Why did I want to be a part of STEM-Away?
The goals of STEM-Away – to help students successfully enter STEM careers and to level the STEM playing field - are what drew me in. I watched the introduction video from the founder Debaleena Das and knew I wanted to meet her in person to join the revolution. I call it a revolution because I believe that STEM-Away can truly level the playing field for everyone interested in the STEM fields. As a student of color, I sometimes face additional challenges, and so I understand the need for this platform. Also, I can already see that the experience gained through STEM-Away is opening more and more doors for a range of students, especially for those from minority groups.
After learning about the Mentor Chains project planned for the Summer of 2019, I was extremely excited to get started. The project involved taking career data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics website and then presenting the findings in an interactive graphical representation. The name of the project was CST, which stands for Career Statistic Tools. The idea of CST was that the student team would build a full web application. The deliverables meant building both the frontpage that users see and the backend section that administrators use to update the website. I started as a project participant and later converted my participation into an internship based on the partnership between my college, Foothill Community College, and STEM-Away.
What was my experience of being an intern for STEM-Away?My experience of being an intern was great. I gained new technical and non- technical skills throughout the internship. I was personally involved in learning how to design and develop a full-stack web application on a virtual platform. I learned how to use the Google Cloud Platform and the features that it has to help create a presentable webpage. I improved my collaboration and communication skills by learning how to work in a remote team to develop the CST project. I learned a lot about project management and working in a professional setting. Also, I learned how to use a tool called Data Studio from Google, which we used to read and present data for the graphical representations. Details of my tasks and the skills I acquired are available here.
What was my experience being part of the Mentor Chain project?The Mentor Chain experience had great benefits. Experiencing both the mentor and mentee roles as part of the Mentor Chain process was helpful. The ability to gain and share knowledge with a diverse set of students was excellent. I was able to learn from my peers and my mentors about new concepts. Being able to mentor other students as part of this internship to help them accomplish their goals was very rewarding. This idea of having mentors and mentees is not new, but allowing students with no prior experience to learn in this way from a project is fantastic.
A snapshot from one of the virtual meetings with my team: