Meet a Scientist! An Interview with Dr. Hansi Singh

Explore Dr. Hansi Singh's inspiring scientist journey, advocating for STEM education and embracing hands-on experiences.

In the pursuit of embodying the guiding principle to Serve as a Community Laboratory and Living Room, we find inspiration in the story of a local Pacific Northwest scientist who, like many, seeks enrichment within the walls of science centers.  

Dr. Singh’s choice to spend quality time with her family at PacSci reflects a shared commitment to lifelong learning and engagement. Her experiences resonate deeply with our principal to provide a space where people can not only learn about but also celebrate scientific and technological achievements while addressing issues pertinent to our region.  

Through her narrative, we are reminded of the vital role PacSci plays as a vibrant hub for exploration, curiosity, and community connection.  

A headshot of scientist Dr. Hansi Singh

About Dr. Hansi Singh 

Dr. Hansi Singh currently serves as the CEO and Chief Science Officer of Planette AI, a climate-tech startup she co-founded with her AI science colleague and friend Dr. Kalai Ramea. Planette AI specializes in season-ahead and year-ahead forecasts of environmental variables and extreme weather risks. Dr. Singh is also involved in state-of-the-art Earth system model development and currently serves as co-chair of the Community Earth System Model’s Polar Climate Working Group.   

Before founding Planette, Dr. Singh led the Climate Dynamics Laboratory at the School of Earth & Ocean Sciences at the University of Victoria. Her group’s research focused on the physical climate system, particularly the complex interactions between the atmosphere, ocean, and ice that give rise to the Earth’s climate.  

Journey to Becoming a Scientist 

Dr. Singh’s path to becoming a scientist was greatly influenced by her early experiences with science centers, particularly the Exploratorium in San Francisco. As a child, she found these visits to be magical and transformative, providing her with hands-on experiences that sparked her curiosity about the natural world. 

Her family’s encouragement and support for science education also played a significant role in shaping her career aspirations. They nurtured her interest in STEM subjects and exposed her to a variety of educational opportunities that fueled her passion for science. 

As she grew older, Dr. Singh’s interest in science continued to blossom. In sixth grade, she attended an event for girls in high performance computing, which left a lasting impression on her. The experience of being in a room with a supercomputer and learning how to instruct it sparked her realization that girls could excel in computational fields—a revelation that would shape her academic pursuits in the years to come. 

Dr. Singh, along with her family, had a delightful time exploring PacSci, visiting the planetarium and the Butterfly Garden. These immersive experiences deepened her understanding of the natural world and fueled her aspiration to pursue a career in science. Dr. Singh’s first visit to Seattle was in her 20s, after completing college, when she moved here. 

Overall, Dr. Singh’s journey to becoming a scientist was shaped by a combination of early experiences with science center, family support, and educational opportunities that fostered her curiosity and passion for STEM fields. 

Two young children enthusiastically participate in a hands-on STEM activity during Polar Science Weekend 2024 at Pacific Science Center.
During 2024 Polar Science Weekend, two kids immerse themselves in a hands-on STEM activity at PacSci.

PacSci’s Impact on Community Engagement 

During her previous participation in Polar Science Weekend, Dr. Singh recalled leading demonstrations related to her research on sea ice and ocean acidification. These interactive activities provided visitors with firsthand experiences of scientific concepts and fostered a deeper appreciation for environmental science. 

Reflecting on her experiences, Dr. Singh emphasized the importance of science centers in engaging the community, particularly underrepresented groups, in STEM fields. She acknowledged that science centers offered a unique platform for outreach, providing hands-on experiences that made complex scientific concepts accessible to all. Additionally, Dr. Singh believed that these institutions played a vital role in inspiring the next generation of scientists by sparking curiosity and igniting passion for STEM subjects. 

Overall, Dr. Singh’s involvement with PacSci exemplified the institution’s dedication to fostering a culture of scientific curiosity and learning within the community. By providing accessible and engaging experiences, science centers like PacSci had the power to inspire future generations of scientists and promote diversity and inclusion in STEM fields. 

Advocacy for STEM Education 

Dr. Singh is deeply committed to promoting STEM education and diversity within the sciences, recognizing the importance of representation and inclusion in these fields. As a woman of color in a predominantly male-dominated field, she has faced challenges and barriers throughout her career but remains determined to advocate for change. 

Reflecting on her experiences, Dr. Singh highlights the need for increased visibility and representation of underrepresented groups in STEM. She believes that seeing diverse role models in scientific fields is essential for inspiring future generations and breaking down stereotypes and barriers. 

In her advocacy efforts, Dr. Singh actively seeks to address systemic issues within the STEM community. She emphasizes the importance of not only surviving but also working to create a more inclusive and supportive environment for those who come after her. By vocalizing her experiences and providing feedback to institutions and organizations, she strives to effect meaningful change and remove barriers to entry for underrepresented individuals in STEM. 

Overall, Dr. Singh’s advocacy for STEM education and diversity reflects her belief in the transformative power of science and the importance of ensuring that everyone has equal opportunities to participate and excel in STEM fields.  

Four young children and an adult enthusiastically participate in a hands-on STEM activity during Polar Science Weekend 2024 at Pacific Science Center.
Multiple children try out a water engineering activity during Polar Science Weekend!

The Transformative Impact of Hands-on Experiences 

The shared experiences of visiting science centers, such as PacSci, have played a crucial role in strengthening Dr. Singh and her family’s connection to science. For her children, these hands-on science center experiences have been particularly impactful, igniting their curiosity and making learning engaging and accessible. 

Dr. Singh emphasizes the importance of experiential learning, highlighting how interactive exhibits and immersive environments provide a unique opportunity for children to explore scientific concepts firsthand. From exploring space to diving into the intricacies of the natural world, these experiences not only reinforce learning but also make it fun and memorable. 

Ultimately, Dr. Singh believes that there’s no better way to reinforce learning than by adding an experiential element to it. By making science playful and accessible, science centers, like PacSci, help children connect with the world around them and understand that science is not just something they read about in books—it’s real, it’s happening all around them, and it’s something they can actively engage with and explore. 

About Planette AI

Planette specializes in climate adaptation, providing businesses and organizations with forecasts to help them adapt to climate change. Unlike traditional weather predictions or long-term climate projections, Planette’s forecasts focus on time horizons that matter to decision-makers, such as monthly and yearly outlooks. 

These physics-based, AI-powered forecasts cover variables like temperature, wind speed, and extreme weather event risks, offering actionable insights for planning and risk management. From optimizing renewable energy production to ensuring supply chain resilience, Planette’s services empower clients to navigate climate-related challenges with confidence and foresight.

Pacific Science Center is not affiliated or in any way officially connected with Planette Inc. 

Thank you to our generous supporters, including more than 1,500 individuals, companies, and foundations, as well as more than 13,000 member households. Your support brings to life PacSci’s mission to ignite curiosity in every corner of Washington State and beyond.