TAF volunteers donate over 700 hours of time to students, representing almost $17,800.

Volunteers are vital to TAF’s continued success in our pedagogical approach to helping students succeed. Through their invaluable gift of time and knowledge-sharing, students are able to explore and connect STEM to their everyday lives and acquire the skills needed to create the world they envision.

Our volunteers are special to us because they represent an active commitment to transforming public education. In the past fiscal year, more than 100 volunteers contributed over 700 hours of their time to TAF. This equates to $17,800 in donated time and effort.  We’ve seen the impact our volunteers have on our students first-hand — these connections our students have formed with our volunteers who represent various industries and interests inspire our students to explore interests, hone their skills, and pursue careers in fields they never imagined.

Although we aren’t able to honor our volunteers in person this year, we are incredibly grateful to the individuals who have invested their time and effort in TAF by spotlighting a few stellar TAF volunteers.

We reached out to our volunteers with a few questions to learn more about their experience as a TAF volunteer.  Here is what they had to say:

TAF Volunteer Spotlight

Colin Loh

What’s your professional background?
“I’m a Software Development Manager with over 20 years working for Microsoft, Amazon, and Zillow.”

How long have you been volunteering?
I’ve volunteered with TAF for 6 months through the TSP Program.”

Why did you choose to volunteer at TAF?
“I remember how I benefited greatly from the encouragement and resources when I was a kid who just enjoyed coding. The little things I learned became big advantages years later when I pursued a career in technology. Volunteering at TAF isn’t hard and doesn’t cost me much, so it’s really worthwhile. It gives a chance for someone else to also enjoy the life-changing opportunities that I had.”

What is your favorite memory from volunteering at TAF?
“Seeing how excited they become when they visit a tech company like Amazon to present their project work.”

Nicole Franklin

What’s your professional background?
“I develop workable, pragmatic solutions to technology access problems faced by underserved communities. I also lead efforts to ensure social justice and equity in the workplace and my community.”

How long have you been volunteering?
“I have been actively volunteering with TAF since 2015.  Although in the 1990s, when TAF was just starting their critical work, I and others volunteering with NSBE were teaching. We taught and took a group of high school students to nationals to compete in the NSBE Jr. Try-Math-A-Lon. Trish let us use the TAF space on MLK Jr. Way on the weekends for training. It was awesome!”

Why did you choose to volunteer at TAF?
“TAF is an organization that invests upstream where the needs are greatest. This approach is critical to making impactful changes in K-12 and teacher education. TAF’s mission is one I can believe in and follow. Most importantly, before it was the in thing to do, TAF unapologetically had a racial equity focus. In addition to serving low-income communities to combat racism and classism through STEM education, TAF truly believes that technology is a human right.”

What is your favorite memory from volunteering at TAF?
“I always love the STEM Expo!”

Don Elman

What’s your professional background?
“My professional career has been in experimental social psychology and, more recently, research in human-computer interaction and user experience.”

How long have you been volunteering?
“I began volunteering with TAF in February 2020 by offering students after-school support and judging projects for STEM Expo.”

Why did you choose to volunteer at TAF?
“I thought my background could be helpful to some students. Also, I’m interested in helping with the new TAF initiative in Seattle schools next year, if possible.”

What is your favorite memory from volunteering at TAF?
“Engaging with students working on projects during after-school support.”

Tanya Spatarel

What’s your professional background?
“I recently got a part-time job at CWU as a student representative of the faculty team to do some diversity work for the STEM program at CWU Des Moines!”

How long have you been volunteering?
“I have only volunteered at TAF for a couple of months, mostly for the STEM Expo.”

Why did you choose to volunteer at TAF?
“I am currently working on my Teacher Certification for Middle-Level Science and Math, so when I heard about this volunteering opportunity from my advisors at CWU, I quickly realized how fitting this opportunity is to gain experience in my field.”

What is your favorite memory from volunteering at TAF?
“I was able to be a part of the Study Hall Tuesday’s for the STEM Expo projects and interact with students one-on-one in helping them complete their projects. I loved building those relationships with the students as I was getting to know them and help them with their projects.”

Luis Barrera

What’s your professional background?
“I work for King County Information Technology as an IT Manager, overseeing IT services to County employees. I’m also a former TAF student!”

How long have you been volunteering?
“Over 15 years!”

Why did you choose to volunteer at TAF?
“I’m a TAF success story. I started as a shy kid worried about how my accent made me sound and look like to other kids. I wanted a career in technology, but I didn’t know how to get there. TAF taught me to believe in myself and how to own the room. One of the most valuable things TAF taught me was how to think critically and solve problems. TAF has given  me so much and I wanted to give back by volunteering.”

What is your favorite memory from volunteering at TAF?
“Volunteering at TAF@Saghalie has been amazing! To see student projects evolve as students move through grade-levels really shows how the partnership model is working.”

Want to start volunteering with TAF?

View our current volunteer opportunities to learn how you can make a difference in the lives of students through public education.

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