As we continue to celebrate #DayoftheGirl and #InternationalGirlsDay, BGCWPA would like to introduce you to an incredible young woman, Avery, who gave her summer to develop STEM programming for local youth as part of Princeton University’s ProCES internship program.

“It’s not just about filling students’ time though, it’s about allowing them to explore creative and scientific topics that will expand their minds to what is possible” explains Ava Goldinger, a 2020 Derian Intern through Princeton University’s Program for Community-Engaged Scholarship (ProCES) Research Internship program. Ava is a native of McKeesport, PA and a senior at Princeton University who gave her time this summer to create 70 lesson plans for the STEM programs at Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Pennsylvania. As a BGCWPA Alumnus, Ava understands what STEM education can do, sharing that it is not just about STEM, but also about communication, confidence and what it means to be a good teammate. 

These are all values that can be found in the BGCWPA STEM curriculum that stands for Sparks Curiosity, Teaches Empowered Learning, Establishes Good Habits, and Meets Learners Where They are to Help Them Grow. Like Ava, BGCWPA believes that the skills developed in STEM programming will grow with learners throughout their entire lives. Ava shares, “How do you teach children to play and how do you do it in a way that keeps them playing as adults? These questions are at the heart of the STEM program at BGCWPA. They’ve been serving the people of the Greater Pittsburgh area, my family included, for as long as I can remember.”

ProCES is a program at Princeton where “service meets the curriculum” as Program Coordinator, Maria Lockwood, describes. This program gives Princeton students the opportunity to give back to their communities in effective and efficient ways by utilizing their skill sets and knowledge to solve real nonprofit or government agency needs. As part of independent work, future work or course work, ProCES students are able to collaborate with an organization to combine service and their classes. This summer, students working in a virtual capacity were given the opportunity to choose which organization they wanted to work with, and we are so grateful that Ava chose BGCWPA. “Having Ava participate as part of our program design team not only brings a new perspective, but also speaks to the importance Ava places on her early experiences in STEM,” shares BGCWPA STEM Director, Christine Nguyen, “When Ava reached out to be a part of our STEM team this summer, she expressed that these early STEM experiences were monumental in getting her to her current role at Princeton today. We were thrilled to have Ava on board to help us provide similar opportunities to local youth.”

As a continuum of the partnership between ProCES and BGCWPA, Princeton student, Liam Lynch, has taken his knowledge from Princeton’s Dance Pedagogy classes to offer a virtual Hip Hop 101 course for BGCWPA youth. Through Outschool virtual classroom, Liam offers students the opportunity to practice a short hip hop dance routine, ask questions and learn about the history of dance. As Sarah Cecil, Virtual After School Teacher at Boys & Girls Clubs of Western PA, explains, “The students really enjoy the opportunity to learn a variety of foundational hip hop moves and add them into a short dance routine. They are constantly asking questions and practicing the moves with a smile on their face.” 

Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Pennsylvania would like to thank Ava, Liam, ProCES and Princeton University for the continued support and dedication to do whatever it takes for the youth we serve. Check back for more virtual offerings from this incredible partnership! 

Hear more from Ava and ProCES or sign up for Outschool virtual classes today!