LABS Series - Institute for Educational Advancement

LABS Series

LABS Series advances students’ intellectual curiosity and passion for STEM by exposing them to innovative research conducted by brilliant scientists in the field.

Learning Among Brilliant Scientists (LABS) students will gain access to new knowledge and be introduced to the skills needed to be a successful scientific researcher through workshops that include a lecture, seminar, and hands-on learning experience.


LABS Series develops the whole child by:

  • Engaging students in a unique educational experience to learn about a brilliant scientist’s current research work.
  • Promoting optimal challenge for students seeking opportunities to further their interests and passions in the STEM field.
  • Building a community of like-minded learners interested in STEM.

Upcoming Lectures

Saturday, October 20, 2018
10:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
540 South Marengo Avenue, Pasadena, CA


Speaker: Dr. Melissa Roemmele, Research Scientist at SDL

Topic: Natural Language Processing: Computers + Human Language

Grade Level: 7th-12th

Program Fee: $50*

*Scholarships are available to qualified families in need.


As our interaction with machines has increased, this interaction has steadily become more fluid, intuitive, and intelligent on the part of computers. We are now reaching the point of being able to communicate with our devices in the same way we engage with people through talking and writing, as demonstrated by voice-based assistants like Amazon Alexa or writing support apps like Grammarly and Google Translate. However, enabling computers to comprehend and produce human language is actually a very difficult challenge in artificial intelligence research. This endeavor is referred to as natural language processing (NLP), and it integrates knowledge across a variety of subject areas including computer science, linguistics, mathematics, and cognitive science. In this workshop, Dr. Roemmele will broadly introduce NLP and describe what makes it so challenging. She will also highlight some of the recent advancements in this area as well as a few exciting practical applications that are currently on the horizon.


Past Lectures


  • The Nueromechanics of Sensory Systems with Bradley Dickerson, Ph.D., NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellow and California Alliance AGEP Fellow at Caltech
  • Chemical Evolution of Galaxies with Ivanna Escala, NSF/Ford Graduate Research Fellow at Caltech Department of Astronomy 
  • Circadian Rhythms in Genetics with Dr. Susan E. Cohen, Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences at Cal State Los Angeles
  • Plant Ecology with Dr. Alexandra Wright, Assistant Professor of Ecology at Cal State Los Angeles
  • Ecology and Water in Desert Biological Soil Crust Ecosystems with Dr. Kirsten Fisher, Associate Professor, Graduate Advisor Biological Sciences at Cal State Los Angeles



When: Once a month

Duration: 2.5 hours

Where: IEA Learning Center, 540 South Marengo Avenue, Pasadena, CA

Cost: $50*


*Scholarships are available to qualified families in need. Price subject to change based on number of workshops in series and supplies needed.

Questions? Contact us!



Participants must be:

  • Current 7th-12th grade students
  • Passionate about learning
  • Interested in pursuing an advanced STEM research topic