Monday, March 2, 2015

A UW graduate student uses her passion to support students

Teddi Hofmann started working with the recognized student organization, Multicultural Association of Student Scientists (MASS ) in the fall of 2014 as a part of her joint Graduate Assistantship with EPSCoR and the Haub School.  In this role, Teddi acts as a peer mentor to the group and works to support and encourage diversity in STEM disciplines. Her latest project is promoting the Wyoming State Science Fair, coming up on campus March 1-3, through MASS.

“The idea of MASS is to serve as a network and support system for students pursuing science, and the science fair is the perfect venue,” says Teddi. 

This semester is brimming with activities and events to encourage diversity in the  sciences. Most recently, MASS brought José Gonzalez, founder of Latino Outdoors, to UW to talk about encouraging Latino participation in outdoor education.  Teddi has a connection with this group as a Wyoming Ambassador for the California-based nonprofit, and was excited about the opportunity to bring José to campus.

Teddi (third on right) with student and Jose Gonzalez (third on left) last week.
In addition to the science fair and José’s visit, MASS will be involved with the Shepard Symposium, taking place in Laramie from April 8-11 2015.  The group is partnering with the Latino Studies Department to screen Even the Rain, a 2010 Spanish film about a water war in Bolivia.  It will be shown on April 7th at 7pm in the Berry Center Auditorium, and Wyoming EPSCoR  will provide refreshments before the film. The screening is part of a three-part series from the Latino Studies Department this semester.  Precious Knowledge was shown on February 17th, and  Mi Familia, a 1995 film depicting three generations of Mexican-American families in Los Angeles, will show this week on March 3rd at 7pm. 

Teddi’s interest in building stronger connections between Latino communities in Wyoming through science and outdoor education comes from volunteering with Pura Vida, a leadership and learning program at the Teton National Park.  She is currently building a research project evaluating Pura Vida’s impact on program participants.  Luckily, many Pura Vida alumni are now students at the University of Wyoming, allowing Teddi to continue mentoring them in MASS and other student multicultural groups.  

Teddi values the support she has encountered at the University of Wyoming to pursue her passion, “I feel like if you want an opportunity, people are willing to make it happen.”

Go here to like MASS on Facebook!  

By: Jessica White 

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