Two weeks ago, we celebrated the start of a new US2020 school year with our annual Kick-Off Party. We can't believe it's already our third year participating in this national initiative, but we're excited about the successes we've seen and the progress we're looking to make during the upcoming school year.
While the majority of the event was dedicated to networking over appetizers and drinks, we had a few remarks to recognize the successes of one of our partners as well as several volunteers. Ahmed Young, Director of the Mayor's Office of Education Innovation, kicked off the remarks by announcing the renewed support of the US2020 initiative by the City of Indianapolis under Mayor Hogsett, a partnership we value greatly and are excited to continue.
Next, since the event was attended by so many wonderful volunteers, it was only right that we recognized some of our best and brightest, who were nominated by their peers for their US2020 involvement.
This year's US2020 Mentors of the Year were:
Kim works at First Internet Bank, where she is instrumental in helping to recruit and organize volunteers for the US2020 initiative. In addition to supporting volunteerism in the office, she has volunteered with the Math Pentathlon program at Indian Creek Elementary School for two years, where her enthusiasm for mentorship is evident.
Michael is a graduate student at IUPUI, currently working on a master's degree in biomedical engineering. For the past two years, he has dedicated his time to the FIRST LEGO League Junior program at IPS 14, inspiring young students in the robotics program with his passion for learning and helping others.
Shenyo'a works for T2 Systems and has volunteered for numerous CoderDojos throughout Indianapolis. Students at Launch Fishers, Horizons at St. Richard's, and Indian Creek Elementary School have all benefitted from having her as a mentor, as she is passionate in her belief that everyone deserves the opportunity to learn and better themselves.
We are so grateful for the commitment of our volunteers, without which US2020 wouldn't be a success. While our students are the biggest beneficiaries of our volunteers' continued dedication to our STEM programs, they tell us it's a two-way street and that they gain just as much from their interactions with the students.
"For me, the best part of being a CoderDojo volunteer is watching a student complete their first coding program on their own," said Shenyo'a Nubuya. "The reaction is priceless!"
During the Year 3 Kick-Off Party, we also took the opportunity to recognize a local finalist in the category of Excellence in Public-Private Partnerships for US2020's national STEM Mentoring Awards that were presented in Washington D.C. at the beginning of August. Since our local partners couldn't be at the White House for the awards ceremony, we wanted to publicly congratulate the Indiana University School of Informatics & Computing at IUPUI. Their Informatics Diversity-Enhanced Workforce (iDEW) initiative was recognized for its work to deliver a diverse and knowledgeable workforce to the IT sector via a partnership between the School of Informatics & Computing and local high schools, industry, and community organizations.
We're so grateful to every partner, volunteer, and funder that commits to supporting the US2020 initiative. Each school, company, and individual volunteer helps us make a lasting impact on Indianapolis' underrepresented youth!