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Imagining Team Spotlight

By Siri Doddapaneni

Imagining is JuSTEMagine’s monthly publication that focuses on STEM and social-emotional learning writing and consists of STEM analyses, career and figure spotlights, and even movie reviews. Imagining has a large team who works to produce articles every month for JuSTEMagine’s volunteers, patrons, and partners to enjoy. I interviewed Francesca Vidal, the current editor-in-chief for the Imagining publication who has been with it since its inception. Francesca is a junior at Brownell Talbot School and will be the President of JuSTEMagine for the 2023-24 school year. Along with the publication, Francesca is involved in SEL, STEM advocacy, and STEM kit creation for JuSTEMagine.

Siri Doddapaneni (interviewer): Why did you decide to start Imagining?

Francesca Vidal: For a while, JuSTEMagine wanted to start its own STEM publication group. Jack Cenovic, the former President and Co-Founder of JuSTEMagine, reached out to me to lead Imagining. While I had never been a part of a publication group before, STEM interested me from a young age. Having experienced a lack of STEM education as a young kid, I thought that Imagining was a perfect opportunity for me and others to spread our passion for STEM and SEL to other high schoolers and hopefully inspire them to pursue a career in STEM.

SD: Why did you want to/how did you join JuSTEMagine?

FV: When I joined JuSTEMagine, I did not know exactly what it was. In my freshman year, JuSTEMagine was offered as a club that I could join. I am passionate about STEM and being a part of a STEM organization seemed really interesting to me. After I joined JuSTEMagine, I started to understand JuSTEMagine’s mission and participate in different subcommittees slowly.

SD: How long have you been publishing for Imagining?

FV: I have been publishing for Imagining ever since its creation in January of 2022.

SD: What’s your favorite part of being an editor of the publication?

FV: My favorite part is being able to read everyone's articles. I am always amazed by how hardworking the Imagining team is and how well-written all the articles are. Whether it's a STEM career, STEM celebrity, movie spotlight, or analysis article, there is always something new I learn when I read the articles.

SD: What’s your favorite story that you’ve written?

FV: My favorite story that I have written is “How LEGOs Develop STEM Skills and Interests in Kids.” I grew up playing with LEGOs and I still love to occasionally buy a set or two from time to time. Writing this article taught me the benefits of playing with LEGOs and how LEGOs can help young kids develop STEM skills. I previously had no idea that LEGOs brought many benefits to kids and learning all about them made me appreciate LEGOs even more.

SD: You are stepping into the role of JuSTEMagine president for the 2023-24 year. What are you most excited about and do you plan to continue heading Imagining?

FV: As president, I am excited to be able to lead an organization that has impacted the lives of so many students not only in Nebraska but throughout the world. When I joined JuSTEMagine, I never thought that one day I would become the president, so having the opportunity to do so is a huge honor to me. I am especially excited about the hundreds of students that JuSTEMagine will continue to support this year and beyond! Even though I will be the 2023-2024 President, I will still continue to serve as Imagining’s Editor-in-Chief.

SD: What other STEM activities are you a part of? What is your favorite STEM class and why? Do you want to pursue a STEM career?

FV: I am a part of the robotics team and Science Olympiad. In the past, I have participated in Science Bowl. My favorite STEM class is math. I enjoy math because most of the time there is only one correct answer. To me, math is straightforward and methodical which I really enjoy. I also prefer to work with numbers as compared to reading a long document or memorizing historical facts. In college, I hope to pursue engineering.

SD: JuSTEMagine and Imagining have several volunteers. What piece of advice would you give them to keep in mind?

FV: Even if you are not very interested in STEM directly, I recommend joining JuSTEMagine. JuSTEMagine is a large organization with many subcommittees that are guaranteed to pique your interest. Apart from the subcommittees, JuSTEMagine is a great way to meet new people who you do not normally interact with. We currently have more than 25 Chapters across the US and the world.

SD: What is one interesting fact about you?

FV: One interesting fact about me is that in fifth grade I was able to memorize and recite 121 digits of pi.

Thank you to 2023-24 JuSTEMagine president and Imagining editor-in-chief Francesca Vidal for being the March Imagining Team Member Spotlight.

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