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I originally applied for the Orange County program because of my passion for education and curriculum design. I believe an enriching curriculum can empower youth to be problem solvers and difference makers. After the adjustments made because of COVID-19, I was lucky enough to continue on a similar track. I connected with IGNITE and joined the health curriculum design team.

The first week was not perfectly smooth. I had to communicate with the team to accommodate my time zone issues, and missed two meetings. However, I was able to catch up and contribute to the team with some extra work. Learning from other people’s experiences is important. That’s why one of the first things I did with my team was to read relevant literature on empowerment and seek valuable information we can apply to our own project. Currently we have decided to work on a science curriculum focusing on communicable diseases (eg. COVID, flu) and we are generating ideas for a central curriculum activity. We are doing so much brainstorming because it is important to be clear about all possibilities before we can decide on what’s best.

I knew one of my teammates in a classroom setting, but was still taken aback by her ability to facilitate discussion. She was always able to push things forward with a clear vision of a greater picture. Knowing a classmate in a working setting was very different. That has been my biggest surprise thus far, and I am grateful that I will have much to learn from them all. I am excited to interact with them more and learn from their leadership and communication skills. My biggest worry is whether my Wi-Fi connection will improve in the future. I experienced many technical difficulties during meetings. While texting is also a means of communication, I think face to face, dialogue-based interactions is still uniquely valuable.

One outstanding question I plan to ask my community partner soon is: what is one thing they wish to do differently in this project compared to their previous ones? New members definitely mean new possibilities. I think it’d be important for me to learn about the organization’s wishes, and hopefully provide help. Although we are working on one project, it is still important to learn about the organization’s histories and their own reflections.