Young Scientist Linda Pistun Explores How to Change the World

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Provided by PWCS

At 11 years old, Linda Pistun has more accomplishments under her belt than many adults, and she is only getting started. Pistun began attending Prince William County Public Schools (PWCS) in 2017 as a kindergartener at Henderson Elementary School. She skipped several years between grades thereafter and in 2020, transferred to The Nokesville School to pursue the higher-level mathematics a K-8 school could provide. Over the next couple of years, she attended Gainesville Middle School, while also concurrently taking some advanced classes at Gainesville High School, some college classes, and studying Mandarin Chinese through an online program.

This school year, this 11-year-old began attending Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJHSST), the area’s selective public high school focused on math, science, and technology education that serves students from Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William Counties. While her future academic goals include studying astrophysics at Harvard University and a spot on the Mars mission, Pistun’s efforts continue to maintain a connection with PWCS and the educators who, she says supported her accelerated path and helped her grow and learn at her own pace.

“My kindergarten teacher, Ms. [Michelle] Koob, introduced me to mealworms and always saw me as a scientist,” said Pistun. “She challenged me, while also making sure I felt loved and accepted, and no one could ask for more! Mr. [Jason] Maneno made science even more fun than it was before and he encouraged me to ask questions,” Pistun said of her seventh-grade science teacher at Gainesville Middle School. “He guided me through two science fair projects. As a little girl scientist, it meant a lot to me to have my work respected by others. My first regional science fair was unfortunately virtual, but at the second one I got to meet other kids who love science just like I do.”

Clearly, Pistun falls into a very small segment of the human population who are profoundly gifted. In her own words, she is a “kid scientist with a lot to say,” and her two main goals are “to solve the world hunger crisis and share my love for science with kids everywhere.” Toward that end, in addition to her academic studies, she created her own nonprofit business, Linda’s Lab, which is a larva library that loans free life cycle experiment kits to teachers in PWCS.

Pistun also recently published her first children’s book, “Linda and the Mysterious Footprints.” The book was officially released on Aug. 17 and teaches children about carbon emissions, how to care for our Earth, and the steps of the scientific method through the eyes of a little girl scientist and her pet turtle, Darwin. The profits from the book go to her science education outreach programs.

“Linda feels a strong sense of attachment to the PWCS schools she attended,” said her mom, Katie Pistun, “and to the teachers that fostered her growth and her passion for math and science. She hopes to continue partnering with PWCS through her Larva Library and by offering free author events to any PWCS school.”

To follow Linda Pistun’s adventurous journey, track her academic pursuits, or complete the form to request a Larva Library Life Cycle kit, visit her website, Linda’s Lab.

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