By Anna Khan
JuSTEMagine was made with the goal of using SEL and other tools to involve young learners in STEM. The Board Members are talented and driven students who care about spreading and accumulating knowledge. Siri Doddapaneni is a rising sophomore at Brownell Talbot and the SEL coordinator for JuSTEMagine.
How did you initially get involved with JuSTEMagine?
“I got involved with JuSTEMagine after Jack reached out to me in September of 2021 regarding a fundraiser I had done over the summer, and he invited me to get involved with JuSTEMagine.” The fundraiser was for the COVAX program, which Siri explains, “looks to provide global, equitable access to COVID vaccines for those who can’t receive/afford them.”
What is social-emotional learning in your own words and why is it important to you?
“I think SEL is the ability to recognize and be in contact with your state of mind and learn how to make the environments around you better by learning skills that will improve your quality of life and you as a human being. It is a great way to keep in touch with your feelings and in turn, learn leadership, empathy, cooperation, and much more. It is important because, in this fast-paced world, social-emotional skills are more prevalent than ever with all the new changes happening around the world. I think that being able to use those skills and for a child to feel accomplished because when they know they are using SEL skills correctly, it gives a great sense of stability and comfort.”
What are your responsibilities as an SEL Coordinator?
“As SEL coordinator, I mainly work with organizations like SPARKPositivity and work on establishing SEL connections with others. With SPARK, I have helped with their Positivity in a Box kits in developing curriculum and lessons and assembling the boxes; I am also researching ways to turn SPARK into a CASEL (main SEL standards) provider.”
What work are you most proud of during your time working with JuSTEMagine?
“I am most proud of my involvement in Positivity in a Box because it was really cool to see some of the lessons that I thought up actually implemented into the kits; that project is always fun in every aspect! I’m also proud about the growth that I’ve made as a person and how I’m more outgoing than before.” Siri elaborated on Positivity in a Box, saying, “Positivity in a Box is a project by SPARKPositivity that is made up of a box with 10-15 lessons in it, each repainting a soft skill such as cooperation, responsibility, or generosity, and each lesson contains an activity to help students better understand each skill.”
What goals do you hope to help JuSTEMagine achieve in future years?
"I hope to establish more partnerships in general but also with organizations that focus on social-emotional learning because we don’t have many SEL partners. I would also like to get more people involved in Positivity in a Box and help with expansion and restarting past chapters."
How do you feel JuSTEMagine and Social-Emotional Learning affect students?
“I think JuSTEMagine has a huge impact on the students that the programs and projects reach. All the volunteers are so hard-working and dedicated and I think that the students on the other end are very deserving of what they receive and they enjoy it very much. Social-emotional learning is something that is gradually growing in schools so I think JuSTEMagine and SPARK’s SEL projects enhance that well.”