STEM Stars

STEM Stars

The COSI STEM Star initiative honors ordinary people doing extraordinary STEM work, highlighting the scientists that live among us and provide us with a deep connection to the community-wide spirit of the festival. STEM champions showcase exemplary work by leveraging the power of science to improve the quality of life for us all, in central Ohio and beyond.

2023 STEM Stars

In 2023, we will be selecting 5 COSI STEM Stars – with each STEM Star representing a point of a star. These STEM heroes, nominated by the general public, showcase that science, technology, engineering and math are for everyone.

We need your help finding these champions and encourage you to give special consideration to diversity when making a nomination for a STEM Star candidate in order to best represent our diverse central Ohio community through the COSI STEM Star program.

The winners will be announced to the public and honored at the 2023 Big Science Celebration outside COSI on May 6, 2023.

Nominate a 2023 STEM Star

Submit a nomination via the linked form.

2022 STEM Star award winners

Senior Prototype Specialist for Priority Designs, Maker of The Musket V Twin Motorcycle

Aniket Vardhan first visited COSI for the architecture, not the science– but things have certainly changed since then! As a self-taught motorcycle expert, Vardhan followed his passion for mechanical design & motorcycles to create his own optimized engine design! After years of work, challenges, and dedicated learning Vardhan successfully created the Musket v twin engine. The importance of passion’s role in innovation can’t be understated– and there’s no better example than Aniket Vardhan!

Co-Founder & SVP of Product Development at Forge Biologics

Dr.De Silva is both Co-Founder & SVP of Product Development at Forge Biologics, a company focused on enabling access to life-changing gene therapies and helping bring them from an idea into reality. Her work is on the front lines of progress in the medical field, and with her specialties in everything from molecular biology to infectious disease, it’s not hard to see why! She, like all of our STEM Stars, works to leverage the power of science to improve the quality of life for us all, in Central Ohio and beyond.

Associate Professor of Medicine, Stem Cell Therapy Lab, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center

Sumithira Vasu has dedicated her career to taking care of patients at some of the most vulnerable times in their lives. Vasu uses her expertise in STEM to support patients with life-threatening diseases and help build a path for them to resume living full, healthy lives. Her work developing new therapies and bringing it to patients through clinical trials has been instrumental in bringing hope & healing to many of our friends, neighbors and community members.

Iditarod’s 2022 Teacher on the Trail, Teacher at Hilliard City Schools

Jim Deprez spends his days not just advocating for STEM education–but jumping right in as an educator himself! Along with supporting the growth of our community’s young minds, Jim Deprez also served as the Iditarod’s Teacher on the Trail for 2022. He flew from checkpoint to checkpoint, following the race, interviewing mushers, and creating lesson activities & prompts for classrooms all over the country. Today’s students are tomorrow’s STEM Stars– and they’ve found an excellent teacher to help get them there.

Doctor, State Representative for Ohio House, District 21

Representative Dr. Beth Liston has served as a doctor in Columbus for over a decade! As a doctor, mother, professor, and State Representative for Ohio House, District 21– Dr. Beth Liston has a varied & lengthy resume! Through it all, her passion for using science to improve the quality of life for us all, in central Ohio and beyond, has remained central to her work. Both her work as a medical professional and her fierce advocacy for science education, comes from someone who deeply understands the importance of STEM literacy. Now, her work as our Representative supports and champions the diverse needs of our community.