Q&A With Microgrant Recipient Jessica


Karma for Cara Foundation awards microgrants to youths 18 years of age and younger who spearhead exceptional service projects in their communities. Microgrant recipient Jessica (16) from Hacienda Heights, CA & other students from a robotics team at Wilson High School led a project called Level Up. Passionate about encouraging underrepresented communities to explore the field of STEM, the Level Up team worked with Sunset Elementary Orthopedic Handicapped School, a local elementary school committed to serving underserved youth. With 92 percent of the school considered to be socioeconomically disadvantaged, the students do not have many opportunities to be exposed to STEM. For the outreach event, Sunset students interested in STEM had the opportunity to build robots using Lego parts and put together a 3D printed claw assembly. 

  1. What inspired you to start this project? I wanted to share my passion for STEM with students from less fortunate background and underrepresented communities. Sunset Elementary and OH School is a title one school, and the majority of students are from low income backgrounds so they didn’t have the funds to start a robotics program. After communicating with the principal at Sunset Elementary and OH school she was completely on board and we began planning the event.
  2. Other than you, how many student volunteers participated in your service project?  8
  3. Other than you, how many adult volunteers participated in your service project?  1
  4. How many hours did you spend on your project?  15
  5. How many hours did other volunteers spend on your project? 4
  6. How many individuals were affected by your project?  25
  7. During the time period between when you applied for a K4C microgrant & when you completed the project, what surprised you?  I think the excitement of the students when they received the new kit and 3D printer surprised me the most.
  8. Overall what did you learn from this experience? Overall I learned the importance of communication and a timeline. Since there was a lot of different things that needed to get done that took different amounts of time, our team needed to divide up all the task and ensure that we stayed on a timeline. We communicated to ensure that we met our smaller deadlines so that we would have all the parts necessary done by the date of the event.
  9. How will your project continue having an impact in the future? We plan to come back twice a month starting in February to teach the students and some of the teachers how to use the EV3 kit and the 3D printer we donated as well as show them different online resources. We hope that by teaching the teachers on their campus, we can ensure the sustainability of the robotics program.
  10. How was the K4C microgrant helpful in the completion of your project?  The K4C microgrant was an integral part in helping us develop the robotics program. Without the help from the microgrant, the most we could do would be to show the students how to build a robot and then bring back our parts. With the funds we were able to donate a robotics kit so that the students can interact with the robot parts and different STEM concepts when our team is not there.