The AmeriCorp VISTA is a prestigious federal program designed to alleviate poverty in the US and has a long standing partnership with FIRST to build capacity in communities to expand FIRST programming. NYC FIRST is pleased to welcome Gabriella G. as our VISTA corp member for the upcoming year - and we'd love for you to get to know him:
Why did you want to serve as a VISTA?
I joined the VISTA program because I wanted to use my Marketing skills to make a positive impact on our country. After a year of uncertainty and the injustices that came with 2020, I felt like I needed to step up and really re-evaluate what I was contributing to society. NYC FIRST stood out to me because I've always toyed with the idea of becoming a science teacher in the future, so I thought this would be a great way to explore that interest.
Why is STEM education important to you?
STEM education is important to me because I know how much it impacts everyone's lives. STEM students and professionals are able to bring new ideas and creations to life, leading to higher confidence and pride in their work. As a result, those creations improve the lives of everyone around them. I think the COVID-19 pandemic response is a clear example of this and how important it is to recognize the value of STEM on our society.
What is the best advice you've received that can support our community?
The best advice I've ever received was from a college professor. He spent a whole class teaching us how important it is to "know your worth". At first, he was explaining this in relation to advertising and business and making sure you don't undervalue your product. But eventually he blended it into a lesson about our personal lives as well, and that has always stuck with me. It pushed me to be more confident in my work, my skills, and my voice.
What advice/words of wisdom do you have for current FIRST participants (high school students)?
I would like FIRST participants to know that if there's a skill that they enjoy contributing to their team, that is something they should consider as a potential career path. I took robotics in middle school and loved it, I've always loved building things, and I enjoyed my physics classes in high school - but for some reason I never considered being an engineer, and I regret not looking into it. On the flip side, I think it's also important for high schoolers to know that it's very common to not know exactly what you want to study/work with in the future. I graduated college three years ago and I'm still trying to figure it out!
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