Volunteering puts Amina in a league of her own

Amina Lunat is using all the skills she has learned in the past few years to help local children prepare for a global science and technology challenge.

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The final-year Computer Science student is one of the lead volunteers with a DMU Square Mile project supporting nine to 16-year-olds at two city schools get ready for Leicester’s FIRST Lego League tournament, being held at De Montfort University (DMU) in January. 

The 22-year-old said: “This year is all about hydro dynamics. The challenge encourages children to think about how water is found, transported and disposed of, by designing, building and programming a robot to solve a series of missions.

“I’m so happy that I get to support children to explore real-world issues and to develop important skills for their future.”

Amina is well-equipped for the role following a year-long placement with DMU Square Mile, during which she helped recruit and train volunteers for technology-focused projects across 20 schools and libraries around Leicester.

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For one of the projects called TechFuture Girls, which inspires nine to 14-year-old girls to embrace technology, Amina also created resources and planned lesson activities for after-school clubs. 

She said: “I really loved it. It felt amazing getting out of the office and helping children create coding for animation, videos, stories and more.

“In just the first two years, my course taught me so much about hardware, software, security and programming. 

“It’s been nice passing those skills on to other people in a fun and helpful way. I would definitely love to do something like this in the future.”

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One unforgettable experience for Amina while on placement was visiting India and teaching children how to code. Together with other DMU students and Square Mile staff, she worked with some of the most deprived children in Ahmedabad’s Gandhi Ashram.

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“We taught around 150 children a dance routine and then showed them how to use an app on the iPad to programme the routine by using graphical blocks to control character movement,” said Amina.

“Despite the limited resources and language barrier, it was so impressive to see how well the children worked together.

“Working in such a different environment than what I’m used to and seeing their enthusiasm and eagerness has made me want to change lives through teaching. I’d love to do more work in developing countries.”

Amina also had the chance to accompany 86 DMU students on a trip to New York to support homeless people by preparing, making and serving food at a soup kitchen.

She said: “That was a steep learning curve as I’d never managed so many students before. It was such an inspiring experience though and now I just want to travel everywhere. 

“I was in my first year at DMU when I first started volunteering, so it feels like my whole university experience has revolved around Square Mile. 

“I absolutely love volunteering and really want to continue to use technology to make a difference to people’s lives.”

Posted on Friday 15th December 2017

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