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Giving Back and Building Dreams
Guest Author: Carmen Cornejo, AZSciTechFest Hispanic Outreach, Principal, Critical Mass Communications, LLC
Many wait for the golden years of retirement to give back to the community, but not a pair of dynamic ASU recent alumni. These young not only are giving back to the community as volunteers, but creating and managing an organization which promotes STEM for elementary school children. Mabel Muñoz and Ingrid Tay are accomplished professionals, former members of the Carl Hayden Robotics Team, who overcame many obstacles in graduating not only from their high school but from Arizona State University with honors. This dedicated duo, who wanted to share their love and enthusiasm for science and technology, created “Building Dreams/ Construyendo Sueños“ which trains teams to participate in FIRST Lego League competitions.
“The purpose of Building Dreams is to promote STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) activities to underserved communities. Through robotics, kids learn and are exposed to disciplines such as programming, creative thinking, teamwork, organization, and public communication. We strive to create a working environment were youth become motivated to become engineers, scientists, or doctors,” said Mabel Muñoz. Building Dreams tries to expose kids to various activities like Lego Mindstorm robotics classes, computer camps, visits to career fairs, and involvement in the annual FLL (First Lego League) robotics competition which takes place each year in December. “This year, we will continue with the robotics classes with the purpose of enhancing and introducing different skills required in engineering and technology. Throughout the year, we are invited to take our youth to different educational fairs that will spur their imagination and creative thinking,” said Ingrid Tay.
All of the new knowledge and acquired skills are demonstrated at the end of the year during “competition time”. During the last 4 months of the year, kids prepare for the FLL robotics competition where they are given different tasks/missions and they have to work in a team to try to accomplish them. Mabel and Ingrid are real community leaders and an example to follow.