Meghan Moloney is pursuing a master’s degree in chemical engineering at ASU after graduating summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in the field in May of this year. She’s from Mesa. Ariz., where she graduated from Desert Ridge High School.
Moloney is also a NASA Space Grant Fellow, which enables her to receive support from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to do public outreach to enhance science and engineering education.
She’s working with after-school science clubs for students in grades sixth through eight at two K-8 Phoenix schools.
Moloney writes about her experience with the outreach endeavors:
I organize and mentor the science club at Lowell Elementary School, and I’m establishing and mentoring a new science club at Shaw Elementary School. Both schools are Title I schools in Phoenix Elementary School District #1, located in low-income, at-risk and predominantly Hispanic neighborhoods.
The science clubs meet weekly to work on projects for the MESA (Math, Engineering, Science Achievement) and Future City competitions. The goal is to teach students about science and engineering in a fun group-project atmosphere, with college science and engineering majors as mentors, to spark the young students’ interest in higher education and the sciences.
These outreach efforts are made in cooperation with the ASU chapter of the Society of Professional Hispanic Engineers. This is my second year working with the Lowell Elementary science club and I am now the lead mentor there and at Shaw Elementary.
I enjoy working with the science club students because I love to teach science and engineering while promoting higher education to children who may not otherwise get encouragement to pursue advanced education.
The students really learn a lot from doing hands-on activities on real-world science and engineering challenges. It’s very rewarding because the kids look up to you as a role model and are always excited to see you and work with you.
It feels good to know that these clubs are changing the way these children look at the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields and higher education, and that what I’m doing could help to shape their future for the better.
Working with these great kids has made me want to continue this work or something similar even after I earn my master’s degree.