Spencer is a fourth-year majoring in mechanical engineering with a minor in design integration.
What lead you to getting involved with C4K?
I got involved in Computers4Kids through the Technology Leaders Program in the Systems Engineering department at UVA. Every semester we are required to, in some way, earn credit for the program, and one option is community outreach. C4K was an opportunity, along with programs at the Clark, Walker, and Buford schools around Charlottesville. C4K seemed like a fun place to learn through teaching, so I gave it a shot and three semesters later, it is the only way I can imagine earning my TLP credit.
What's been the most rewarding aspect of C4K?
The experience has been rewarding in so many ways. It is incredible to be a part of a program that inspires kids in the community to create and build. I can never seem to wipe the smile off my face when I walk in to the building on Friday to, "Spencer, where have you been?? We have work to do!" There have been days where we spray paint homemade skateboards all gold simply because we thought it would look cool, and there are days where I have taught mentees how to code an Arduino sketch that lights LEDs to music. Regardless of the project, I am awed by the kids’ devotion to seeing an idea through to completion.
What would you to say to someone thinking about joining C4K or any other service initiative?
Anybody who is interested in STEM should consider becoming a mentor at C4K. James, Matt, Tricia, Blair, and the entire staff have created a special environment, which is wonderful to be a part of. It is hard to get kids to do anything besides sit in front of a screen after a grueling day of sixith grade, but helping C4K do just that has been the highlight of my week for the past year.