Reflection on the 2018 Access Assembly by Mookpolo Wait

My name is Mookpolo Wait and I was in the IMPRESS summer program in 2017. I attended the Access Network Assembly for the first time at Boulder, Colorado. It was a very good experience and I learned a lot during the conference.

There are so many things that I took away with me at the conference. I attended the first workshop and it was advisory board. This workshop allowed me to listen to all of this wonderful idea and I learned so much in short amount of time. My second workshop was “How to run a workshop?” This was probably the most important thing I learned throughout the conference. When I got back from the assembly, I was able to run a little workshop with a group of kids I tutor after school and it went smoothly.

I was able to talk with different people coming from different backgrounds and develop a better understanding on things that I am not. This experience allowed me to speak up and express myself. I noticed that only a few undergraduate students participated in this conference, but I was able to get my point across and learned that my opinion matter regardless of my status. It boosts up my confidence when I am doing presentations in school or at work. I also became aware of my surroundings and some social issues that could be very challenging to tackle. One of the attendees mentioned that “We need more color people in physics,” and I realized that she was right. I feel more comfortable being around people that wanted to be different such as gay, lesbian or transgender. I learned how to interact with different types of people and I am very happy to be part of this Assembly.

The trip overall was very nice and it was my first time flying by myself. I was able to go hiking and enjoy the beautiful view of the mountains. I made some new friends and was able to connect with many people who work in professional STEM fields. I develop skills on how to work in a group and how to deal with different type of people.

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