LearnServe Fellow 2010
Last Sunday I hosted my team’s weekly executive meeting over Google Hangout. We talked casually, purposefully about each chapter of KAST – Kids Are Scientists Too, Inc., the organization I founded while in LearnServe – and our focus for Fall 2013. As the founder and chief director, I am humbled to be leading such an amazing group. Our team hails from 7 states, 11 high schools and universities. They lead a team of 150 volunteers – all working towards the common goal of getting kids excited about science.
I have always been fascinated by how the world works. I was fortunate to have some really engaging elementary school teachers who showed my class some really “cool” things. Since then, I have loved science. I want other kids to experience how exciting science can be!
I created KAST with that passion in mind. We teach free hands-on after-school science classes to elementary and middle school students. Our lessons are all created and taught by high school – and, more recently – college students. In our first year, I was privileged to work with 50 volunteers who were able to share their love of science with 400 elementary and middle school students at 14 campuses.
Since that first year, KAST has grown. Our early volunteers have brought the program to their college towns. We’ve formally incorporated as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. And this fall we will launch KASTEdu, a comprehensive online curriculum for middle school students, compatible with state curriculum guidelines, but inclusive of so much more. We continue to develop new lessons and expand our programs to new states.
If I had to name one thing that made me who I am today, it is undoubtedly and by far LearnServe. LearnServe taught me to dream big, to embody my passions, and to not hesitate when presented with the opportunity to do something I truly believe in. Through the many social entrepreneurs and inspired people I met, I acquired an understanding of things greater than myself, and developed a fierce desire to help others by actually changing the world for the better. I became more responsible and professional, and learned to communicate with “adults” such as other social entrepreneurs, grant presentation panelists, and the pro bono lawyers who helped us become a registered 501(c)3 non-profit.
It is with these experience that I, as a first-year college student new to the MIT campus, decided to run for class president. I introduced myself to hundreds of fellow students talking about my ideas for making our time at MIT memorable. I have the privilege of serving as President of the Class of 2015. As I consider my future after college, the most important – really, the only – consideration is what I can do to make our world a better place.
I am forever grateful to the peers I met, the people I learned from, and the LearnServe team for their guidance, leadership, and exceedingly compassionate help. When I first heard of the LearnServe Fellows Program in high school, I was excited and knew I wanted to be a part of it. But there was no way I could have imagined how truly special the experience would be.
To anyone in the Fellows Program: you are incredibly fortunate to have such a phenomenal opportunity. Please continue to cherish it. And to anyone thinking about supporting or being involved with LearnServe, absolutely do.
Jessica Yang graduated from the LearnServe Fellows Program in 2010. She is a graduate of Richard Montgomery High School and currently attends the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She is the Founder, President, and CEO of Kids are Scientist Too (KAST).
LearnServe 10×10 interviews and profiles compiled by Melanie Barlow (Fellows 2010) and Julia Peck (Fellows 2011)
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