Video Transcript – Parent-Teacher-Student-Researcher Coordinator
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[Dr. Sonia Galaviz, Title 1 Coach, Whittier Elementary School]: I came to Boise State in the mid nineties to go to school. I thought I was going to be a lobbyist, so you know, my major was completely different and life circumstances led me to sort of reframe what I wanted to do. And I had been doing some volunteer work at the migrant labor camp in Caldwell, and I started to get into some of the education classes to see if it was a good fit. And as my dad says, it was a duck to water, and so it felt like home. And so I feel like I grew up in the College of Education at Boise State. And so I stayed there for my bachelor’s and my master’s and then was able to complete my doctoral in 2020.
This year is going to be a new professional experience for me. I’m the Title 1 Coach at Whittier Elementary. I’m excited for this opportunity. It’s a community school in Boise. It’s dual language. It’s Title 1. It has all the things that speak to my heart as an educator. But for the first time, Whittier is going to have a STEM program, and so I’m able to build that from the ground up. And that fills my teacher heart, because I know the power of what that can mean for kids.
So to promote STEM identity and STEM learning, I would say you have to start early and often. So we know the research says that between the ages of 10 and 14 is when a child is really cementing in their science identity, meaning where they can decide at that point if it’s for them. So when you think of the things that we hold in our own selves as a part of our identity, I’m this kind of person or my family does this or that, it is often introduced early on in life. And so if we want kids to be taking advanced science and math courses, they have to be developing that identity in elementary school so it’s in the realm of their possibility.
There are pretty significant barriers to STEM access and opportunity in low income environments and in vulnerable communities around the treasure Valley and around the nation, honestly. If I’m trying to build STEM identity in kids, to bypass the family is a huge mistake because they’re the number one influencer of aspiration and interest, and they’re the ones that support the child in those interests. So if we can get the whole family invested and really have all of us see ourselves in that STEM space, then it translates to support for the child as they are interested in robotics, or engineering, or, you know, computer science, whatever it might be. So the family is crux to access the child. And so working with families allows them to see the resources that are available in the school and in the community, and the opportunities that exist for everybody to play and experience and engage with STEM.
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