The STEAM Summer Virtual Exploration was a collaborative initiative with the UMass Extension 4-H Youth Development Program, where virtual lessons and activities containing themes of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math offered youth in the Bay Street Community of Springfield, MA the opportunity to participate in interactive learning across 8-week sessions.
Along with my Supervisor, Lauren DuBois, I constructed lesson plans and built a long-term agenda, through which I aimed to cover the various topics of STEAM learning. Using fun activities that catered to the participants age group, I opened up a bridge to topics ranging from Aerodynamics to Chemical Reactions- all the while keeping the information practical and applicable to daily life observances. Throughout the 8 weeks of programming, I was able to witness the youth participants truly engage with the material and take unique lessons from it. My expectations were exceeded in terms of this project's objectives, as I felt that myself and the participants alike had delved into the concept of creative learning and problem-solving that came from the virtual experience. I am truly grateful to have been given this opportunity and credit this internship for the variety of skills I have gained this summer.
As a sustainable community development major, my academics are centered around learning about communities of all kinds- and the goal of my department is to give me enough basis to be able to engage with communities and serve them after I leave higher education. This internship presented me the opportunity to engage with youth from my own community as well as serve them and learn from their own experiences and the ways they learn and retain information best. All this occurred while adjusting and adapting to the virtual environment, and all of the creativity that came with it. I definitely think that I have gained more organization, interaction, and problem-solving skills through this summer internship- all of which I will need for my personal future goals and career.