Summer job: Building the STEM class of 2022
Trevon R. Jones is a senior with a double major in mathematics and government. This summer he was the head intern for the newest UTeach outreach initiative, the University of Texas at Austin’s Pre-Freshman Engineering Program (UT PREP). UT PREP is based on the TexPREP program in San Antonio and will be one part of a 13-year pipeline from fourth grade to college graduation. Several UTeach interns worked alongside Trevon to help this first class of UT PREP students.
Each morning for seven weeks, I waited anxiously with a team of UTeach interns to greet the inaugural class of the UT Pre-Freshman Engineering Program (UT PREP). Every day, UT PREP helped students envision themselves as college graduates. Every camper had unique dreams and aspirations of entering fields like civil engineering and wildlife biology, but all shared the goal of becoming a member of the college class of 2022 in a Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics (STEM) field.
These UT PREP students are from groups historically underrepresented in STEM careers. They are determined to graduate from college and this motivated them to spend their summer designing bridges and mousetrap cars, learning about STEM careers, proving statements using mathematical logic, and applying problem solving techniques. This summer was only the first step. Until college graduation, UTeach Outreach will continue to reach out to these students.
I collaborated with UTeach interns, UT faculty, Master Teachers, and UTeach outreach staff to help immerse our class of seventh grade students in STEM. I met with the program coordinator to discuss the activities of the day, assisted class instructors, provided feedback to students about their class work, served as a mentor and tutored in multiple subjects. The best part of my job was being able to support amazing students and dynamic interns.
“For the kids,” or “FTK,” is a phrase that we used often as a staff. These three words describe the passion that we felt when we worked with and for our seventh grade students. I’ve never worked harder than I did this summer, but it was worth it because I did it FTK.