Meet The Colleagues
University of Washington grad Jaleesa Trapp ‘14 is passionate about expanding STEM [Science Technology Engineering Mathematics] opportunities to young people of color. As a teen, Jaleesa spent hours at Tacoma’s Allen Renaissance-Computer Clubhouse. Several internships, scholarships and one engineering degree later, she is serving a new generation of participants as the Clubhouse Coordinator.
Being part of the Krista community benefits Jaleesa as she builds the program, searches for funders, recruits volunteers and helps kids with projects. “Knowing Krista colleagues who work in Tacoma, I can go right down the street for advice, or refer Clubhouse families who need services,” she says. Cross-cultural tools introduced during orientation “made me think more about what I value, what the students and families that I serve value, and how I can use that understanding to their advantage.”
As a Clubhouse member, Jaleesa visited Boston twice for the annual Teen Technology summit. This summer, she chaperoned 2 Tacoma girls and ran into herself again and again—on a poster, as an example of a Clubhouse network success! “As we were checking in, our regional liaison kept joking, ‘we have a celebrity in the house.’ My kids saw the poster and laughed. I was confused and then I looked into my face and I was horrified!” It was embarrassing, but “a conversation starter,” she concedes.
Jaleesa’s commitment and hard work are already helping the Tacoma Clubhouse flourish, after a tough period that followed the previous director’s unexpected death. At the summer program’s Maker Carnival in August, proud young creators invited family and friends to try out the games and projects they had built. “I definitely saw our theme at work: ‘Each one Teach one, lifting as we climb.’ To develop leaders, we say that when you learn something, it’s your job to teach at least two other people the same thing.”
Years of participation in the Computer Clubhouse has made “Each one teach one” an important part of the way Jaleesa sees the world. “I am always trying to find ways to connect what I do to my degree, and to use it to serve my students and my program,” she says, asking herself, “how can I do things differently in the program to meet their needs?”
Undergrad studies in human-computer interactions and improving people’s experience of technology have led Jaleesa to graduate school in Human-centered Design and Engineering. By studying the connection between ethnography and education, she hopes to design programs that motivate Clubhouse members and other teens to prepare for STEM fields. Using her Krista Grant to attend a conference or study-abroad opportunity in her fast-changing field is an important part of her plan.
“I’ve had lots of opportunity and now I’m giving back,” she says.
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