FEBRUARY | 2020
Each month we recognize an AmeriCorps member serving in Utah for going above and beyond the pledge they took to “Get Things Done.” This month we are proud to recognize Alyssa Smith who is serving with the Utah STEM Initiative AmeriCorps Program with the Boys & Girls Club of Utah County.
The Utah STEM Initiative AmeriCorps Program engages underprivileged youth in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). Through tutoring and mentoring activities, students increase their knowledge of the STEM field and experience a shift in attitude, awareness, engagement, behavior and skill. Students are also mentored and have the opportunity to network with STEM professionals and education institutions.
Alyssa Smith has served as the AmeriCorps STEM Specialist at Timpanogos Elementary since the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year. In this short time, she has gone above and beyond in her job. She has taken the time to build healthy relationships with each and every one of the kids in our program and she always provides fun STEM activities that benefit each of them. She spends additional time to prepare lessons that will help some of the kids that are struggling. Her activities are always engaging and the club kids are begging to be in her STEM clubs each month.
Alyssa checks in every day before going home to see if anyone needs help with anything. She always lends a hand to her coworkers whenever they need help. When she sees that something needs to be done, she gets it done. Alyssa told us that because she loves what she does, she can’t help but give it her all. We have seen that every single day that she has worked with us!
When asked about her background and how she got involved with AmeriCorps, this is what Alyssa had to say:
My name is Alyssa Smith. I am currently 23 years old. I was born in Provo, UT, but spent the recent half of my life living in Frisco, TX. My family consists of my parents, David and Trisha Shumway, three younger brothers, two younger sisters, and my wonderful husband, Matthew Smith (also serving as an AmeriCorps member!)
I graduated High School in Texas in the spring of 2014. Not long after, I served a full-time mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Irvine, California, and surrounding areas. After I returned home from 18 months of service, I soon received my Associate’s Degree in General Studies from Brigham Young University-Idaho. Then I transferred to Utah Valley University, where I am currently working on my Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education. There, I am currently on track to graduate in the spring of 2021.
All my life, I have wanted to become a teacher, the only thing that really changed over time was what I wanted to teach. With every new thing I learned, I became excited about it and wanted to teach it someday. In the 2nd grade, I wanted to become a swim teacher. In 4th grade, I wanted to become a 4th grade teacher, probably greatly because I had such a wonderful teacher that year. Later, I gained an interest in science and a proficiency in math, so I then wanted to grow up to teach that. I just wanted to teach. My Father has been a teacher for 25 years and has been a masterful example for me to follow, not to mention providing many opportunities for me to be in the classroom even outside of regular school growing up. I decided to volunteer as a reading tutor when I was in 5th grade for lower grade students and already loved it. I began to teach my own piano students while I was in High School, having up to ten students every week. During my senior year, I qualified for and received a spot in the Elementary School Practicum to help in an elementary classroom several times a week. My full-time mission consisted of teaching people from all walks of life every day. Over the past year at UVU, I have had hours and hours of experience practicing in local elementary schools in all grades.
Now, as an AmeriCorps member with the Boys and Girls Club I am capitalizing on all these experiences and it has been an irreplaceable opportunity to influence these exceptional kids for good. As much as I try to help and teach them, however, they teach me so much more all the time. I enjoy every minute of it, the time flies every day.
I am preparing to apply for and hopefully earn an internship opportunity soon. If I do get one, this coming fall with be the start of my first year as a full-time elementary school teacher to finish off my senior year at UVU. Whether that is when I begin that specific career or later after college graduation, I plan to work hard and make a difference in the lives of each student I am entrusted with. The experience I have gained through AmeriCorps and the Boys and Girls Club to start that now with these students, as well as to prepare for those students then, is one I will never forget, but look back on with joy.
We extend our congratulations to Alyssa for being recognized as the AmeriCorps Member of the Month and thank her for her dedicated service to youth in Utah.
What is AmeriCorps?
AmeriCorps is your moment to take the path less traveled, to break the status quo, to stop talking about the problem and be the solution. Join AmeriCorps and you can mentor and tutor kids, rebuild a community after disaster, help veterans, or work with local communities to alleviate poverty. There are thousands of opportunities to choose from, find the one that fits you.