Tag Archives: volunteer

Using Data to Measure Student Impact

Last month our Executive Director, Kate Schrauth and COO, Wendy Siegelman had a honky-tonk good time in Nashville Tennesse at the 2nd annual DataKind DataDive sponsored by Teradata. We were delighted to be invited to participate in an intensive two-day work session where expert data scientists volunteered to analyze the data of iCouldBe and three other non-profits to help us better serve our communities.

Kate and Wendy worked with seven data experts who generously volunteered 12+ hour days to organize and analyze anonymous data to better understand factors leading to successful mentee outcomes. The dedicated volunteers helped develop a logistical regression model and text sentiment analysis tools that iCouldBe can use going forward. And we are truly excited to continue this great work as we engage with DataKind in a DataCorps partnership to pursue an extended project from January through June of 2015.

Thanks to DataKind and Teradata for organizing and sponsoring the DataDive event and for the generous time and mental power that our data experts contributed. iCouldBe now has a data-driven framework and predictive model we will use to continue improving our program, curriculum, training, and to better serve our community.

A recap on last night’s #MentorNextGen Twitter chat

Thank you to everyone who joined us yesterday evening for #mentornextgen! Last night, icouldbe hosted a Twitter Chat with our new partner AT&T Aspire and we were thrilled by the participation.  We chatted about volunteering through your employer, what motivates you as a mentor, the benefits of online mentoring, what the future holds for the next generation’s workforce, and much more.

If you weren’t able to participate, but are interested in following the conversation, check out the Storify we created for last night’s chat – it is easy to follow and will give you a run down of the topics we discussed:


Have a response to one of the questions asked last night? You may have missed the live chat, but we’d still love to hear your stories, thoughts, and experiences with mentoring. Leave your answers in the comment section below. And we hope you’ll be able to join us for our next chat!

#icbchat transcript: 8/1

If you weren’t able to attend our first ever Twitter Chat last Wednesday, never fear: we’ve compiled the conversation via Storify. Storify is an easy-to-use service that allows you to display and curate social media conversations or events.

Here’s the link to August 1st’s #icbchat: http://storify.com/icouldbeorg/icbchat

And now for an exciting announcement! The next #icbchat is scheduled for Wednesday, September 5th. Time, topic and co-hosts TBD. So stay tuned!

Is there anything you’d like to add to the content of this week’s chat? Questions, or comments?

icouldbe.org will host its first ever Twitter Chat!

We are so excited to announce we are hosting our very first Twitter Chat! On Wednesday, August 1st at 7:00 p.m. EST, you can log on to Twitter, follow @icouldbeorg and join our chat using the hashtag:


For this first chat, we will be partnered with our friends from VolunteerMatch (found on Twitter as @VolunteerMatch). VolunteerMatch is an online resource to connect volunteers with the best possible local – or virtual – opportunities to fit their own lifestyles and interests.

Also joining the chat will be Coretta Jackson (@CorettaJackson), an icouldbe.org mentor and an expert in social media and virtual volunteering!

During the chat, we will have an hour-long discussion on eMentoring and Virtual Volunteering, including best practices for mentors, the roles of schools and teachers in mentoring relationships, other virtual volunteer opportunities, success stories, and more.

Here’s how the Twitter chat will work:

  1. Mark your calendars for August 1st at 7:00 p.m. EST
  2. When the time arrives, log on to Twitter or your preferred application and search for the hashtag #icbchat. This will allow you to filter content so that you’re only seeing tweets from our discussion.
    1. TIP: A great way to monitor conversation and participate in a Twitter Chat can be found at http://tweetchat.com/. Nothing to download, just log in to your Twitter account and enter in the hashtag #icbchat. Everything is neatly organized and updates in real-time!
    2. For the next hour, we will tweet a series of questions and conversation starters on the topics of eMentoring, virtual volunteering and education. Each of our questions will begin with “Q1: Sample question.” Our co-hosts will weigh in with their responses, and we’d love to hear from you, too!
    3. If you’d like to respond, answer with “A1: Sample answer.” Or you can just reply to us, or retweet any tweets you think are worth mentioning. It’s totally up to you – but make sure to always include the hashtag #icbchat at the end of every tweet. That way your tweet will be seen by everyone tuning in and participating.
    4. We’re looking forward to hearing everyone’s feedback and seeing what Twitter users have to say about online mentoring and volunteering! At the end of the hour, we will compile everyone’s tweets and post it online for reading or referencing later on.

