Aerospace Engineering undergraduate
Grace's "partner in outreach passion" was Alicia. These two became
very close friends, even sharing an apartment together. Their skills,
styles, personalities, and perceptions were quite different; yet,
working together, they were powerful. Alicia began working at CUOS as
a messenger and office help person. Slowly, she came to ask about our
efforts and, when she had extra time, wanted to get involved. As her
first contribution, she created a lesson for the Web site from her
own middle school science fair project on the greenhouse
effect. This lesson still gets tremendous response, with kids all
over the world writing their thanks for the prize-winning science
fair idea. She and Grace formed a close bond and truly provided the
horsepower for the conception and creation of Reach Out!
Alicia was the primary author of the first-year evaluation report for the Southeastern Michigan Math-Science Learning Coalition written in September 1996. Partly because of that, she was invited by Lisa Payton to deliver a paper and presentation on forming learning community coalitions to the 1997 National Conference of the Women in Engineering Program Advocates (WEPAN) and the National Association of Minority Engineering Program Administrators (NAMEPA) in Washington, DC. Also, in the summer of 1996, Alicia herself was an NSF Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) student at CUOS who studied and evaluated the CUOS K12 outreach programs. This research and report no doubt provided the groundwork for the conception of Reach Out! Alicia and Debbie McCartney also furthered their formal knowledge and training about program and community development and leadership skills in the summer 1997 UM LeaderShape program.
Alicia has made every attempt to get the College of Engineering involved, working with DAPCEP, SWE, MEPO, NSBE, Eta Kappa Nu, the Volunteer Computer Corps, and the NASA Space Grant Consortium. She tried to work with the NASA group to post their lessons on the Web; she was key to our keeping a focus on the design and posting of hands-on lessons for everyone to share. She has struggled with the age-old problem we have of not being willing to work together. Alicia embodies the philosophy that it doesn't matter who gets the credit as long as we are making it happen for kids. Whether we needed a banner for the Union or someone needed a pinch hitter to do an experiment at a site, Alicia was there. She has the big-picture vision of how groups and people could work together for common purposes. She also is the person who would challenge us to reach for bigger goals than we thought we could achieve. She is a pusher and a unique visionary who can also roll up her sleeves to get things done.
Summer Algebra I Class|
Alicia taught six girls first-semester algebra at the North Maple Estates community center in the summer of 1997, rising to the occasion when CUOS director Gérard Mourou shared his belief that we had to do whatever we could to help all kids at least get through algebra. She knew that the usual academic programs weren't working for many of the African American teens and hoped that a more individualized approach might bring better results. Alicia worked with the Pioneer High math director, Jennie Lombard, and the housing project's youth center director, Dale Griffin, to develop a for-credit summer course. It was deliberately sited where they lived, with the expectation that kids would be more attentive and parents more involved. Students were carefully chosen after applications and interviews, which were intended to impress upon them the seriousness of the commitment they were to make. Alicia dealt with the many problems, attitudes, and issues that surfaced in this difficult summer. She also learned to drive and got her driver's license so that she could borrow a car to get there.
Although Alicia found these weeks painful, difficult, and often depressing, the remaining four young women did well enough to receive a semester's credit. All the planning and attention could not overcome the students' poor motivation, stemming from a lack of faith in their own capacity to succeed along with a persistent sense that algebra is irrelevant to their life plans. Actually, "plan" may be too elaborate a word for their vague notions of what they might do in the future. Once more, we confirmed our conviction that career exploration is a vitaland largely missingpiece in our young people's educational process. And the girls' fears about their ability to succeed were well-founded in skill and knowledge deficits that could no more be fixed than they were created overnight. As Alicia struggled with being both a teacher and role model for the girls, the "family" nature of Reach Out! was clearly evidenced by other students empathizing with and encouraging her. This may be the single best example of how outreach work affects the provider as well as the receiver of services; it is hard to imagine another experience that could have elicited the same soul-searching and mature acceptance that quick fixes for our nation's educational problems do not exist.
In 1996, Alicia received the Martin Luther King Spirit Award for student community service and for helping to establish Reach Out!
Alicia coordinated the CUOS DAPCEP spring program in 1997. She interviewed peers to work with her, trained them, developed the curriculum, arranged training and materials, and generally oversaw our program. She went to Cobo Hall and manned a table to provide information to youth and parents and dealt with all applications and the selection process. She worked with four UM student and faculty volunteers to provide this program serving ten children.
|D.||Marie Tripp, Jim Birnby & Amy Raudenbush, Aarti Raheja|
|E.||Yamina Acebo, Karyl Shand
||F. ||Roselle Herrera, John Nees, Fritz Weihe, Andy Rundquist,
||G. ||Cherita Hunter,
||H. ||Veronica Cottingham,
||I. ||Erika Arias, Rachel Keefer, Srinivas Sridhara
||II. ||Traditional Report
||Expand established programs
||2. Wizards for Hands-On
||3. Career Exploration
||B. ||Support for Michigan Mandate
and Agenda for Women Goals
||C. ||Lessons Learned
||D. ||Next Steps
||Appendix A: Volunteer
Mentors from Fall 1997 through Fall 1998
||Appendix B: Science Club
Volunteers from Fall 1997 through Fall 1998
||Appendix C: Outreach Sites
from Fall 1997 through Fall 1998