Volunteerism and outreach are important elements of my life philosophy. As a professional educator, I find that I can make the most impact in teaching. Therefore, I’m currently volunteering at Solidez Huis van de Wijk Ons Huis teaching English to Ukrainian refugees. We have around 100,000 Ukrainian refugees in the Netherlands as of Jan 2024, and they need all the help they can get. (If you’re here in NL and would like to help, please reach out!)

In the US, I volunteered as the Education Director for the TeenFlight Program. In this position, I oversaw instruction for high school students building an airplane. I taught weekly ground school lessons on aviation and helped students obtain their sport pilot licenses. I also mentored students as they built a Van’s RV-12 two-seater light sport aircraft. During my time with the organization, we built two aircraft. Students then learned to fly in the airplane they built! Does it get cooler than that?

Teaching aerodynamics with TeenFlight
We built this experimental 2-place Vans RV-12 airplane and flew it into SeaTac Airport for Alaska Days

Through the Upward Bound program, I taught a flight-based summer STEM program to marginalized at-risk 9th-11th graders. These students came from predominantly rural areas throughout Montana and engaged in a 6-week college-prep program. I used the 5E constructivist model to engage students with a wide range of prior knowledge, skills, and abilities.

Launching rockets with Upward Bound
The amazing students of Upward Bound at the Missoula International Airport. (I was the photographer.)

I have taught summer code camps to 10-12 year-old students through “Code. Make. Dream.” We programmed robots using JavaScript to complete mazes and generate light art. We also coded Minecraft mods to build crazy fortresses, silly NPCs, and generative landscapes and used CodeCombat to learn basic coding and logic..