April is National Volunteer Month, and we’re here to share more about how you can become more involved in STEM volunteering within your community. Volunteers can have such an impact on students interested in learning about STEM, and people of all ages can be volunteers. To learn more about how high school students can become involved in STEM volunteering, we interviewed Diana, an EngineerGirl ambassador and all-around STEM rockstar!
Hi Diana, thanks for joining us to share more about your experience with STEM volunteering. Before we get started, can you introduce yourself?
Hi! My name is Diana, and I am a high school senior in Massachusetts. I love science and technology (especially biology), computer science, and AI. In my free time, I enjoy writing poetry, running, drinking tea, and sharing my love for STEM with others!
How did you first get involved in STEM outreach?
Several years ago, I decided to create an interactive map showing the places of origin of more than 20 outstanding women in STEM. I noticed that the vast majority of scientists we talked about at school were men, so I thought it was necessary to highlight the positive contributions of women to science, technology, and sustainability. I posted this map on my social media page and other platforms on the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, which takes place on February 11. This was one of my personal projects that I enjoyed the most. Apart from spreading the word about the contributions of women in STEM, I also learned a lot.
What STEM outreach initiatives are you currently involved in?
I am currently involved in three STEM outreach projects. First, I am a part of the organization called Girls in Science 4SDGs, a youth group striving to popularize science and lobby government and international organizations like the UN to promote initiatives supporting underrepresented groups in STEM. Our work focuses on using science to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). I am also an International Consultant for the International Youth Neuroscience Association (IYNA), and I help the organization promote neuroscience among students in Ukraine.
What is the most rewarding part of working with younger students?
The most rewarding part about doing outreach is seeing other students fall in love with STEM and then inspire other girls to do so. By organizing my projects, I strive to show girls that STEM is fun and that they are capable of doing whatever they set their mind to. An extra bonus is when they use the knowledge they get to inspire someone else! When girls realize that they are not the only ones interested in STEM, they feel brave to explore and achieve things they could only dream about.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from working with younger students?
The biggest lesson I have learned from doing outreach is also the reason for me to continue doing it. I realized that knowledge is a gift that is the most valuable when shared with others. I noticed that sharing my skills and knowledge with the world makes me happier and more eager to learn. I don’t have a specific vision of myself in ten or fifteen years, but I know for sure that I want to use my education and love for STEM to help and inspire others. This is something that will stay with me after my outreach projects.
What is your advice to other people interested in getting involved in STEM outreach?
Try it regardless of how difficult it seems! Even if you work with little children, you will learn a lot from your participants and form incredible connections. Maybe you will be the reason a little child becomes interested in STEM and creates a solution to the global issue in the future!
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