Belief in Hands-On ScienceBecause Grace believes that kids learn from hands-on and "play," she helped with development of a Web site to share hands-on lessons. She was serious about trying to do what we could to bring kids more hands-on science opportunities and to help teachers and parents see they could provide these for their children, too. She encouraged her own sister in Texas (an elementary teacher) to use our lessons and give us ideas specifically about the age appropriateness of our activities and whether or not we had allowed enough time for various projects. Grace also recruited members of campus-based Christian groups to volunteer with us.
TransformationsGrace came to us as a painfully shy girl who liked to stay in the background. Her work in the creation of Reach Out!, the search for funding for its efforts, and the recruitment of volunteers at Festifall and WinterFest and mass meetings all required her to come out of her shell. Motivated by her enthusiasm for and belief in her mission, she was able to make effective presentations at meetings with associate deans of the College of Engineering, at a lunch with Dean Director, in meetings with Lew Morrissey and Jim Kosteva, and before student groups. She left us as a confident and accomplished leader.
Grace was transformed in other ways, as well, which illustrate the stages most of us have gone through in this outreach work. We tend to begin with a focus on the scientific facts we wish to impart to youngsters, to experience a rude awakening when we discover the extent of their knowledge and skill deficits, to become depressed and wonder whether we are doing any good at all, and then to become viscerally aware of the profound effects we are having in areas that we had not intended or considered. For example, it was being asked "What are you?" that prompted Korean-American Grace and Vietnamese- and Chinese-American volunteers to direct an impromptu geography and history lesson. We forget that the African-American children with whom we work also can benefit from the diversity we expose them to. Grace is the one who originally shared that maybe what is more important than science learning is our helping children and UM people to form relationshipseach having someone to care about, to be there for, and to be missed by when they don't come. Similarly, she sparked our birthday celebrations and lunches with one another, being a true believer that Reach Out! folks need some play and social time together.
Coordination of CCoG Opportunity Center ProgramIn 1997, the student we had expected to coordinate our programs at the Community Church of God (CCoG) Opportunity Center in Ypsilanti was unable to do so, because of personal and school problems. Grace took over on short notice. She and Aarti Raheja worked on the UM PreMed Club to adopt the weekly elementary science club; Grace worked with CUOS researcher John Nees and graduate students Fritz Weihe and Andy Rundquist on the twice-a-month teen club. This coordinator job entailed helping people pick lessons, getting materials, providing training, dealing with transportation problems, planning partiesand improving organizational and time management skills!
Grace has a gift for working with people of all ages, backgrounds, ethnicity ... she related well with CUOS scientists, CCoG staff and volunteers, undergraduate peers, and the children and families at the church center. It is easy to forget, in hindsight, how difficult it was for her to make the first few trips out to Ypsilanti. It was intimidating to be put in a position of leadership among strangers and to be forced to go where she did not feel she "belonged." She exemplifies how being stretched outside our comfort zones helps us to grow.
|Career Exploration||Awards & Recognition
Grace also cared deeply about getting children and teens information
about careers. She saw how she was "pipelined" into engineering in her
own life. She worked to post job shadowing and tour resources on the
Web site and interviewed several companies and employees to gather and
put up their resources. This kind of solicitation of community
business and professional people was also an uncomfortable experience
that she forced herself into in pursuit of her goals. Grace saw the
need to help children and teens have the time to think about their
gifts and talents, how they learn best, what they like to learn about,
and how to find careers that might be a good and happy fit.
In 1996, Grace received the Martin Luther King Spirit Award for
studentcommunity service and for helping to establish Reach
Community DevelopmentGrace believed in working with other community and university groups to post and share existing resources in our area with families and teachers. She primarily planned and maintained the early directories of summer camps, weekend outings, and other workshops or programs from university museums, the Ann Arbor Hands-On Science Museum, the Arboretum, Leslie Science Center, the Gerald Eddy Nature Center, and so forth. Her desire was to help people and families see what is available to let kids learn and have fun with scienceoften for free.
|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