#PeopleofSTEAM: Meet Marianela

Default FIRST Image

#PeopleofSTEAM: Meet Marianela 

Marianela, a member of the 2023 Inspire the Future: FIRST® Educators Recognition Program cohort, is a Computer Science teacher for elementary students at American Heritage School in Florida. In addition to being a classroom teacher, she is also a FIRST® LEGO® League mentor and runs four after-school enrichment classes that focus on technology. Whether she is teaching class during the day or supporting her students after school, Marianela folds STEAM into everything she does. She likes using strategies from each area of STEAM to build inclusive and comprehensive learning experiences for her students. 

“Seeing their enthusiasm and motivation when they discover they can create extraordinary things is indescribable,” she says of her students. Marianela enjoys assisting and challenging her students to help them develop critical thinking skills that will allow them to solve their problems and overcome challenges.  

Read more about how Marianela uses STEAM in the classroom and how it has impacted her and her students below. 


FIRST Staff: What excites you most about Computer Science? 

Marianela: What excites me most about Computer Science is the wide variety of disciplines in which we can generate positive changes. Computer Science can be integrated into all educational fields, making instruction more fun and effective while maximizing academic results. 


FIRST Staff: What advice do you have for other Computer Science teachers? 

Marianela: I advise other Computer Science teachers to be passionate about your important role, have fun, play, keep an open mind, and have an attitude of constant discovery, like a child. Maintain an attitude of constant learning, learn alongside your students, listen to them, and consider their uniqueness. 


FIRST Staff: How do you use STEAM skills in your everyday work/life?  

Marianela: I try to [ignite] the imagination of my students and make them think outside the box, challenging them to create innovative solutions to everyday problems. To capture and keep the attention of my students, all my lessons include a fun and unexpected part, another that is hands-on, and pedagogical resources where more than one sense participates (smell, sight, touch, hearing, or taste). In elementary instruction, reaching the child's brain using different strategies is critical. In addition, I use many resources that consider my students' multiple intelligences to create inclusive and comprehensive teaching.  


FIRST Staff: Can you share your thoughts on the impact of your personal/professional work in STEAM?  

Marianela: Educators have a crucial impact on the lives of our students. . We have a huge responsibility since our students learn the academic concepts we teach them, and our entire behavior is a model for them. My most significant impact on my students is helping them develop critical thinking, solve problems creatively, and create work and study environments where everyone feels included. Working in the STEAM disciplines forces educators to be informed and updated on new technologies and the most efficient ways to incorporate them into pedagogical strategies.  


FIRST Staff: Who is a “Person of STEAM” who inspires you?  

Marianela: My students inspire me daily. I learn from them, and they guide me to keep moving forward. If I had to choose STEAM adults whom I admire and inspire, I would undoubtedly choose the people who voluntarily invest their time and effort so that the new generations can fully develop—for example, coaches, mentors, organizers, and volunteers of FIRST. I am always thrilled at each FIRST event to see the passion they dedicate to inspire, motivate, and develop the talent of our students.  


FIRST Staff: Do you have a message you want to share for students who are participating in FIRST today? 

Marianela: My main advice to my students/team members is to believe in themselves and their talents. We can all achieve what we set out to do. I always tell my students that learning is a journey to be enjoyed. I would say to them: be persistent, help others, and that the most important thing is not the result but the process to get there. FIRST is about developing human beings, not just winning an award. Be persistent, help others, and understand that the most important thing is not the result but the process to get there. Enjoy the ride! 


The Inspire the Future: FIRST Educators Recognition Program honors our commitment to recognizing the outstanding work of educators in the FIRST community. Do you know an educator with an outstanding commitment to FIRST who deserves to be recognized?


Are you a person of STEAM? Share your story with #PeopleofSTEAM on social media or send us your story at marketing@firstinspires.org.