Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Volunteer Spotlight: Frances Kwee

Frances Kwee, this week’s volunteer spotlight, is truly an asset to Cabrini Connections. A recent graduate from McMaster Universiy, Frances is now working for Motorola as a Senior Electrical Engineer in their cell phones division. She found out about our program through a pair of coworkers who were each 3 year veteran volunteers of our program. This is her second year with the program and working with her second student as well. Last year she was paired up with Imani Hawkins, with whom she developed a great mentoring relationship. She felt like she, as a successful female engineer with a positive attitude, was really serving as an inspiration for Imani, who was also interested in science and math. Unfortunately, Imani lives a very long way from Cabrini Connections and found herself less and less able to make the trip, so she was not able to stay with us this year. However, Frances has continued to reach out to her, trying to still support her and be that role model, despite the fact that she is no longer affiliated with the program.

This year, Frances has floated around, assisting various students as needed, lending her math and science expertise. A few weeks ago, Frances was finally paired up with Ashanti Anderson, one of our 7th graders who is pretty disenchanted with her school and classwork. Since then, Frances has really tried to connect with her, working slowly but surely on small, achievable goals such as trying to get Ashanti to be more engaged in a couple of her classes and even enjoy them a bit, knowing that the knowledge will be useful to her down the road as she starts thinking about entering a career.

Though being a tutor can sometimes feel like a thankless task, Frances says assuredly, “I like being her tutor and would never want to dump her.” She knows that this year, as with all first year matches, is about building a solid foundation for a mutually beneficial relationship that will grow in the coming years. For now, Frances just takes it one week at a time, knowing that she’s not only helping her student, but serving as a role model for other young female students who need to see young ambitious females like herself achieving success in traditionally male-dominated disciplines like electrical engineering. Thanks so much Frances for all your hard work! We’re so happy to put you in our Volunteer Spotlight!

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