University of California - Santa Barbara
Describe the world you come from – for example, your family, community or school – and tell us how your world has shaped your dreams and aspirations.
Twenty-five familiar faces stare at me as I pull down the whiteboard to start the day's lesson on how to use if/else statements to follow a black line. Teaching robotics every weekend at the Catholic Church off of Paseo Padre Parkway every Saturday morning carried a new surprise; a new student, each bringing a new story behind showing up every Saturday at 10:00 A.M.
I see Pastor Diane in the back, listening intently. I think back to when we first met, four years ago. When she heard my story of why I wanted to teach programming to children from all backgrounds, she became my biggest supporter. Every Sunday mass she spoke to parents enthusiastically about my classes, bringing in more and more students for me to teach. She became a regular attendee of the class, as well as a friend to each of the kids for years to come.
I explained to the class, "If the sensor is on a black line, it turns right until it detects a white value, else?" One hand shot up immediately, Aman. Aman was known as a recluse by all his classmates; his parents said that his doctor had diagnosed him with Asperger's, and that in general they weren't able to raise his confidence. With every project built, I saw his self-esteem rise a notch higher each Saturday....
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