Spirit of City DAys Lives on With Fellows, LINKSBy Jackson Jung
Participants and coordinators of the City Days program, which brings MIT students together with Cambridge schools, were on hand last week to celebrate the success of the program, which began last September. President Charles M. Vest congratulated the program's 14 undergraduate fellows as well as the program as a whole.
The fellows worked 40 hours per week during Independent Activities Period in Cambridge schools assisting teachers and supporting science discovery clubs, science fairs, and new science curricula. The Lord Foundation sponsored these $1200 fellowships, as well as three $4800 fellowships to be awarded to undergraduates for the upcoming summer.
Yvonne M. Romero '93, a City Days fellow, assisted teachers in kindergarten and in grades three through eight at Graham and Parks Elementary School. "The students love it. Trying to get them interested is part of the fun," Romero said.
"I never realized how difficult it is for teachers. They need general knowledge in a lot of fields, and then they need to do something interesting to keep students interested," she added.
Romero is a math major who would like to teach after graduation.
LINKS Program Expands
The City Days program also includes a year-long component called LINKS. It began in fall with 90 undergraduate volunteers and has expanded to more than 200 this spring. The undergraduates have been volunteering one to three hours per week with kindergarten through eighth grade students at eight Cambridge schools.
A major activity for the LINKS volunteers is helping supplement an intensive new science and math curriculum for the Cambridge schools. The curriculum is being orchestrated by Cambridge Schools Science Coordinator Melanie Barron and her staff in the math and science department.
"I have been enjoying [the work] quite a lot," said Roberto D. Almeida '95, a City Days fellow and a LINKS volunteer who has been working at Graham and Parks and at Harrington Elementary. "I just really enjoy working with kids." Almeida arranged an after-school science program and is involved with teaching, developing demonstrations, and taking students on field trips to the Institute and the Museum of Science.
Almeida says he plans to apply for the summer fellowship, and will be a LINKS program coordinator next year. He is already coordinating the LINKS activities for his brothers at Phi Beta Epsilon.
The City Days program was launched during Residence/Orientation Week last year, the result of a collaborative effort between MIT's Public Service Center, R/O Committee, Undergraduate Academic Affairs Office, Office of Community Relations, and the School Department of the City of Cambridge.
MIT students cleaned up local elementary school playgrounds, repaired lights and did yard work. Cambridge fourth, fifth, and sixth graders then visited the Institute to participate in laboratory tours, lectures, and scientific experiments. Approximately 2000 people participated in these R/O activities.
The other City Days fellows include Anup Bagaria '94, Ross R. Crowley '95, Brian C. Davison '95, Grant K. Eiselen '93, Kathryn E. Howe '93, Francis K. Lee '93, Bryn M. Mowry '95, Jee Y. Park '93, Brian B. Rose '93, Rohit Sakhuja '94, Aafia Siddiqui '94, and Lucy Tsirulnik '93.