A little over a year ago my editor’s note in The ProSoft Magazine noted that in 2018 I would be volunteering at STEM events near ProSoft’s headquarters. I’d wanted to for a couple of years, and putting it in print ensured the guilt that would come if I bypassed the opportunities.
A few weeks after this blog post is published I’ll volunteer a second Saturday of the year as a judge for a STEM competition. Prior to the first event, I wasn’t quite sure if I’d quickly be singled out as the weak link in the judges lineup – what would a values judge have to know about when assessing technical projects?
What I learned is that there are many different facets of what STEM organizers are trying to accomplish – the technology and creativity behind projects are considered, as you’d expect, but teamwork is paramount as well. I didn’t have to make sure robotics projects worked but instead got to see how the teams worked together – and was inspired by that as well.
There were many different roles involved – from manning the signup table to judging a project’s originality, a wide range of skills and interest levels was represented. That’s a good thing to keep in mind as you determine how to help STEM organizations if that’s an area in which you’d like to encourage interest. In addition to volunteering your time during a competition, consider the following options: