A Peacemaking Project by Soyoun C.
What is the injustice we are solving?
STEAM education is becoming more and more prevalent and significant in today's society. Being educated in these fields has been found to be related to a brighter future. However, often times, I find that many of the underprivileged students in my county do not have many opportunities to experience many STEAM related activities. I first realized the importance of STEAM when I was chosen as one of the thirty finalists for the National Broadcom MASTERS Program. As one of the finalists, I spent 10 days in Silicon Valley experiencing rigorous STEAM related activities and tasks. Each day I learned something new and inspirational. These 10 days were truly the inspiration for this project idea. When I returned home to my small town in Florida, I had a strong desire to share my extraordinary experiences with the students in my community. I have shared much with the students at my school and neighboring schools. Yet, I have not had the chance to reach out to the students who are homeless or at the orphanage. However, I will continue my efforts to share the importance of STEAM education even to these branches of students as I strongly believe that STEAM education should be available to all students in my community. It would be purely unjust to allow STEAM education inequality to prevail in any community.
Our Compassionate Solution:
To solve this injustice of inequality in opportunities of STEAM education
we will address the lack of access underprivileged students have in STEAM education
by visiting the underprivileged students as an organization with STEAM related activity kits so that they can experience the value and applicability of STEAM.
Our Project Plan:
- To promote STEAM education for minorities and the underprivileged students
We will increase my / our compassion by...
visiting facilities such as shelters, foster care organizations, and more to talk to students who have not had many opportunities to experience STEAM education.
How will you show courage?
We will proudly share the STEAM education experiences to others despite the unfamiliarity they may have about it so that more students can realize the importance of STEAM learning.
How will you collaborate with others?
I plan to create a club at school that can help lead this program with me. I desire to recruit more students that have a fervent passion like me in helping more underprivileged students having an opportunity in the field of STEAM. Furthermore, I will discuss with my team members regarding which organizations to visit, what activities to plan, and how to teach the lesson.
How will you know you are moving in the right direction? (What are specific ways you can measure your impact?)
I hope to get my physics teacher at school involved in this project so that he can provide suggestions about the STEAM activities we plan. Furthermore, I plan to talk to the supervisors at each of the organizations we visit to get feedback regarding the STEAM lab we conducted with their students. This will help STEAM Engine to always work to become a better organization that truly helps to promote various areas of STEAM by delivering labs to more students.
- 1. Create a STEAM Engine club at school.
- 2. Identify different committees within the club.
- 3. Contact different organizations in the area for support of the supplies needed for labs.
- 4. Purchase various science supplies based on planned labs.
- 5. Look into places such as homeless shelters and foster care programs such as Brevard Family Promise, Brevard Family Partnership, and more to see if they would be interested in letting our team visit with their students.
- 6. Plan a weekly schedule to visit with these students.
- 7. Bring lab materials to the students once a week with a well-planned lab idea.
- 8. Teach students the lab so that they can carry out the steps by themselves.
- 9. Leave some materials for the students to work with until the next visit with the students. Ensure to leave instruction for other STEAM activities.
- 10. Talk to the supervisors and students regarding their thoughts on the STEAM Engine program.
- 11. Meticulously jot down all suggestions so that the program can be enhanced to its utmost potential.
How did the project deepen your team's understanding of the injustice?
Throughout the process of building the STEAM Engine team, our members spent much time in deep discussion of the fundamental injustice we were attempting to resolve through the project. We researched the issue through various sources including academic papers, leaders in the community, varying non-profit organizations, and more. The more that we delved into these sources, we were successfully able to develop a better understanding of the lack of STEAM opportunities for underprivileged students in my neighborhood.
How did your community change as a result of your project?
Our project was a step towards the wider span of STEAM opportunities for various students in facilities such as children outreach centers, shelters, and more. We were able to share the value of science and other related subjects with more students in the community. As a result, I believe we evoked a stronger sense of enthusiasm and motivation for STEAM.
How many people were impacted by your project?
Explain how you came up with the number of people impacted by the project?
The total number of people impacted by the project was calculated by adding the number of project team members and the number of students we were able to reach out to. Some people may ask why I added our team members to the count, so I will say that I truly have seen many of the team members grow in varying aspects by being a leader in this project. Therefore, the team was impacted just as much as the other students.
How did your team learn more about the people affected by the injustice?
My team worked diligently to fully understand the students that we planned to reach out to. In order to do so, we contacted the directors and leaders of the organizations that many of the students were associated with. By asking questions and obtaining information from these community leaders, we learned much more about the students that did not have as many opportunities to experience the values of STEAM education.
What did your team learn?
My team most definitely learned a plethora of things during the process of putting the project together. First, we learned how to work efficiently as a group. At first we did have trouble reaching one decision as many of the members were unwilling to reach a happy medium. However, as we had more meetings, we all learned that in order to get things done, we had to listen and consider one another at all times. Furthermore, we learned that often times, scheduled events do not always happen as planned in the real world which is why we need to be aware that a sudden change can occur at any time during the project. This realization helped us to always consider a back up plan.
What challenges did your team overcome?
As aforementioned, a major challenge we experienced as a team was the arguments we had at the meetings regarding important decisions. Initially, it seemed almost impossible to ensure that all members were fully satisfied with the decisions. However, I realized that sometimes it is not possible to make everyone happy. Once I was able to accept this idea, I was able to bring the team back together as now, we would be working to include at least a part of everyone's idea in the final plan.
How have you involved others in designing, carrying out, or expanding this project?
The very first step that I accomplished in the project was calling out to interested students and teachers at my school to be part of the team. Once the team was created we worked together through the entire process. Also, my team worked closely with other community leaders in the area to ensure that we were on the right track to help the students in our community.
What advice would you give to someone starting a peacemaking project?
Of course the minute details of every project development process is unique. Therefore, I may not be able to give detailed advice on every tiny step. However, I am sure that I can give one piece of valuable advice that really sets the foundation for any project. Whether you hope to end world hunger or fight for an egalitarian society, every project starts with a strong team. I suggest that all peacemakers reach out in their community for people who want to help obtain the goal. With a team, the entire project is more enjoyable and efficient. Also, always keep a positive mindset. Nothing is impossible!