As a leader, one of the greatest qualities you can have is to recognize that there is always room for you to grow and learn. The STEM Ambassador program is giving high school students the advantage of learning this early on while discovering their passions. Not only are these students visiting other schools and gaining perspective on their education, they are growing their network and building their futures. The lasting partnership that they are helping to create between the schools is one that will open a multitude of doors for students in eastern Oregon long after the current Ambassadors graduate.
The students in this program have been nominated by administration or teachers in their high school. Whether they were recognized as leaders in the current STEM-related clubs or were recognized for their potential, these students have felt the positive impact of the program. A current Ambassador from Riverside Junior and High School testified saying: “Back before I started doing these things, I used to be more scared of going into the workforce and unprepared for it. Having some leadership skills, going to this program, gave me a confidence boost…I plan on being an ambassador next year too but if someone else needs it more than I do, I would gladly give it to them that way they can develop and grow as much as I did.” It’s testimonies like this that warm your heart and demonstrate the real impact a program like this can have on an individual.
On April 11, the Ambassadors visited EOU’s campus. For some, it was their first time on a college campus. That alone makes the program a success. Bringing these students on campus really opens their eyes to the reality of college. College can be seen as this domineering, overwhelming charge. As one Ambassador put it, college is where you “cry while doing homework at two in the morning.” At the end of the day, that same student was considering what sort of college courses he would enjoy.
Even within various industries, Ambassadors are realizing the process and effort that goes into it. A Umatilla Ambassador testified that: “[The STEM Ambassadors program] has made me look at the background, less flashy careers; the actual process that goes into figuring out how to make things happen rather than just doing the things that are happening.” These positive testimonies, combined with the growing partnerships across the region continue to confirm the positive impacts of the STEM Ambassador program.
GO-STEM is currently recruiting STEM Ambassadors for the 2017-2018 school year. Contact Matthew Campbell at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
Teaching and learning are not limited to the classroom. From elementary school and high school teachers to Boy Scout leaders and park rangers, there is an interest in professional development and in providing a better education for our youth. The OMSI astronomy teacher workshop in Baker County on April 15th proved this as individuals from a number of elementary and secondary schools were present along with R.M. White Observatory, the National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center, Boy Scouts of America, and GO-STEM. This training encompassed sharing classroom resources and learning how to host a star party.
The sharing of these resources and knowledge allows children to learn in a number of settings. It allows for a diversity of opportunities that may otherwise be lacking. As teachers are planning to incorporate the free resources that OMSI and the National Informal STEM Education Network (NISE) are providing, park rangers are planning on implementing the various educational tools into summer programs and hosting their own star parties. The range of possibilities is endless once the resources are there. NISE provides a number of free resources on their website http://www.nisenet.org/. Materials are available in both English and Spanish. This sort of collaboration and sharing of resources is just the thing that GO-STEM likes to get behind.