SUMMER Fellows

Cultivate Summer Learning

Gaining Meaningful Experience Through Summer Programs

The Wyoming Afterschool Alliance was delighted to offer an inaugural summer fellows program for Wyoming undergraduate students working with youth in their hometowns during summer 2023.  

We believe that connecting with summer programs across the state, sharing robust resources, and building the capacity of youth professionals we can support young people in developing their own STEAM identity and enjoyment. 

The Summer Fellows Program supports the mission of the Million Girls Moonshot! The national organization is supported by the STEM Next Foundation that is playing a critical role in bringing in- and out-of-school time STEM learning opportunities to millions of children and closing the gender gap in STEM careers. Learn more at wyafterschoolalliance.org/million-girls-moonshot.

We understand the incredible capacity, enthusiasm, and role modeling that can take place when undergraduate students return to their home communities for the summer. And we want to celebrate that opportunity with a dynamic summer program that offers funding and professional learning based on the cohort’s interests, skillsets, and curiosity. 

Fellows received a stipend and enriching professional development as part of the professional learning community around positive youth engagement.  

Summer programs that hosted fellows benefited from this partnership too! WYAA provided additional tools and resources made available by the Million Girls Moonshot to programs and a small grant to purchase materials or additional training for their staff.

About the Summer Fellows

Each of the Fellows brings a unique perspective to the program. We asked, “What excites you about working with young people in your community?”

Alexandra Walters, Casper: Working with young people is exciting because they have so much curiosity. They ask questions. These questions help me to learn, grow, and gain new perspectives. Kids often have a fresh perspective on the world, and I love hearing their ideas. In turn, I get to help them grow their curiosity and passion for STEAM. Understanding the world around us can be very empowering, and I want every kid to have the opportunity to explore their curiosities. One big problem in the STEAM field is a lack of diversity. I want to encourage all to believe that they are capable and can join the field if they want. A lack of acceptance is the cause of suffering for so many young people, but I want them to know that they are supported and welcomed.  

Elizabeth Ann Green, Laramie: I think it is extremely important for young people in our community to build connections. No matter what background a child comes from, they deserve to feel comfortable in their community. For children to meet older people, outside of school, who want them to learn and develop skills is an amazing way for the child to feel safe and comfortable learning about their community. Moreover, when children feel backed by their community, they tend to gain a sense of pride in where they live. With that, they are more likely to try to bring as much good into their neighborhoods as they can now and in the future.  

Kelli Frimml, Worland: I love teaching and guiding kids as they grow and learn more about the job itself along the way. I feel that it’s so important to help kids stay on track with their educational levels and aid them in subjects they are struggling in so that they can walk into the new school year ready and confident. 

Kora Williams, Laramie: They look up to us and we influence them a lot more than we think. These kids and younger individuals are our future and need good, positive influences in their lives. A lot of them look forward to seeing us because it is something stable in their lives. Another thing that excites me about working with the youth is how unpredictable they are. They watch so much YouTube and Tik Tok on their free time, so you never know what they are going to say. I enjoy hearing all the random things that come out of their mouth and all the different thoughts they have. These kids teach me more than I can teach them. A third thing that excites me about working with kids and younger individuals is meeting new people. I love meeting new kids, getting to know them, and hearing about their stories. Kids are all so different from each other in their own ways. 

Nicole Porter, Laramie: I am always looking for more ways to get involved with kids in my community. I currently work with at risk youth and it is very rewarding. I get as much out of it as I give! 

Peyton O’Dougherty, Casper: One of the absolute best qualities that young people possess is resilience; their ability to persevere astounds me. Along with their uncanny brilliance, young people have an innocence that allows them to be candid and have a perspective all their own. I believe that the sacred moment wherein a “lightbulb” occurs is arguably one of the most important in the world of education. 

Sahar Faqeeri, Laramie: What excites me is sharing my experiences with them and answering their questions. I find this to be so much fun because personally I learn a lot through meeting new people and asking people of their experiences because that leads me to a path and from there, I can begin building my own experiences. I feel like working with young people in the community, they are always carrying an imaginary toolbox around with them, and me or anyone else as a volunteer in this type of service serve as “tools” for them in their toolbox, and they can pull out those “tools” anytime in their life and use them! 

Sarah Elizabeth Gregg, Laramie: I am excited to impact the lives of young people in my community. I want to inspire young people as well as help them discover who they are and what excites them in life. I would be so excited to take young people on different adventures in my community and show them what the community has to offer them now in their lives and in the future. Young people are a key part of our lives and they have a huge impact on our world today and have the ability to make huge differences in the world too. 

Shelby Foery, Casper: When I was in school, there were certain experiences and people that helped turn my interest in science into my career path. Without those opportunities to explore the outdoors with people knowledgeable about science and invested in my education, I know I would be at a different place in my life. My parents love to travel and are also educators, so they invested greatly in exposing my sibling and me to other cultures while encouraging a love for Wyoming. I understand that not all children or young adults have the same opportunities that I did. I loved to see their excitement grow while exploring the campus and programs like this one are so important in providing the opportunity for students to experience Wyoming and all that it has to offer. 

Learn Why Summer Matters!

Today’s students need a robust learning environment where they are empowered to realize their full potential. With true collaboration among afterschool and summer programs, schools, and community partners, we can meet the needs of kids and families today—and forge a new future where every child is cared for, included, educated, and inspired.  

Mission: The Wyoming Afterschool Alliance is a statewide network working to create the conditions for young people to reach their full potential. We are a priority fund of the Wyoming Community Foundation.

WYOMING AFTERSCHOOL ALLIANCE

1472 N. 5th Street, Suite 201
Laramie, WY 82072
Phone: 307-721-8300

 

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