The importance of programs like Kids Teach Tech

For the second year in a row, Berkeley IEOR has partnered with Georgia Tech ISyE and Kids Teach Tech (KTT) to virtually deliver the Seth Bonder Summer Program in Computational and Data Science for Engineering, an immersive, virtual summer camp designed to give K-12th grade youth a better understanding of the careers and opportunities available in industrial engineering and operations research. IEOR recently sat down with Kids Teach Tech coach Ariel Qian (IEOR M.E.T ’24) to discuss her experience as part of this year’s Seth Bonder Summer Program. 

What made you decide to participate in this year’s program?

I love these programs because it’s great for both parties. As teachers, we can share our technical knowledge while growing our leadership and interpersonal skills. I found teaching to be incredibly valuable because every time I explain a concept to someone else, I feel like I understand the concept a little better myself. For students, they can access resources they otherwise may not have access to. For example, some school districts might not fund the STEM fields properly, and so students might not have an opportunity to learn how to code. With programs like KTT, students from all walks of life can learn from each other and grow their technical skills. As teachers, we can play such a vital role in increasing the passion and enthusiasm that students have towards the STEM fields, so being able to create such an impact on students is amazing. 

What was your favorite part of Kids Teach Tech?

My favorite part of the program was at the very end when the students could talk about their favorite projects and showcase all the cool things they’d completed during the week. It’s amazing to see the passion that the students have after just a short week of learning. I specifically remember one student using coding blocks to create Minecraft music. It was incredible to see how he managed to incorporate programming into something else that he really loved doing. 

Why is it important to do outreach in underserved communities?

It is important to reach out to underserved communities because oftentimes, students in these communities either have not been exposed as much to STEM, or they have been exposed but do not have the resources to pursue their interests. By reaching out to them, you’re introducing them to a whole new world of math and science that they might never have known before. You are also able to provide them with avenues to continue exploring their interests in these fields, something that they might not be able to do otherwise. And who knows? Maybe your act of reaching out will inspire the next great scientist or mathematician.

Any final thoughts?

Kids Teach Tech was a really great experience because I was able to work with such amazing, bright students. Many of my students were older or had never been exposed to programming before, so teaching them fundamental concepts related to programming allowed me to be their first introduction to the world of code. Moreover, being able to encourage these students to explore the STEM field more is so empowering. I had just an incredible time being able to meet so many people from different backgrounds.

Learn More

Read IEOR’s recent article about this year’s program here.