Lauren Fowler is a Junior at Wheelock who worked with the Aspire Institute this semester on the STEM Activity App. Lauren is completing a double major in Elementary Education and Math/Science. She plans on becoming a 4th grade teacher, and is very excited to start her future as an educator in Massachusetts.
What brought you to Wheelock –and then to Aspire?
I came to Wheelock College because I have wanted to be a teacher since I can remember. Looking at all of the schools with teaching programs before applying to Wheelock, I knew that I would get a decent education at any school I chose, but I wanted the college that I attended to be special and to provide me with more than just a decent education. Hearing Wheelock’s slogan, Inspire a World of Good is the reason I came to this college. I knew that I wanted to play a larger role in life than just go to work every day, I wanted to inspire and be a part of something more, something better, and Wheelock is just the place for that. Wheelock College is a place where dreams become reality. Coming here, I wanted to be a teacher, and I have been provided opportunities to teach, but Wheelock really helps us make a difference. Teachers are not just teaching students, but they are truly changing the lives of students and families, and that is what Wheelock stands for, and that is what I believe to be true.
During my time at Wheelock College, I have had the opportunity of connecting with really great professors and staff, which is how I ended up interning with Aspire. For my Math and Science Capstone, I had the opportunity to work with Barbara Joseph, Online Solutions Project Manager, on her STEM application to bring students and families together to talk about and experience STEM activities in a fun, engaging way.
Can you describe your internship project with the Aspire Institute?
For this internship, I worked with Barbara on her STEM Activity App. The STEM app is used to engage students and families in STEM topics. It started out as a tool for parents, but has spread to schools, with the intention that teachers introduce the activities in school and students go home to do the activities with parents or guardians. For this internship, I worked with Barbara every Wednesday and helped find new activities for the summer app. I also made worksheets for teachers to use, helped make surveys, and basically helped out wherever work was needed. It was a great experience!
What is the most interesting thing that you learned while working on the STEM Activity App?
Honestly, I think that all of the new technology and websites were the most interesting! Before this internship, I had no idea how to use Google Docs, and I also did not know what Trello was. Barbara introduced me to these online tools for collaboration, and I ended up taking my knowledge of Trello back to the club I am a part of and we started using it to keep track of our projects when we could not meet. I also now use Google Docs for almost all of my assignments, and have encouraged the use of it in some of my science classes.
What is one moment that you will remember from this internship?
The day I learned that over a thousand people had signed up for the App was probably one of the most rewarding days of this internship. Barbara has been working on this app and putting her all into it, so my happiness and feeling of reward was not necessarily for my own sake but because something that had been worked on for so long was so successful this time around. I was so happy for Barbara that day, and excited that all of our hard work had paid off and people were signing up for the app.
How did you first become interested in STEM topics?
In high school, I had an amazing biology teacher. This was the first time that I had ever been successful in a science class, and it was the first science class I liked. In high school, I also had a really great mathematics teacher, and while he did not change my (not-always) positive view on math, I definitely knew in high school that I wanted to be a teacher and also pursue my love for science.
Do you have any advice for teachers and parents who are trying to get students excited about STEM?
STEM topics and activities are not scary! There are so many great resources out there – like the STEM Activity App, which allows for students, families, and teachers to engage in fun ways with STEM topics. STEM does not need to mean textbooks and worksheets that are difficult and boring. A love of STEM can come from anywhere, and if you take time to explore these topics can be less scary than a lot of people think they are. STEM is fun!