My first day at Hamdard, and first day mentoring kids anywhere, was already two weeks ago on July 10th. While I wasn’t sure what to expect, I was well-armed with materials to share. The Scratch website and accompanying Scratch Ed site have a lot of information on learning and teaching both Scratch programming and also the underlying concepts of programming in general. Particularly, I found the Scratch Cards nice for start up. While everyone worked on the basic, isolated activities, I was able to make my first attempt to gauge where in experience and interest each child was positioned. I quickly learned that most of the kids had some experience with Scratch, either through a previous mentor from Loyola or from class work at school. However, even the youngest child, with little experience and limited understanding of English, was very quick to understand basic commands and navigate the Scratch UI. In my own experience, computers are a natural extension of everyday living for even the youngest children today, and Scratch is so well-designed and intuitive to use, that programming is now natural and common as well. After this first session, I was excited to see what the kids would be able to accomplish in the following weeks.
The third week there, I accidentally walked into their corporate meeting and made a fool out of myself. The interns were relocated to a different floor and I was unaware of that change. However, Debs made sure she directed me to them after she saw me look confused. As I arrived where the interns were situated, I introduced myself to the entire cycle - I only had met few of the interns before. I gave a two-minute spiel about what I do and how I can assist them with their needs and continued to get to know them for a bit. I provided my e-mail address which they jotted down and hopefully they reach out to me when in need. They are a smart group of ambitious interns and their consistency and perseverance will definitely pay off. I helped them with any questions they had and gave my perspective on ideas. Once everyone proceeded to do an evaluation for their previous presentation, I started the second administrative project Debs wanted me to do. This consisted of looking up I.C. Stars alumni from previous cycles and determining their current job and college status. I was told to use LinkedIn to identify those information and I continued to work on retrieving data in the fourth week also.
Andddd I’m back!
I resumed my volunteer services at I.C. Stars two weeks ago and things are a bit different than last cycle. For one, there are 17 interns, which is seven more than the previous one. Secondly, I have been working on administrative work more than one-on-one with the interns. I haven’t met them all yet, but hope to do that soon. There are two projects that I have been assigned. The first one is about Social Services that can be used by the interns. For that project, I researched over 30 different topics/areas and attempted to seek out the best option for them. I kept in mind financial considerations since that seems to be the decision factor for most social service pick. I will be reviewing my work next week and starting on the second project accordingly.
Though I named the title as my last week, it won’t be so. I will be returning to the organization as a volunteer again in June for the next cycle.
In my last service hours with the cycle 25 interns, there wasn’t much going on. The main assignment they were working on was the “Dream Speech” which they have to present during their last week in I.C. Stars (next week). Similarly, they will be walking the stage the same day I will be (May 11th). Their “Dream Speech” is about their future goals and ambitions and the steps they are going to take to achieve it. One of the questions they have to reflect and discuss about is the kind of job they will be seeking once they finish up the cycle and what sorts of skills and experiences they want to improve with the job. I helped the interns talk through what they want to pursue and put it in writing. They all were in a jovial mood and very excited to be finishing up their course. As was I.
I hope the interns have learned as much from me as I have from them. A very inspiring, hardworking group of people that will reach the stars.
Today at I.C. Stars, the interns were studying and prepping for their final examinations as well as surveys they had to complete for the cycle. Like me, they will be graduating May 11th. They will have finished the 25th cycle at I.C. Stars. As they were quietly focusing on their final tasks, I helped them wherever I was able to help. One of the interns had been working on a gift for the cycle interns and he was able to host the game with all of the interns and the supervisor, Debs. Since the topics were based off of the company and the Afternoon Tea speakers, I couldn’t really participate, but helped the host with scores and maintaining the crowd in case it got out of hand. As soon as three rounds of Jeopardy were over, few of the interns and I spent a bit of time speaking with one another about how I.C. Stars work and what the next steps will be for the interns; Residency.
