STEM Puerto Rico Trip! An Amazing Learning Experience!
While in Puerto Rico I will fully engage myself in the culture and community of the area. One part of the trip that excites me the most would be going into the schools during the first couple of days. One of my top career choices at this time is in the area of education. Working with young children brings me great joy and their unique perspective and innocence helps us all to view things in new and exciting ways. Another aspect of the trip that interests me is the various ecosystems we would be discovering. I look forward to expanding my science and math knowledge as we explore the radio astronomy observatory, the organic farms, and the marine ecosystems and am most excited about the night kayak tour to learn about bioluminescence. Of course I must admit that the salsa dancing and zip line sound just plain fun! I can hardly wait!
Throughout these past 3 years that I have lived here in Wenatchee I have gone on 3 summer youth trips; Longmont, Colorado; Detroit, Michigan; and Chelan, Washington. During each of these trips I have learned a lot about group dynamics, working efficiently with others, and how to best support those around me. I have also learned a lot about myself and my faith. In Colorado, my youth group helped move tons of river rock that had settled in the massive amounts of mud brought into the community due to recent flooding. In Michigan we helped clean up entire neighborhoods – by cleaning up yards of homes that had been abandoned, we restored hope and beauty to struggling neighborhoods. Through both these experiences, I learned small sacrifices on my part can have a lasting impact on those around me that I am stronger than I thought I was, and that sometimes just showing that you care can bring hope.
My Spanish emersion started when I was very young. In kindergarten, I began not only to learn Spanish but to learn how to work in a culturally different environment where everyone was truly seen as equal. Throughout my K-8 experience at Four Rivers Community School, a charter school in Ontario, Oregon, I continued to learn and develop these crucial life skills which include teamwork and empathy, with the extra challenge of learning each subject in two languages. For example, in kindergarten, if we learned A B C in English one week, then we continued with D E F in Spanish the following week. With this immersion program we changed teachers and classrooms to help us be fully engaged in the language, we also learned quickly that our peers who spoke English as a second language were leaders for us during our Spanish weeks, and likewise, I could be a leader for them during English weeks. In this same style of learning I was able to fully speak, read and write in Spanish with my teachers and peers by the time I was in 3rd grade. Something that impressed even my parents was the fact that my teachers said that I could go to México at any time and be able to understand and communicate with the locals. Whether I would have actually had the courage at that age to do so is questionable, but the fact that I had the capability to do so gave me an amazing amount of courage. Having this bilingual foundation has given me cultural awareness, a diverse perspective, and a love for learning. By experiencing Puerto Rico through the STEM program, I would be able to fully immerse myself in the language and culture, which has been my life long wish of mine. As I continue through my last few years of High School and move towards my future, I know the more culturally aware I am the greater impact I will have on the world around me.