A chance to give back   

Chemistry student Megan Taylor shares her passion for chemistry and how she was able to give back to her community through her love of science.  

Megan Taylor is a fifth-year chemistry doctoral candidate from Kansas City, Missouri.   

Taylor’s love for chemistry started in middle school, and she never looked back. Through the STEM Cubs program, she can further students’ interest in science while teaching them to enjoy learning.   

As a first-generation college student, not only has she invested in students, but the STEM Cubs program, a free program that teaches STEM concepts to Columbia-area elementary and middle school students, has invested in her by honing her organization skills as well as her passion for teaching so that she can one day create engaging lessons for students.  

Read on for a Q&A with Taylor about her experience with STEM Cubs.  

How do you think your involvement with STEM Cubs impacts students?    

I have had the opportunity to help students who are having a rough time and are nervous about not being with their families. It’s nice to just sit with them and let them know it’s OK and that they can make friends and have fun. Of course, I hope I’m getting them more excited about STEM. Even if they don’t go into a STEM field, I hope we are helping them develop a love of learning.  

What were some of the most memorable experiences you have had with STEM Cubs?    

I remember an instance when we were able to work one-on-one and draw molecules. The student I was working with learned the names of the molecules, and I saw her interest in science increase.  It was exciting to see her excited about something she probably wouldn’t get exposure to until maybe high school. To get her excited that early, especially on a more difficult topic, was rewarding. That was a pivotal interaction for me.   

How does the STEM Cubs program promote excellence?   

STEM Cubs brings together faculty members, undergraduate and graduate students and gives them the opportunity to teach elementary and middle school students. The program is teaching undergraduate and graduate students to give back. Not only are we promoting outreach within the campus community, but we’re giving people the opportunity to share their area of expertise.  

How has your involvement in IDE programming prepared you for success?  

It has helped me become more organized. STEM Cubs helped me gain a better appreciation for the responsibilities I have in my personal and academic life. I have been able to take the organizational skills that we apply to STEM Cubs and apply them to my life. The program has given me the opportunity to reflect on how I approach teaching. Specifically, how I communicate with students and how students receive information.