Campus Compact AmeriCorps VISTA Member strengthening Community Engagement & Partnerships
Department(s):The STEM Education Center
The STEM Education Center is happy to be hosting Joshua Young as their Campus Compact AmeriCorps VISTA member for 2021-2022. The Center believes community engagement to be an important part of transforming STEM education to be inclusive and equitable. AmeriCorps is an organization founded on the goal of fighting poverty in the USA. AmeriCorps combats poverty in many ways, including improving education outcomes for children.
Joshua’s VISTA project is to build the infrastructure and capacity at WPI to sustainably and effectively support PreK-12 students, educators, and families in the Worcester, MA community and greater Central MA region with equitable access to high-quality, integrated, and inclusive STEM education opportunities through a STEM ecosystem.
Joshua is partnering with many Community-Based Organizations (CBOs) in Worcester to create in-person programs. After a year of online education, in-person learning is vital for students. He is working to improve the capacity of several CBOs by recruiting volunteers to help assist with STEM programing and to provide STEM tutoring. He has worked to connect the YMCA, the Latino Education Institute (LEI) and the Black Excellence Academy (BEA) with WPI student volunteers. These programs continue and strengthen partnerships between WPI and the YMCA and LEI, as well as form the promising start to a new partnership between WPI and BEA.
In addition to non-profits and CBOs, Joshua has also worked with Worcester Public Schools. One such program with a Worcester school focused on bringing hands-on STEM activities to students and families at Burncoat High School. The program served over 200 students and their families, and included volunteers from WPI as well as additional volunteers from Quinsigamond Community College and Holy Cross. This event aimed to get students and their families excited about STEM by giving them hands-on experiences. This event also gave WPI students a way to actively engage with the Worcester Community and to promote WPI to a high school audience. Additionally, Joshua is working to create a tutoring program with Worcester Technical High School to help students with Math or Science.
His goal is to enrich the lives of WPI students and members of the Worcester Community by forming deep, long-term partnerships between the volunteers and community organizations. Additionally, he aims to improve the lives of those living in Worcester, especially underserved communities, by improving access to quality STEM education. He hopes to build on already existing relationships in the community as well as forming new relationships with community organizations.
Joshua moved to Worcester after graduating from UMass Amherst where he studied Linguistics and Anthropology. He’s looking forward to working with the Worcester and WPI communities.
“Since week one on campus, Joshua has been an influential part of rolling out Worcester College Corps to our students and coming up with ideas on how to engage in a meaningful way with the Worcester community.”
- Katie Bilotta, Director of Community Relations, WPI