The College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources’ Extension internships provide students with the opportunity to learn and work in a paid career-oriented role. Colleen Brady ’23 (CAHNR) shares her experience exposing children to STEM.
What is your name, major, and year?
My name is Colleen Brady, and I am a rising junior at UConn Storrs majoring in allied health sciences and minoring in communications on the pre-physical therapy track.
What is your internship this summer?
This summer I am interning with UConn 4-H STEM in Windham County. I have been doing a lot of virtual work creating STEM-related activities for the 4-H website including virtual escape rooms and activity calendars for the rest of 2021. I am also going to a nearby Parks and Recreation camp once a week to facilitate Mission to Mars-related activities with students ages seven to 13.
Why were you interested in this opportunity?
Pursuing a STEM-related field myself, I was very interested in this internship opportunity in order to expose more kids to the exciting fields of science, technology, engineering, and math. STEM often seems daunting to younger kids, especially young girls, and this internship seemed like a great way to impact the younger generation to make them understand that anyone can get involved in STEM and show them how much fun it can be.
How does your work help improve the quality of life for Connecticut residents?
The virtual escape rooms and daily STEM activity calendars are great ways to impact Connecticut residents. Parents and caregivers can easily access these activities for free and entertain their children while exposing them to a variety of educational topics. These activities also further expose Connecticut children to STEM topics and fields in order to emphasize the importance and attainability of a future in STEM.
How would you describe your experience working at this internship?
My experience with this internship has been fantastic. I have learned a lot about partnering and working independently toward a shared goal, and more generally about how STEM is everywhere and affects everything. It has been great to work with my supervisor Marc Cournoyer collaborating on new ideas and lesson planning for the in-person component of this internship, as well as to research and create activities that all children can participate in regardless of age, gender, race, or socioeconomic status.
How does this internship fit with your future goals at UConn and beyond?
In addition to hoping to become a physical therapist, I have always had a passion for working with kids and acting as a mentor and hope to incorporate these components into my future career. This internship has definitely helped me along that path through exposing me to lesson planning, creation of activities, and more hands-on time with children in the community. I know I will use many of these skills both during the rest of my time at UConn through my mentoring roles, as well as in my professional life as a physical therapist through teaching and mentoring future students.
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