In Computer Science Education Club, I organized, planned, and participated in 3 Hour of Code events. During these events we invite students from Lakeland Elementary/Middle School to learn about computer science through interactive programming games and learn about what college has to offer. In addition, I was a teaching assistant for Kids WhoCode, a weekly after-school program at Lakeland Elementary school with 1st and 2nd grade students teaching them Scratch Jr. This semester, I am volunteering with Lansdowne High School and supporting their Computer Science and Robotics Club.
With Society of Women Engineers (SWE), I worked with the SWENext at Catonsville High School for the Rube Goldberg Competition in 2018 and talked to parents about supporting their students as they transition into college. Their team ended up winning the regional competition for Baltimore-Washington. As the Vice President, I also used my time to get funding for members to attend the National SWE Conference in Minnesota and the WE Local Conference in Baltimore.
My involvement in SWE and CS Education has amounted to about 4 hours of week for 30 weeks out of the year for the past 3 years. This amounts to about 360 hours. I have learned a lot about what makes different students excited about learning and different modes of learning, particularly in tech and computer science.
My work volunteering with computer science education and tech education is directly related the work I want to do to advance personalized learning. This experience is extremely well-tied to my challenge.
This service experience mostly contributes to teamwork and realistic vision. Learning computer science and engineering, especially when working with a large group of students, highlights the importance of being part of team. Students learn from the instructor but also other students that may be more familiar with the concepts.As an instructor and teaching assistant, I worked with executive board members in Society of Women Engineers and Computer Science Education to create engaging content for the students we work with. By repeating this process, we were able to curate content that students found engaging and exciting. Creating using computer science also involves a lot of creativity within the boundaries of a language. We tell students to maintain realistic vision even when encouraging them to be creative. This means telling them to be economical and focus on what the task of the day is.
Community Engagement I have invited students from local K-12 schools, Lakeland Elementary/Middle School and Lansdowne High School, to participate in the national programming initiative, Hour of Code on campus.While on campus, I led the coding activities and guided students through UMBC labs.
Civic Agency I served as teaching assistant for Kids Who Code, an after-school program where 1stand 2nd graders at Lakeland Elementary learn about computer science using Scratch Jr. We have had students play Minecraft games from code.org to learn about programming and show a repetitive dance in front of the class then use Scratch Jr. on iPads to make Scratchy dance. Students were able to connect concepts in CS like loops using something they can relate to. I personally helped any students that were struggling or encouraged more advanced students to try something new.
Capacity for Reflection I have never seen students of all ages be so equally intrigued and excited than when I set up Makey Makey’s to create a banana piano. We were teaching 2nd graders how to play “Mary Had a Little Lamb” while explaining the importance of holding ground to be part of the circuit. I often had a student that was holding ground hold hands with another student that was not, so the other student could interact with the banana piano. They were able to connect technology and computer science to something they loved and were familiar with. That is why I want to work at the intersection of music, technology, and education and pursue it at the highest level.
Commitment I have prioritized working with underrepresented minorities in STEM because I recognize that these groups have been traditionally discouraged from pursuing careering in technology. As a black woman in computer science, being seen as a computer science student in college by K-12 students of color that do not know anyone in tech is a very empowering experience.