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Volunteering in STEM: The Best Teacher

Updated: Mar 29, 2021

— Boston, MA


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Photo by Anna Earl on Unsplash

Teenagers are motivated to complete volunteer work simply because middle schools and high schools require it. While this is valid, there are plenty of benefits to volunteering or applying to an internship. While the obvious reason is to help communities, students may wonder what other benefits unpaid opportunities offer. Among these, are learning important skills that prepare students for the future.


Volunteering is a hands-on learning approach that comes with the benefits of improved retention, attentiveness, and social skills. Each of these lessons are vital for the growth of young minds. Concerning memory retention, brain scans show that the brain is increasingly activated when recalling tasks that include sensory and motor skills. In addition, hands-on learning better engages both sides of the brain. While the left side is concerned with listening and analyzing processes, the right side manages visual and spatial operations. By combining the two, the brain learns to store greater and more relevant information. Attentiveness works in a similar manner. Hands-on opportunities elevate attentiveness, as compared to non-tactile activities, as well as derive purpose and meaning for students experiencing real world change through their actions. By extension, these activities not only encourage individual engagement but also enhance team social interaction. By participating in activities that promote social interaction, students are able to learn collaboration with others.


In addition to social skills, students will gain experience in their chosen field, learning the process on a simpler level, easing into more difficult tasks. Furthermore, earning career-specific volunteer hours is advantageous, showing experience and dedication. While volunteer and internship roles may not always be a prospective career, students are able to explore various jobs to determine career interests. A student who is volunteering as an English tutor might not consider this a long-term career role but may enjoy working with children, leading to an interest in speech language pathology or social work. Regardless of whether students know their career interests, volunteer work opens many doors and prepares students for the future.

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Based on skills and experience acquired from volunteer work, STEM⋅E has instituted an internship program for middle-school and high-school students. These students work in many different areas of their choice to gain skills needed for the future, including roles in marketing, graphic design, writing, and mentorship in science, technology, mathematics, engineering, and entrepreneurship. In the past month alone, this group of teenagers has successfully launched projects, such as social media outreaches on Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter, a free blog on the STEME website, a graphic design team, and much more, to make science, technology, engineering, and mathematics more accessible for all.


If you are interested in learning more about STEME volunteer and internship opportunities and wish to gain hands-on experience, bolster your resume, and fulfill volunteer requirements, visit https://www.steme.org/volunteer.

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