Inspiring a New Generation of Learners: MASTER Seminar

The+flyer+for+MASTER+Seminar.+Interested+middle+schoolers+can+scan+the+QR+code+or+go+to+the+link+listed+in+the+poster+to+sign+up.

Graphic courtesy of Allison Mi

The flyer for MASTER Seminar. Interested middle schoolers can scan the QR code or go to the link listed in the poster to sign up.

Adrita Talukder, Newspaper Editor in Chief

Beginning June 7, 2021, SCASD middle schoolers and rising freshmen will have the opportunity to take part in MASTER Seminar, an educational program started by junior Allison Mi. Participants will have the chance to work with high school students and learn about different aspects of science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM). 

MASTER—which stands for math, art, science, technology, engineering, and readiness—will be holding one-hour classes every weekday from June 7 to July 2, with a different component of STEAM being featured every day. Students will have the freedom to choose which avenues they’d like to explore and can choose to take as many different courses as they’d like.

There are five available classes, and one class will be taught virtually and synchronously every weekday for four consecutive weeks. The math course will be teaching probability, art will focus on music theory, science will be tackling forensic science, technology will be focusing on augmented and virtual reality, and engineering will feature a mix of coding, computer graphics, and physics. 

At the conclusion of the four weeks, Mi, alongside MASTER course instructors, will hold an open panel where middle schoolers can ask them questions about their high school experiences, the transition from middle school to high school, and for advice on classes and extracurriculars. 

After nearly a year of planning, organizing, and meetings, MASTER Seminar will hold its first sessions this June. The idea of MASTER came to Mi the summer of her junior year, when she was discussing the lack of emphasis placed on technology education at the middle school level with Christopher Avvampato, the Technology Student Association (TSA) advisor. 

“We were doing some brainstorming and thinking about how we could bring exposure to TSA and other clubs and classes to middle school students, and that’s where the idea took off,” Mi said. 

From there, Mi reached out to classmates she heard had an interest in teaching, and worked with Avvampato to navigate the marketing of the program, course development, and the incorporation of projects for students to complete while working virtually. After the initial stages of planning were complete, Mi shifted her focus to marketing and funding for the program. Recently, Mi secured a PTSO grant for the program, which enabled the technology course to provide roughly 13 free Google Cardboard Virtual Reality sets for participating students. 

“It’s definitely kind of an incredible experience, knowing that even with remote learning and holding these classes online, they’re still able to take something out of the lesson and use it for the future,” Mi said. 

As the program nears its launch, Mi has been reflecting on the process. 

“The biggest thing I’ve learned is that—it’s been pretty cool watching these instructors grow as they progressed and really dived deeper into their own interests, bringing that passion to their classes and their course material as they prepare to establish some of that insight onto the younger generation. That’s very inspiring for me to see, personally,” Mi said. 

Interested students can sign up for MASTER Seminar by filling out the RSVP form and can keep up with MASTER Seminar updates by following their Instagram, @masterseminar, or checking out their website, https://masterseminar.wixsite.com/summer2021.

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