Building Confidence with Science: Jada's Story

Written by Urban Ecology Center
    Thursday, 07 November 2013
Building Confidence with Science: Jada's Story

Jada has blossomed through her participation in the Young Scientists Club at the Urban Ecology Center’s Washington Park branch. Before becoming involved, Jada was shy and reluctant to present ideas and projects in front of others.

Now, eleven year-old Jada has radically improved her social skills as she actively engages with others in research projects and conferences.

Jada’s mom, Michelle, boldly stated, “The Young Scientists Club has been invaluable. Jada has gone from not being able to speak [in front of a group] to presenting at [large research] conferences!” The programs offered at the Urban Ecology Center have been instrumental in growing Jada’s confidence level and in helping her find her own unique voice.

While Jada is still a little timid when speaking in front of a camera, she quickly becomes animated when talking about her involvement at the Urban Ecology Center. When asked about her favorite thing to do at the Center, Jada enthusiastically talks about her ongoing bird research project. Jada mentions, “I get to go outdoors and research the different types of birds and it’s just really fun, and I get to do it with other people here.”

Last summer, the Young Scientist Club designed and conducted an original, professional-quality research project in partnership with the University of Minnesota’s Driven to Discover program. Studying the birds in Washington Park led them to enter their findings into a national community science database called eBird, create a poster summarizing their project, and present at three different conferences! A recurring theme for Jada is her continual involvement at research conferences. She and the Young Scientists have attended three and counting!

This past July, Washington Park staff, volunteers, and five Young Scientist Club members, Jada included, attended Camp Snowball, a week-long conference dedicated to Systems Thinking held at Wake Forest University in North Carolina. This experience gave Jada great perspective on a number of things. “I wrote down ideas that could snowball,” Jada said, “how to stop bullying, and prevent kids from committing suicide. It made me think about innovating for a healthy future, it’s important.”

While Jada continues to expand her comfort levels when presenting in front of others, her passion for the Urban Ecology Center has remained consistent. Jada attests, “When I get older, I’m going to come here more often and volunteer!”

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