My Work with STEAMpark

September 2020

My Work with STEAMpark

By Sophia Risin


Hi! My name is Sophia Risin and I am a volunteer at STEAMpark. I have worked with STEAMpark since it started, and I have worked at different programs through STEAMpark, including assisting teachers in after-school classes in Keansburg, tutoring computer science to girls in Neptune, and one-on-one online summer mentorship. I love working with the students, teaching coding, helping with homework, and being a mentor. Recently, I have been involved with STEMgirls, an after school, girls-only class focused on all aspects of STEM.

During the pandemic, STEAMpark couldn’t teach in person so they had to change their model to ensure continuity of instruction. Our STEMgirls were learning so much and I was happy to help them continue their studies! The staff of STEMgirls assembled emergency kits for each girl with school supplies and STEM activities. They then altered their coding course to function better online and worked with Zoom to host online classes. They were able to provide synchronous coding lessons for all of our students. With a group of other STEAMpark teen volunteers, I also provided one-on-one tutoring and mentoring for students who were interested in going above and beyond, as everyone struggled with the shift to online learning.

I attend Stanford Online High School and I was able to apply my own strategies for dealing with online learning to helping the students at STEAMpark. Over the summer, I tutored two students, one girl going into 5th grade, and one going into 6th grade. I also completed an astronomy summer research seminar and was able to bring what I learned there to STEAMpark via collaboration with the other STEAMpark Teen Board members and tutors.

I love helping students grow and tutor privately online as a part-time job. I am so proud of my STEMgirls students, and I loved watching their progress over the summer and the amount of academic growth they displayed. I am so happy that STEMgirls and the tutoring/mentoring program were able to continue throughout the summer. It was so successful that STEAMpark, along with collaborative partners and the STEAMpark Teen Board, plans to expand it soon!