One domestic thing I was taught today was how to brew tea for their Afternoon Tea event. I successfully made couple kettles of tea and helped the interns set up and clean the area for the speaker. Overall, a fun filled day. One more Friday to go!
As I walked into I.C. Stars this afternoon, the interns were in the middle of virtual conference with a person from another consulting company. Debs (the training program supervisor) was coordinating with him and ensuring the interns were following through properly. At first, the interns seemed a bit flustered due to the overload of information that was being provided, but that’s where Debs came in to help them in comprehension. Once the meeting was over, the teams were given specific stipulations that pertains to I.C. Stars. Each team consisting of three members had to fill three specific roles that paralleled to the phases. I was involved in the process of figuring out and confirming which members are going to be working on the different roles and the steps they need to take for successful completion. Everyone was in a good mood today and even snapped pictures of each other with Debs.
The previous two hours with I.C. Stars was bit of a stressful one for the interns. It seemed that they had a short deadline before their Siemens assessment proposal was due. Because they only had couple days and the weekend to complete their writings, each of them were productively typing away. I did my best to construct outlines and help them gear the right direction with writing - since I have done about hundreds of papers in my college career. Additionally, I assisted them clean up their research and eliminate irrelevant information to replace them with quality ones. Select interns did not want any help, which I respected and moved on to the next individual. One thing I came across, which was unheard of, concerned that certain team members weren’t pulling their weight causing one person to take the team’s burden. I did my best to console the intern and figure out a solution for their team. Hoping it all went well!
Due to a class meeting I had right after my volunteering hours at I.C. Stars, I wasn’t able to post a blog entry afterwards. Thus, I forgot to write something until today.
Last Friday the interns were researching on various departments of Siemens. They had attended a meeting at the company’s office and retrieved general information they needed to successfully perform their prompt. Their prompt consisted of gathering data from their business processes, technologies, financial management, locations, organizational units, etc. It seemed as if they were a bit confused considering that each intern I spoke with gave me different objectives for the overall project. Though I knew that the ten interns were grouped in three different groups as usual with different tasks, they were a bit unclear of how to proceed. I helped each group research by having them look at different sites within the Siemens’ website. Some of their struggles included figuring out the definition of certain words or in which context the term was to be understood. Other challenges I recognized was interpreting the data they collected to determine the category it belongs to. Additionally, some interns were looking at irrelevant material about the company unintentionally and I assisted them to gear back in the right direction by looking at valuable information.
Lastly, the fun experience I had that Friday involved creating a game in the similar framework of the board game LIFE. One of the interns and I traced the path LIFE has to make a new game under his stipulations. He is planning on presenting it to I.C. Stars as a gift from him at the end of the cycle.
This Friday was unlike the other Fridays. The interns did not have a particular project to work on so many were either finishing up incomplete tasks or researching for internship/training programs. Some were still working on their queries whereas others were looking into the Cisco internship opportunity that came up. One of the interns saw the income potential an employee could make by being a Cisco consultant and started panicking. Dissimilar to most people’s initial reaction, she did not want to make that much money. She was adhering to the idea that the more money a person makes, the more it gets to one’s head. She kept stating that she never wants to be that woman who grows arrogant and greedy because of making money. I spent about half an hour to consult her that once she starts working, she will be proud of what she makes due to her hard work. For the remainder of the time the other interns were teasing her about her “money phobia” and that if she doesn’t want the money to donate it to them gladly. That was probably the highlight of the day.
Later on, the interns took part in a rally to support the latest controversial shooting that took place in Florida. Unfortunately, due to limited time I was unable to participate so I stayed back with couple interns who did not want to attend the rally. To each their own!
My fifth week was sort of a modified repeat from the fourth week. The interns were still working on their innovative ideas and seemed to be moving along well in their projects. I continued to help them by providing ideas, research tips, thought-provoking questions, and so forth. At this point, the groups had created their websites and were working on making changes to resemble them as a high-impact website. Basically, another low stress day.