Viterbi has many strong professional societies, design teams, and competition teams. However, my favourite Viterbi organization that I’m involved in is the Viterbi Impact Program (VIP), our main volunteer force. As a member of VIP, you can volunteer for either Iridescent or Mission Science, two similar organizations that allow college students to teach science and engineering to local elementary school students. Both organizations are a great way to get involved in the South Central community.
I chose to volunteer for Iridescent, just because it was a bit more flexible with scheduling. Iridescent has many different methods to engage elementary students, including online programs, after school programs, and summer camps. I’m mostly involved with the after school programs called Family Science. Family Science sessions are held once a week for eight weeks each semester. Not only do the elementary school students attend these sessions, but their parents and siblings are encouraged to come as well. This way, the whole family is getting involved in science and engineering. The lessons can be easily be brought back home, instead of being isolated projects at school.
Family Science is all project based. Each week, we choose a different project to teach. Projects can be anything from “build the tallest paper tower possible” or “build a paper airplane with the longest flight path”. Through these projects, we teach the engineering design process and different science concepts based on the project. It can be hard to explain concepts you think are simple to elementary school students. You have to be able to break down concepts and be able to answer all sorts of questions that elementary students can come up with.
I love volunteering with VIP and Iridescent because I get to interact with kids, solidify my foundational science concepts, and get to know the South Central community. South Central is much more diverse than my hometown of Highlands Ranch, and it’s been weird for me to be in a room where everybody else is speaking a different language (there are a lot of Spanish speakers in South Central). Overall VIP has been an enriching experience, and I encourage everyone to volunteer in some way during their time in college.
Images from this blog were taken from www.iridescentlearning.orgMeet Sophie