IAmNYAS: Oscar A. Lemus
A Q&A with Afterschool STEM Educator Oscar A. Lemus.
Published June 09, 2017
A strategic, multidisciplinary designer and art director with an eye for innovation and pixel perfection, Oscar Lemus has been working with Good Shepherd Services Beacon 45 for five years. Teaching art, technology and in the course, creating and coaching award-winning teams such as the Bronx Task Force and the elementary robotics team Beacon Mindeez. Oscar also created and coached the award-winning team 300 Robo-Spartans and the junior team Little Genius, who represent The School of Science and Applied Learning, all the while introducing STEM to participants and inspiring a cycle of competency in belonging, generosity, independence, and mastery for both middle- and elementary-level scholars. Although his skill level is vast, his greatest expertise revolves in the worlds of interactive computer program design and information architecture. His wish is to combine his knowledge and experience in these areas, to deliver the best creative, innovative, and interactive experience a Beacon participant will always remember. His favorite quote is "You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him find it within himself" (Galileo Galilei).
Why and how are STEM education and the Global STEM Alliance important to you?
Since I was young, I have been fascinated by technology - by the NASA space shuttle and the computer science that helped launch the space vehicle into orbit. My first significant STEM experience happened when Astronaut Lt. Commander Mario Runco visited my grammar school and demonstrated the physics of toys in space. That day, I was given the opportunity to interact with a real American hero and scientist and wear a space suit. For a brief moment I felt powerful and ready to take on any challenge. Lt. Runco demonstrated the power of NASA technology while discussing the importance of learning math and science. My appreciation for STEM has helped me better understand the world around me and eventually led me to work in the technology field.
I strongly believe every child should have the opportunity to meet a STEM hero. I believe it is crucial to address the U.S. STEM crisis and how it directly affects underrepresented people in our communities. Our partnership with the Global STEM Alliance is very important as it provides quality exposure to STEM and, most importantly, connects young, passionate scientists with students in our communities who are eager to learn.
What are/were your goals for participation in the Global STEM Alliance?
As an afterschool STEM educator, my first goal is to equip a high volume of afterschool participants with life skills through robotics. Leadership, critical thinking, communication, and collaboration are all needed skills to be successful in the 21st century. My second goal is to convey the value of education by strengthening the linkage with the school day curriculum. My third goal is to raise awareness of the importance of STEM to our communities, parents, leaders, administrators, and local businesses.
What is the most important benefit you feel the Global STEM Alliance provides?
The most important benefit I feel the Global STEM Alliance provides is the opportunity to work alongside and be mentored by scientists, engineers, and doctors. Through partnership with the Global STEM Alliance, students engage in interactive, academic-enriching experiences where they work with professionals from different STEM careers and countries. As a result, students become more culturally aware and are more exposed to novel career opportunities.