If anyone has questions or comments about this upcoming chat, please post them in the comments section here and we’d be happy to discuss. Or, tweet us and mention @icouldbeorg!

This ‘Thank You’ means the most of all

During the 2011-2012 school year, there were a few classrooms of students that went above and beyond with their work in the icouldbe.org curriculum.

Below is a photo of one of these classrooms. These students on average completed over 26 activities in the curriculum, and truly showed dedication and hard work to complete the units, work with their mentors and get the most out of the program. We absolutely love to see these students take advantage of what icouldbe.org has to offer!

Here’s what one mentee had to say about his work with the program:

“The online mentoring program icouldbe.org has been a great help to me because all the units have shown me something I didn’t know. I especially learned from the unit that deals with money. This unit showed me how loans work and how to manage a credit card if I even choose to get one. My mentor was a great help in giving me advice and establishing my future goals. icouldbe.org is a well rounded online mentoring program that I enjoyed being a part of.” 

We decided to thank this classroom of students with a celebratory pizza party – and here’s how they thanked their mentors and icouldbe.org in return!

There’s nothing like a giant Thank You to help you remember that these students are the reason we do what we do. (And there’s nothing like a good slice of pizza, either.)

Mentor spotlight: Megan R.

I absolutely love icouldbe.org and have been honored to work with some amazing kiddos. My role as an icouldbe.org mentor is intended to encourage at-risk youth through career and college exploration, but I have unexpectedly benefited much more than any of my students.

I have grown tremendously as a person by seeing the growth of my mentees as they work though the curriculum and develop perseverance and clear goals.  I will admit that some mentees can be challenging at first, but watching their mindset transition from apathetic to dynamic is the most rewarding aspect of this program.  I personally am thankful to have been connected to over a dozen wonderful students, most all who are interested in the medical industry.

As a Neurophysiologist, I am excited to offer practical guidance to motivated students with hopes to pursue their lofty dreams of Graduate or Medical school, even if they don’t initially think it’s possible. Guiding mentees one step at a time through tough choices is thrilling, and promoting pro-activity while they explore their career options allows them to pursue a track that is both realistic and achievable. Seeing the students feel solidly prepared to face those challenging decisions ahead of them is uplifting, and I thank icouldbe.org  for including me in their wonderful program!

-Megan R., Dallas, TX

icouldbe.org STEM mentors will help students with science projects this year!

We’re very excited to announce a new partnership that will provide students working on science projects with dedicated online mentors in STEM fields!

In case you’re unaware, STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. There is a dire need in the U.S. for people to fill STEM careers; there are many science and technology job openings, but not enough people to recruit. A major place where this problem can be addressed is within our education system.

There is an amazing initiative happening in upstate New York called the Dr. Nelson Ying Tri Region Science & Engineering Fair (Ying TRSEF). The fair was created to allow students to explore their talents and challenge their minds in STEM fields. It’s available to students in grades 5-12 throughout 24 counties, which until 2006 had no regional access to the International Science and Engineer Fair.

This year, a group of these students will have the help of eMentors (provided by icouldbe.org!) during the creation of their science projects.

Ying TRSEF is engaging in a pilot program with icouldbe.org to provide students building their science projects with volunteer eMentors employed in STEM careers. These volunteers will mentor the students through the process of preparing for the fair on March 17 and 18. Using the icouldbe.org discussion boards, each mentor will help her mentee identify the science fair topic/question, make a plan to gather data to answer said question, understand ethical and safety procedures and analyze data and draw conclusions.

At the conclusion of the fair, mentors and mentees will continue the mentoring partnership by transitioning to the icouldbe.org curriculum. The mentors will then guide students through units that will help them identify future goals specific to post-secondary education and careers in various sectors.

We’re hopeful that this is just the beginning of a much bigger initiative to mentor students and create an interest in STEM careers. With mentors who already have vast experience and a passion for jobs in these fields, who better to pair with students to help them realize their capabilities and dreams?

Next month we’ll post an update from the science fair on March 17-18. We can’t wait to see what these kids create!

For more information on Ying TRSEF, visit www.yingtrsef.org.

Photo credits:
science lab counter. March 6, 2009 Meghan McDonald on Flickr.com Creative Commons