A teacher at heart  

Senior, Lucy Barber, reflects on how the STEM Cubs program has made her a well-rounded teacher in the field of elementary education.

Lucy Barber, teaching students during the STEM Cubs program.
Lucy Barber, teaching students during STEM Cubs.

Lucy Barber, stepped onto Mizzou’s campus for the first time as an eighth grader. 

“From that point on I knew I wanted to attend Mizzou,” she said.   

As she got older, Barber’s curiosity led her to research Mizzou, its offerings and degree programs. An official campus tour reaffirmed that Mizzou was where Barber wanted to be.  

Now a senior studying elementary education, Barber says Mizzou has been a welcoming place.  

“I felt like I was at home and that I belonged here,” she said.  

Using her gift  

For Barber, learning never stops. As a student in the College of Education and Human Development, she wanted to expand her horizons. 

“We often focus on reading, writing and mathematics because those are some of our important standards,” she said.  

So, when she heard about the STEM Cubs program, she was all in.  

This past summer, Barber was an instructor for STEM Cubs, a collaboration with the Office of Academic Access and Leadership Development within the Division of Inclusion, Diversity and Equity, the College of Education and Human Development and the College of Engineering.  STEM Cubs is a free program that teaches STEM concepts to Columbia-area elementary and middle school students. 

“I taught students about sound vibrations and how sounds travel, the weather and how water and air come together, how to care for plants to help them grow and the five senses.” 

Barber enjoyed watching the students get excited about science outside of the classroom, while getting the opportunity to make connections across campus. 

“I appreciate the insight STEM Cubs has given me to learn about the work that is going on around our campus,” Barber said. 

Changing the narrative 

In education, Barber has seen patterns of what a classroom should look like and what the teacher’s role is supposed to be.  

“I think that the IDE component just shows that we are welcoming,” Barber said. “Were not just here for the people who are smart or loud, but we are speaking up for the voices that are not always heard.” 

Her volunteer work has shown her the importance of transforming challenges into courage and determination. Through this, she has learned how to look through the lens of someone else and use that perspective to support students.  

“Each background is different, and we always talk about how students are all going to come from all walks of life,” Barber said. “My work at Mizzou has taught me how to be supportive, welcoming, open and how to be an ally.”