Sarah Cheney has always been really interested in STEM. Growing up, her parents were both teachers so it comes as no surprise her engineering route and her excitement with always finding any STEM program she could get involved with.
Sarah went to school for plastics engineering and has worked for the past 10 years as a Materials Engineer developing packaging for the Meal, Ready-to-Eat, commonly known as MRE. Just recently, she transitioned into a Program Acquisition Specialist role, so she’s not doing as much of the engineering anymore, but is still able to doSTEM demonstrations focusing on plastics and materials.
Involvement with the eCYBERMISSION Volunteer Program
Sarah was initially a volunteer Virtual Judge with eCYBERMISSION for two years and then switched to become a CyberGuide. She’s been in this volunteer role the past three years and enjoys being able to talk students through the program and engaging with the teams.
Sarah has also volunteered for two demonstrations at the annual eCYBERMISSION National Judging & Educational Event (NJ&EE) during the STEM workshop period. Sarah did a MRE packaging demonstration session during the STEM workshop. She brought in MRE crackers and had the students test and analyze the crackers and the packaging.
Sarah’s Experience as a Volunteer
During her STEM demonstration at the 2014 NJ&EE, Sarah had a young boy in the group that was so interested and paid such close attention during the entire demonstration.
“I’ve always liked STEM, but meeting this student, really showed me what a difference you can make in getting someone interested in STEM,” said Sarah. “It was absolutely wonderful having this kid participating in the workshop.”
Sarah’s STEM demonstration taught the students about the water activity and oxygen concentration in the MRE packages. The students loved it but the one boy in particular really opened Sarah’s eyes to the huge difference STEM mentors can make.
Patience is a Virtue!
Since volunteering with eCYBERMISSION, Sarah has learned patience. Being able to explain things in different ways can be a challenge.
“If the students don’t understand, it has taught me that you really have to change your approach in order to get the students to understand what you’re trying to communicate,” said Sarah. “It helped me to understand different learning styles and showed me the diversity that’s out there.”
In Sarah’s free time, she is spending time with her husband and 5-year old twins.
“We’re big in to the outdoors, with most of our time being spent camping and hiking a lot,” says Sarah. “Anything that makes the kids happy is good for me.”