“In high school, my parents were constantly saying, ‘You have to go to college,’ because they didn’t have the opportunity to go to college. I was always good at math and science, but thought I’d study finance because my dad owns his own business. For two summers I volunteered with Science in the Parks, a program at Weber State. It’s essentially an accessible summer camp—we show up at different parks with science activities, and lots of kids come and love it. At first I felt weird because I thought science was really cool, but I never saw myself there. But doing the activities and knowing answers to the kids’ questions affirmed that I could do it. I also thought that if I’m the first person of color they see doing science, that could mean something to those kids.
When I got to the U, I volunteered with an organization helping underserved communities find resources. Lots of parents wanted to sign their kids up for camps, but couldn’t get them to the location or couldn’t afford it. I thought Science in the Parks would be awesome here. I became a Bennion Center Scholar and started the program as my capstone project. This summer we attended the Partners in the Parks events through University Neighborhood Partners. Next year will be even bigger.
I want to help these kids see themselves capable of doing science. My sisters were the first in my family to go to college and that made me think I could probably get there. The biggest thing I want the kids to know is if you love something, go for it. If you don’t see anybody like you, that doesn’t mean you can’t do it. I’m doing this because I want to be a representation of what can be possible no matter where you came from.”
—Anahy Salcedo, a junior at the U studying kinesiology