Through her involvement in student government, 17-year-old Winnie Wang became interested in education equity. The high school senior, who attends a STEM school, decided she would commit her volunteerism to increasing access to STEM for kids in need.
As the volunteer vice president with SMath Tutors, Winnie is providing affordable, quality education to underprivileged students from elementary to high school who lack access to STEM education or have struggled educationally through the COVID-19 pandemic. Offering courses and tutoring, 90 student tutors have completed more than 60 volunteer hours each, the organization connecting with more than 250 students up and down the East Coast and inspiring youth service.
What inspires you to volunteer?
I’m inspired to share my love of learning and provide opportunities to others, especially given the opportunities I’ve had.
Describe your volunteerism with SMath Tutors.
As vice president, I do it all. I recruit and manage volunteers, help to develop courses and set up classes. We have over 25 courses and are currently working to establish a STEM education after-school initiative in Durham, North Carolina schools.
Share one personal story with me from your volunteerism.
For one of our programs, we taught a biology class, and the students stayed after and created presentations we didn’t ask them to do. I thought it was really interesting that they took their own time to look deeper into a topic we taught them, and create something. It makes me feel really proud that this one idea could turn into something so big.
Why do you think it’s important for others to give back?
It’s really important for youth to contribute to causes like this. Oftentimes they feel like they can’t have an impact, but youth should try to achieve changes, whether at school or legislative changes at the state level. I feel like that’s really possible.
What’s been the most rewarding part of your service?
It’s rewarding to work with the students themselves. We like to promote the importance of doing activities within STEM education because it’s not implemented that much in classrooms.
How have you continued to volunteer throughout the pandemic?
We’re preparing to start our elementary after-school program in-person, it will be conducted outdoors. We’ll continue offering online classes for student participants. Especially during the pandemic, every student was at a different part of their education. Some were struggling, some were super unchallenged by the level of learning, and they wanted to seek out new interests or needed more support. That’s where we stepped in.
In two words, what does volunteering mean to you?
When you’re not busy with school or volunteering, what do you do for fun?
I’m the captain of my diving team. I also really enjoy keeping up to date with politics.
How can readers help?
We’ve supported our communities while also tutoring communities, as donations from student participants go directly to the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina. We’ve donated more than $25,000 to the food bank thus far, providing continued COVID-19 relief for struggling communities. Please visit our website for more information about how you can help and also, get ideas for how you can offer tutoring in your own community.
Do you want to make a difference in your community like Winnie Wang? Find local volunteer opportunities.