STEAM Engine

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:

Goals

  • 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.

Key Steps

  • 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.

Reflection:

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?

31

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!

Our Updates:

STEAM Engine

Soyoun C. 28 May 2018 9:45 I have created a STEAM Engine team at school to get together with more students for a vast variety of STEAM experiment ideas. As a group, we collectively decided on which facilities to visit in the community. We further identified how to spend the mini-grant money in buying the experiment supplies. The brainstorming process was a great way to ensure that all the members were on the same page.

My future aspirations

Soyoun C. 31 May 2018 23:15 Now that I have spent the time to reflect on my progress thus far, I am visioning the future for my project. I truly hope to continue my work with the same fervent passion that has led me to where I am today. I sincerely thank Peace First for giving the courage and motivation to proudly work towards a goal I have always quietly had in mind. Thank you!

Comments:

Soyoun C.
2 June 2018 15:41

Hello!

Thank you for the great feedback. I enjoyed every aspect of the project, and I do not know how to express my gratitude to Peace First for being the fiery motivation that led to STEAM Engine. I will most definitely continue the work, and update our progress.

Thank you for your words of encouragement. Have a great day!

Sincerely,

Soy Choi  

RaulPF C.
2 June 2018 10:15

Hi Soyoun and team!

Congratulations on finishing your peacemaking project! I’m on the Peace First team and wanted to say thank you for your amazing work and for taking time to share your work.

Below you will find some feedback based on your Reflection, which we hope will help you to celebrate your incredible accomplishment and reflect on how to grow and develop your project in the future:

It was powerful to read the amount of research you went through by combining reading some articles as well as talking to leaders in the area. I can really see how that helped the team deepen the understanding of the injustice you were trying to address. I also felt that you had some powerful insights around the work you needed to do as a team and the compromises you all needed to take to be able to get things done and to collaborate effectively.

I can also definitely see why it made sense to add your team members as beneficiaries. I am also glad that the team is motivated to continue this work. As you continue developing your project, I would encourage you to continue spending more time understanding the injustice from the eyes of the young people being affected by the injustice in addition to the leaders that you reached out too. We have seen how this approach can also help to identify more ways to make your project even more impactful.

We hope you will stay in touch and keep us up to date as you continue your work to create change!

Thanks for making the world a better place!

Raul
 

Soyoun C.
2 March 2018 22:57

Thank you for your support! I will definitely work on posting updates on my project progress. I know that I will encounter many questions on the way, so I will share them as I know I will get great suggestions.  

Soyoun C.
2 March 2018 22:55

Thank you so much! I am very excited to develop my project further!  

Fish S. Peace First Staff
2 March 2018 15:55

Glad to hear it, Soy! I love how responsive you are to feedback. I bet that's why your project is so awesome :)

Let us know how things are going, and how we can help!  

Kelsey T.
2 March 2018 15:38

We received the form and will get your check out to you next week! Congrats again!  

Soyoun C.
1 March 2018 21:57

Thank you so much for sharing the feedback with me. There is so much valuable information that I found in both the strengths and things to consider section. I will most definitely continue to ponder and research into the additional reasons that there are barriers for marginalized people trying to access STEAM fields.
Also, I did submit the mini-grant form that you sent via email.

Once again, thank you for all your help! It is truly a joy to be part of this wonderful community!

Soy Choi  

Fish S. Peace First Staff
28 February 2018 16:51

Congratulations! Your project has been selected to receive a Peace First Challenge mini-grant. We will be in touch soon with details about this payment.

The mini-grant process is also a space for you to get feedback on your peacemaking project. We hope you will use this feedback to further strengthen your project. Please see the feedback on your mini-grant below.

STRENGTHS
This is a truly excellent project, and we're excited to support it! You've clearly done a lot of thinking about how to build an incredible STEAM program for students who may not have access to those resources! In particular, I love your specific, itemized action steps, your enthusiasm about involving others in the planning process, and your commitment to "meticulously" gather feedback from students and supervisors in the organizations you work with to improve the program (this is key!) These are things that we love to see in peacemaking projects -- nice work.

THINGS TO CONSIDER
While your project is really exciting, there are a few things you can do to make it even stronger! For instance, I love your plan to gather student feedback to improve the program -- I wonder how you might involve students at the organizations you're working with in helping plan or even deliver the program. Also, I invite you to keep considering Adrian's question -- "what are additional reasons that there are barriers for marginalized people trying to access STEAM fields?" -- and think about how you might address this with your work. It's those sorts of things that help projects move from being quite effective to being truly transformative!

Congratulations, and best of luck with your project!  

Fish S. Peace First Staff
26 February 2018 17:13

Awesome!  

RaulPF C.
24 February 2018 7:23

You are very welcome. Thanks for making the world a better place!  

Adrian B.
23 February 2018 18:24

Sounds good--and you're very welcome! Come ask questions any time, and let us know how else we can support you!  

Soyoun C.
17 February 2018 9:40

That would be wonderful. I am also looking at other ways to get organizations in our community involved like Fish suggested. Thank you for your support!  

Soyoun C.
17 February 2018 9:39

Thank you for all your suggestions! I will definitely let you know if I have any questions.  

Soyoun C.
17 February 2018 9:38

Alright! I will let you know my progress. Thank you!  

Fish S. Peace First Staff
16 February 2018 13:32

That sounds really excellent! I think a really important part of this project will be getting lots of people involved so you're able to get more work done -- let me know if you want to brainstorm about how to involve your friends in leading the project! I think it could also be important and helpful, as Adrian mentions, to visit these young people and work directly with them to plan the activities, so they have a chance to share what they'd like to do!

