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A Look Back at Our STEM Workshop in Partnership with EWB and TAVA - Reflections from Volunteer, Mikhyle

Last December, from the 14th to the 15th, ARUP's Community Engagement team partnered with Engineers Without Borders (EWB) and TAVA to host a captivating STEM workshop for young minds. This impactful event, driven by our commitment to community engagement, perfectly embodied ARUP's mission to contribute time, professional skills, and expertise to empower individuals and organizations.

As part of ARUP's commitment to social responsibility and community engagement, the workshop embodied our core value of contributing professional skills and expertise for positive impact. With 227 projects delivered, over 53,000 volunteer hours dedicated, and exceeding 1 million beneficiaries reached from 2022 to 2023, ARUP's Community Engagement prioritizes initiatives that empower individuals and communities. The STEM workshop aligned perfectly with this mission, equipping young minds with valuable skills and fostering a passion for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Day 1: Discovery, Assembly, Trial & Error

Day 1 was a baptism by fire.

Assembly lines buzzed with focused assembly, punctuated by the occasional cry of "My motor isn't working!" and joyous shouts of "It moved!".

Witnessing this raw fascination with technology, the spark of problem-solving ignited in their eyes, was like watching tiny Einsteins taking their first steps. ​

We facilitators were, by turns, cheerleaders, engineers, and emergency repair crews, but the true heroes were the students themselves. Their resilience as they tackled failed connections and their creativity in overcoming limitations were a testament to their innate ingenuity.

Day 2​: Refinement, Independence & More Challenges!

Day 2 dawned with a renewed sense of purpose.

Armed with the lessons learned from the day before, the students approached their creations with newfound confidence.

Refinement replaced chaos, perfectionism simmered beneath playful tinkering, and independent thought blossomed. It was incredible to see them move from passive followers to active creators, ownership and pride etched on their faces as they presented their completed robots.

In that moment, we knew we had achieved something profound – planting the seeds of curiosity and innovation that could one day bloom into tomorrow's engineers and architects.

Volunteer Spotlight - Yulu Zhang

After the workshop, here is what one of our amazing ARUP Engineers had to say.

“Volunteering with kids to assemble robots and solve problems isn't just about gears and code — it's about sparking the imagination of future engineers. Together, we transform challenges into opportunities, fueling their curiosity and passion for innovation.

We're not just fine-tuning code and mechanics; we're sculpting the next generation of problem solvers, dreamers, and creators”.

Looking Back

"Tiring" feels woefully inadequate.

These two days have been a masterclass in the power of STEM education, a reminder that inspiration can spark at the most unexpected ages. But beyond the individual joy of each child, a larger truth emerges. 

There's a hunger for this kind of engagement, a yearning for knowledge and practical application that ARUP, with its focus on community and innovation, is uniquely positioned to fulfill.

Increased frequency of workshops, expanded outreach programs – these are not just possibilities, but responsibilities. Because in the eyes of those children, we're not just facilitators, we're ambassadors of a future where imagination meets reality, and that's a legacy worth building.​

So, while exhaustion may linger,

It's overshadowed by the profound sense of accomplishment.

We touched minds, ignited passions, and maybe, just maybe, shaped the future of engineering. And that, I feel, is anything but tiring. ​ ​It's exhilarating.

Until Next Time!

To the incredible ARUP volunteers who poured their knowledge and enthusiasm into these young minds, your dedication was the rocket fuel that propelled this workshop to success. Thank you for sharing your passion for STEM and for being role models who inspire the next generation of innovators.

A heartfelt shout-out to our partners at Engineers Without Borders (EWB) and TAVA for collaborating to make this learning opportunity possible. Your expertise and unwavering support were instrumental in creating this transformative experience. We look forward to future collaborations, expanded programs, and continued opportunities to ignite the imagination and unlock the potential of young minds.


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