"Verizon Innovative Learning showed me what it’s like to really be a leader"
Former FDR Middle School students champion STEM interests while mentoring others, too.
Our editorial transparency tool uses blockchain technology to permanently log all changes made to official releases after publication. However, this post is not an official release and therefore not tracked. Visit our learn more for more information.
Minu Patel, Nycire Vaughn and Ameera Smith are three of those students. They were on the inaugural Tech Team at Franklin D. Roosevelt Middle School in Bristol, Pennsylvania. The group supports the Verizon Innovative Learning program, troubleshooting tech issues and helping teachers and students with their devices.
“When I entered Tiger Tech, I was like, ‘This is new. This is exciting. This is what I want to do.’ If I wasn't exposed to that in middle school, I would probably not be majoring in computer science,” says Minu, who is now a sophomore at Temple University. She wants to work in cybersecurity and she dreams of joining forces with the FBI and creating an organization to help more girls break into STEM fields.
Minu as an eighth-grader and now, as a sophomore studying computer science at Temple University. (photo credit: Minu)
Nycire at a fair at FDR Middle School; at his graduation before starting his academic career at Howard University. (photo credits: Bernadette Barone, Nycire)
“Mentoring the kids at FDR was very instrumental. It was something that I’m going to take with me for the rest of my life. Those kids showed me like how you can do something and it can affect others,” says Ameera, who is now a first-year biology student at Clark Atlanta University. Remote labs aren’t her favorite, but she’s currently interning at an internal medicine doctor’s office and plans to be a cardiothoracic surgeon one day.
Ameera at the eighth-grade formal; Ameera as a thriving freshman attending Clark Atlanta University. (photo credit: Ameera)
“The technology that Verizon has provided for us has sent all of our students in a different trajectory,” says Barone, who is still the coach and FDR. She couldn’t be prouder of Minu, Nycire and Ameera. “The Tiger Techs were role models—they got the importance of serving and contributing to their society. If you give them the opportunity and you give them the resources, they will do it. They will rise to it.”
Watch and learn how participating in Verizon Innovative Learning in middle school paved a new path for these students.