Volunteer Spotlight: Kirstin Riddick

  • Posted on: 27 May 2024
  • By: jenroeder
Kirstin Riddick and friends volunteering for Rosie Riveters

As the STEAM coordinator at Drew Elementary School, education is a cause important to Kirstin Riddick. Through this role, two years ago Kirstin met Britany Greer, the Executive Director, of Rosie Riveters. Brittney’s incredible passion and excitement for Rosie Riveters and the work they do, paired with the engagement and excitement Kirstin witnessed from the students when they used the Rosie Riveters’ STEM kits, ensured Kirstin would become a regular volunteer.

Since then, Kirstin has been incredibly engaged with the Rosie Riveters. She utilizes the STEM kits in her classroom, getting three to four STEM kits a year, and volunteers with the organization on Saturdays at Fort Belvoir. Oftentimes, she volunteers with members from her sorority, Phi Nu Omega Champer, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, which emphasizes sisterhood and service. Kirstin also joins her sorority in volunteering with a school in Alexandria City Public Schools to create “power packs” which are food packs that kids can take home on the weekends. In her words, these “power packs” are important because “we’re highly dependent on the food that’s provided at the school during the week, but we don’t know what’s happening on the weekend”.

When she’s not volunteering or working, Kirstin is an active member at her church, Grace Community Church, in Arlington. A local church also focused on serving the Arlington Community. She is also currently working on her dissertation at Marymount University to receive her doctorate in an education and management program.

Her favorite part about volunteering with Rosie Riveters is seeing the “aha moment” in the students when they’re working on their projects. Rosie Riveters STEM kits focus on providing “productive struggle” to help build the students’ critical thinking and problem-solving skills. This allows the students to really understand what the experiment they’re doing is teaching them. It’s working through this productive struggle and getting to the magical moment where they have figured out how the experiment works. She enjoys seeing “their eyes light up and the students start getting excited.”

When asked about her favorite time seeing that “aha moment”, Kirstin recounts volunteering with the kindergarten to second grade group while doing milk paintings. They were looking at the solids, liquids, and gases for this experiment, and they would put the food coloring inside their mixture to make colors. Their excitement “was awesome to watch” as they witnessed the physical chemical reaction when they placed a Q-Tip with a little put of soap in the middle of the dye. Visually, the paintings came to life, and the students’ excitement over their successful experiment was wonderful.

For anyone looking to make a difference in their community, Kirstin recommends figuring out what your why is, and finding an organization that aligns with that.