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Home > Teen Blog > September 2019 > A Summer Reflection
A Summer Reflection
Posted: 9/3/2019 5:16:05 PM

Intrepid Teen Blog
GOALS for Girls

by Lila Tan

Over the past six weeks, we got to witness fifty girls do many things and learn about different topics in STEM. We also got to see some different perspectives from the girls and alumni. Now that the program has come to an end, I got a chance to interview the GOALS staff educators about their time during GOALS. Our four GOALS staff educators for the 2019 cohort are Isabel, Tansu, Martha and Mesha. All are in different stages of college whether it be entering their upperclassmen years or having recently graduated. They all study different areas but were able to bring in their various backgrounds to help teach and support the girls in gaining knowledge and having fun in STEM. Below are the questions that were asked of the educators and their responses to each of them.

What was your most memorable/favorite moment from the program?

Isabel: My most memorable moment was during the NYU trip where some of the girls including Kate, Sofia C. and Anna did different renditions of the YMCA song. I also enjoyed the showcase and working with the event coordinators on it.

Tansu: It would have to be the zip lining and kayaking trips because I have never tried it and so it was a new experience for me. I also loved when I saw certain girls get excited or talk about the topics that we introduced in our curriculum.

Martha: Zip lining because it was scary but it turned out to be fun in the end. That was also the first trip that really changed the atmosphere of all the girls together. When Monday came around, you could see the drastic change from the first week to the second week and how the trip united the whole cohort because it helped the girls bond with and support each other.

Mesha: My most memorable moment would have to be the trip when we took the girls kayaking and roller skating. I feel as though that was when the girls reached a level of comfortability amongst themselves and with the staff, allowing them to express their true emotions and have fun. The way that the girls interacted and were engaging in the activities was amazing to be a part of because we have come a long way from when the girls weren't even speaking to one another.

Favorite trip? Week? Activity/projects?

Isabel: My favorite trip was when we went to the Cooper Hewitt Museum. It was a cool intersection of tech and art. My favorite week was the fifth week which was earth science and marine life. My favorite activity was the oil spill because the girls were able to engineer their own ways to clean up the oil spill and at the same time learn more about the causes of it.

Tansu: My favorite trip was when we went to the National Geographic Encounter for the Ocean Odyssey exhibit in Times Square. My favorite week would be week five which was about marine life. My favorite activity would be when we talked about bioluminescence and meeting different animals from Animal Embassy.

Martha: The Yale trip because it was in the middle of summer where we were able to get out of the city and be in another place that was peaceful. It was also nice to have a college tour for the girls since they were not intimidated by the name and reputation of the college. My favorite week would be the aviation/space weeks (the first two weeks) because we were able to use the Museum and have real life examples to show the girls how the topics related to reality such as the wingspan ratio activity and learning about the Space Race. My favorite activities would be the exoplanets and the alien debate because it was just really fun to see the girls debate about something nonexistent but make it existent with their arguments.

Mesha: My favorite project was during silly science day when I lead the shaking for butter station. I found it fun to learn and teach about something I did not know a lot about so gathering information was interesting. I also had fun watching the girls grasp the knowledge of the different stages that butter must go through to get the finished product and enjoying the proverbial fruits of their labor.

Biggest takeaway from this summer with GOALS?

Isabel: I love education and getting to work with this age group with GOALS. I also loved working with girls which is the targeted audience of GOALS and working with an all-female staff.

Tansu: My biggest takeaway was being more confident in my skills as an educator and being mindful of what the girls would need, even if it was not said explicitly.

Martha: Patience. I got to learn different ways of teaching, understanding and cooperating with teenagers. I was able to understand different perspectives from the new generation of girls we had.

Mesha: My biggest takeaway from this summer is adapting to the developing culture of the youth. As we continue to advance in technology and other media platforms, children are adapting to different environments that vary greatly from the older generation. I found it fun to try and bridge that gap between me and fifty preteens, and furthermore with my peer group.

What are your thoughts about GOALS and STEM?

Isabel: There is nothing stronger than a woman in STEM. GOALS is a brilliant way in bringing them together.

Tansu: GOALS is a great program that is dedicated to bettering itself and wanting to know how the girls think about the program in order to do that. It is also a very fun program and I learned a lot too since I was not exposed to all these different topics when I was their age. The program mission itself is very important and GOALS does a good job of balancing STEM with liberal arts.

Martha: GOALS is such a great tool that these girls get to have each summer. When I was 13, this program was a door-opener for me and for the girls. I got to see and read from girl’s journals about how they all grew in such a short period of time which they would never be able to do by themselves in a year. GOALS is also a great community that allowed the girls to flourish. In terms of STEM, I hope to see more women in this field and increasing equality. There needs to be a balance and women are often overlooked in STEM. So I hope to see better innovation ethically and gender equality.

Mesha: When I was first offered a chance to work with GOALS for Girls Summer Intensive, I immediately researched as far back as I could to learn what the program was about and what this program offered. After learning more about the program, I was shocked that I had never heard of the program and that I never got the chance to be a part of it as a GOALS girl, but working for the program was just as fulfilling. GOALS is the type of program that could change a person's life whether they be one of the staff or one of the girls. I loved the opportunity to interact with young women who held such a strong interest in learning about fields that are severely lacking women, a tragedy in and of itself. The lessons and activities are so fascinating that I felt as though I was learning something new as well.

What advice would you give for the girls as they go beyond the program?

Isabel: Don’t measure yourself in numbers or grades. You are going to value the relationships along the way as happiness is found with others.

Tansu: I have four points I summed up. I hope they become more confident in who they are and find power in being yourself. There is strength in being vulnerable and kind. The journey or path to college isn’t linear and shouldn’t be compared to others. Don’t take yourself out of the game because there is no such thing as not being good enough or smart enough.

Martha: Reflect on everything you do. Aim for the best you that you can be. Stand up for yourself. Always know there is a better way of doing something, so do not restrict yourself and have perseverance.

Mesha: Be as unbiased as possible and read every book to the ending, not just the cover. The reason I believe that this would be the best advice to give the girls is because they had a tendency to immediately judge a topic or trip before even attempting it and that is a bad habit to produce at such a young age. They are at a stage in life where they are going to be offered many opportunities and it’s important that they try almost all of them because they never know how things may pan out or if the opportunity could positively impact their lives.

So there you have it! The 2019 cohort of staff and girls had an amazing summer filled with laughter, lots of learning and heartwarming moments. Hope you enjoyed reading about GOALS this summer!