AmeriCorps Week 2023, celebrated March 12-18, is a time to recognize the hard work that AmeriCorps members are putting into serving their communities and encouraging others to follow them in their service journeys. We want to thank our FIRST® AmeriCorps members and highlight the amazing work they are doing across the country to help implement FIRST programs in underserved areas. FIRST AmeriCorps members are key to delivering STEM opportunities to these areas. By serving as co-coaches for teams, mentoring students, and assisting teachers and coaches with leading FIRST programs and developing technical skills, members support their communities and expand the mission of FIRST.
Here are some of the acts of service being done by our FIRST AmeriCorps members:
Volusia County, FL
Adrian Landete has been assisting FIRST® LEGO® League students with their robot design and innovation projects, as well as helping set up FIRST LEGO League qualifier events. As the FIRST® Tech Challenge and FIRST® Robotics Competition program seasons continue, he also assists with robot designs and event setup for those programs as well.
Ashley Barnaba is redirecting mindsets around gender roles and gender bias with students in FIRST programs. She is also assisting FIRST programs in Volusia County schools with the completion of various award nominations and essays, as well as assisting with FIRST in Volusia’s social media platforms and helping students learn how to code.
Connor Pagan is focusing his service on lowering the threshold to entry as students progress through FIRST programs by ensuring that they are prepared for the next age-appropriate offering. He has been assisting teachers in Volusia County with implementing FIRST programs and also assisting with mechanical problems teams encounter as they work to build their robots.
Tori Kaspert has been focusing her service on establishing FIRST LEGO League Explore and FIRST LEGO League Discover programs in several schools in Volusia County. Prior to the introduction of the FIRST AmeriCorps Program in Volusia, these programs were not previously offered in the schools. Tori’s mentorship of the students is leading to an increase in their program engagement.
Hillsborough County, FL
Margery Singleton is helping to foster creativity and critical thinking in the students she is working with. She creates lesson plans that use various platforms to engage students in the STEM field. Margery also designs unique obstacle courses for FIRST LEGO League Challenge students to maneuver their robots through, encouraging them to think outside of the box.
Julio Valenzuela is assisting students in FIRST LEGO League and FIRST Tech Challenge programs with obstacles they face during robot programming. He has also been helping to set up and run scrimmages and events for both programs. Julio is also helping students start a FIRST Robotics Competition team in their area.
New York City, NY
Anas Abousalham has been focusing his service on a wide variety of robot build and design-based tasks. He is also working with FIRST Robotics Competition teams in his area to help them become 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations, which provides the benefit of making donations and team travel expenses tax-deductible. Anas is also teaching the students more effective communication methods.
Isaiah Wilson is assisting FIRST Tech Challenge and FIRST Robotics Competition teams with competition and robot preparation. He is also helping teams with the development of their business and outreach programs, as well as team marketing materials and merchandise.
Summer Galarza is assisting students that come into the NYC Washington Heights Stem Center with learning STEM-based topics. Using experiments as a basis, she is currently educating students on concepts of energy and its relationship to everyday life. Summer has also been helping students work with LEGO® Education Spike PrimeTM/Essential kits.
The 2022-2023 FIRST AmeriCorps members are serving in the Hillsborough County, FL Public School District, Compton, CA Unified School District, Volusia County, FL Public School District, and two New York City, NY STEM Centers: Cornell Tech STEM Center and Washington Heights STEM Center.
The 2022-2023 FIRST AmeriCorps program term runs from October 2022 to July 2023. Recruitment for service in 2023-2024 begins this Spring. Check the FIRST AmeriCorps website in the coming months for the application and information about any additional new locations for the 2023-2024 term.
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