I bet you could find some places that might donate (or discount) STEAM materials for your project - let me know if I can be helpful with thinking through that!  

RaulPF C.
16 February 2018 13:11

Thanks! I definitely think we should be able to help with some of that through our mini-grants!  

Adrian B.
16 February 2018 13:02

Hi Soy!

I'm so glad this was helpful! Please keep us in the loop as you start the interview process--happy to think through any steps, from who to interview to what questions you want to ask, if that is useful. I'm very excited to watch this project unfold. Please let us know how we can support you!!

Best,
Adrian  

Soyoun C.
14 February 2018 17:49

Hello Adrian!

Thank you so much for taking a look at my project and sending me lots of encouragement. I will most definitely look at the links you have sent me. I will let you know what I find. I love your suggestion of interviewing people who experience the injustice, people who cause the injustice, and people who are already working to solve the injustice. I will get to work on this right away.

Thank you again! Have a splendid rest of your day!

Sincerely,

Soy Choi  

Soyoun C.
14 February 2018 17:46

I am currently working on finding a place to get the science materials that I will need to set up STEAM events for the students who do not have many opportunities to experience these hands-on activities. I feel that I need the most help in getting a sufficient amount of materials so that more students can take part.  

Soyoun C.
14 February 2018 17:45

I have been thinking of implementing a program in my community that can help students in foster care and homeless shelters experience STEAM related activities. I have a group of friends in the area that would love to help. I am currently working on finding a place to get the science materials that I will need to set up STEAM events for the students who do not have many opportunities to experience these hands-on activities.  

Adrian B.
12 February 2018 16:51

Hi Soyoun!

Thanks so much for sharing this project! I love the video you posted--it shows how incredible an experience that must have been (and congrats on the award!). Under-representation of marginalized communities in the STEAM field is an important problem, and I'm glad you're taking action to address this injustice.

As part of the process of completing peacemaking projects, Peace First staff give formal feedback on important steps of your project. One of those steps is the compassionate insight.

I love the insight that you have here, and the project ideas you have! Your insight is almost ready to go--I'm curious if you have ideas about additional ways you can address underrepresentation in STEAM fields. Visiting underprivileged students is a great place to start--are there other ways you can support them in going into STEAM fields?

Why do you think there are additional reasons that there are barriers for marginalized people trying to access STEM fields? We encourage people at this stage of their project to get to the root cause of what's happening--understanding root causes can make your end project even deeper and more effective.

It can be helpful to talk to people who experience this injustice, people who cause this injustice, and people who are already working to solve this injustice. While your insight is clear and logical as it stands, I would encourage you to do interviews with each of those groups--it will enrich your project in lots of ways! Here are some resources on how to do that: https://www.peacefirst.org/understand-through-compassion

I'd also encourage you to connect with other projects in the Peace First community which are working on these issues. Here are a few of them:

https://www.peacefirst.org/projects/kentucky-star-center-weather-balloon-experiment
https://www.peacefirst.org/projects/codergirls
https://www.peacefirst.org/projects/kentucky-star-center-weather-balloon-experiment
https://www.peacefirst.org/projects/advancing-adaptive-equity-oriented-pedagogy-stem-higher-education
https://www.peacefirst.org/projects/stem-seminars-underprivileged-schools
https://www.peacefirst.org/stories/stem-careers-show-narrowing-gender-gap
https://www.peacefirst.org/projects/gender-gap-between-men-and-women-stem-related-fields
https://www.peacefirst.org/questions/how-can-i-raise-awareness-and-encourage-young-women-join-stem-related-fields

And here are some articles that unpack this topic/other cool orgs workig o this issue:

http://www.transhack.org/
https://guides.tricolib.brynmawr.edu/STEM
https://www.xojane.com/issues/disabled-people-in-science-technology-math-engineering-fields
http://www.matthewrcover.com/undocumented-in-stem
https://phys.org/news/2018-01-women-men-stem-odds-workplace.html

I hope this is useful! Please let us know how we can support this important work. Thanks again, and I'm excited to see where this project goes!

Best,
Adrian  

Fish S. Peace First Staff
10 January 2018 17:36

Soyoun, thanks for the work you're doing. You're so right that STEAM education is not accessible to those who need it most -- and that becomes a bigger and bigger problem the more important and prominent STEAM becomes.

Sounds like you know what you want to do -- bring STEAM programming to communities that might need it otherwise -- but need help creating the program and finding a place/time to implement it. Is that right? If so -- we're here to help.  

RaulPF C.
2 January 2018 11:18

Soyoun, thanks for sharing more about what brought you to this point. What are the areas where you think you need help the most? We would love to help!  

Clare W.
1 August 2018 17:02

Hi Soyoun!

I'm Clare—a member of the Peace First team—and I wanted to let you know how inspired I am by your project's impact in providing opportunities for underprivileged students to gain access to STEM and envision themselves pursuing STEM careers. I admire how you worked collaboratively with the members of your club and community leaders to build this program. I think you would have a lot of great advice to share with other young leaders about how to carry out similar projects. I hope that you'll submit an application to tell your story at the first-ever Peace First Summit on 9/16!

Applications are due tonight, August 1—you should have more information in your email inbox. Here's the application link: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSd6X9fTrSTC6PoXjLpVUtNlJgZHbd5QdB6-hgxlC-d7DBlK_g/viewform Please let me know if you have any questions—I hope you'll apply!

Warmly,
Clare