Summer Centered: Stephanie Lukez '19 Partners with a Nonprofit to Serve the Kids of North Philly
The anthropology major and economics minor has started a summer camp for kids from North Philly neighborhoods.
Sometimes one class can completely change your outlook on the world. For Stephanie Lukez '19, an anthropology major from Massachusetts, that class was “People, Places, and Collaborative Research,” a 300-level anthropology course taught by Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Environmental Studies Joshua Moses.
“Through this class I was able to learn about implementing readings into reflection upon ways to act in theoretically informed ways regarding social and political issues,” Lukez says. From there, “partnering with local organizations provided the opportunity to refine how we create mutually beneficial dialogue among groups who have differing levels of knowledge and backgrounds. One of the groups introduced to the class [was] the North Philly Peace Park.”
Once classes had ended, Moses offered Lukez the opportunity to continue her work with the Park over the summer—and she took it. “I was given a lot of flexibility in deciding how I wanted to spend my time at the organization over the summer,” Lukez says, “and ultimately decided to start the program North Philly STEAM Hub.”
Created with the kids of the Peace Park’s North Philly neighborhoods, many of whom hail from historically disadvantaged communities, the STEAM Hub began in mid-June and ended on July 21, running a little over a month. Per the “STEAM” acronym in its name, the camp’s curriculum revolved around science, technology, engineering, art, and math—a theme that Lukez chose because of what she characterizes as her “long-standing belief in the value of education.”
“Exposure to STEAM, especially through a creative lens that provides growth opportunities for kids,” she says, “can be incredibly transformative.”
A typical day at the STEAM Hub involved plenty of fun, scientific activities—building model greenhouses out of PVC piping, playing “water games” to learn about the water cycle, and creating 3-D structures to visualize the concepts of mass and area, to name just a few. The kids also played classic campground games like Capture the Flag, too.
Ultimately, Lukez, whose internship with the Park is funded by Haverford’s Center for Career and Professional Advising (CCPA), hopes that the camp “provided a space for kids to explore their creative outlets and realize their own potential and, hopefully, develop an interest in studying STEAM throughout their educational careers.” For her part, the experience left her with newfound insight into her own identity.
“This experience [was] one that helped me to understand my role as a college student, and how this can be leveraged to fully engage with a community that I would not otherwise be in,” she says.
“Summer Centered” is a series exploring our students’ Center-funded summer work.