. Jenelle looks forward to working behind the scenes to facilitate the connections between students and their pen pals.

Anna Goldstein

Founder; Board of Directors
Anna helped create Letters to a Pre-Scientist while getting her Ph.D. in Chemistry at UC Berkeley. Being from rural North Carolina herself, she understood the importance of a good science education, and she wanted to help inspire students to keep working hard in school. She wants the pre-scientists to realize that science is more than just a list of facts in a textbook; it can be a tool for bringing positive change to people’s lives. She also wants to give scientists the opportunity to reach out and see what a difference they can make in the lives of young people. Anna currently lives in Massachusetts and is a postdoc researching policy and management of energy innovation.

Uche Amaechi

Board of Directors
Uche is a faculty member at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education and a Leadership and Group Work Consultant and Facilitator. For the past 17 years, he has also served as the ELT coordinator at the Fletcher Maynard Academy in Cambridge. Uche earned his Bachelor’s from Harvard University, an MBA from the University of Phoenix, and his Ed.M and Ed.D from Harvard’s Graduate School of Education.

Katie Stofer

Board of Directors
Katie studies learning that people choose for themselves, usually how they learn in their everyday lives, and helps scientists engage with others to share their research findings. She has a keen interest in innovative programs such as LPS to help everyone connect with science. She has been a penpal since 2017, an Advisory Board member from 2018 – 2019, and joined the Board of Directors in early 2020. Katie really wants everyone to participate in science, whether as a profession or as a part of our society, making decisions for our future. One of the things that is most important to having people get into science is knowing actual scientists. Since scientists don’t live everywhere, she wants to support as many ways as she can to get people meeting real scientists, near and far. A main interest of hers in joining the board of LPS is to ensure the organization’s continuing success and share its lessons with other programs with related goals.

Anna Harley-Trochimczyk

Board of Directors
Anna fell in love with the Letters to a Pre-Scientist program when she started as a pen pal in 2016. Having participated in many science outreach programs through the years, she loves that LPS provides sustained engagement between one student and one scientist throughout the school year. She served on the Advisory Board for 2 years before joining the Board of Directors in January 2020. She is thrilled to continue supporting Pre-Scientist Inc as it grows, so that even more pre-scientists from all backgrounds see themselves pursuing STEM careers.