Volunteer Spotlight: Kartik Choudhary

Kartik Choudhary has been a College Town Tutor for slightly over a year now.

Tell us about yourself:

My name’s Kartik and I’m a senior at UCSD majoring in Nanoengineering and material science. I am also part of a research group that studies the mechanical properties (flexibility, softness) of semiconducting polymers for their use in flexible electronic devices. In my free time, I enjoy watching tv, playing basketball, and listening to music.

What motivated you to volunteer with RC?

An uncommon fact about me is that I actually did my middle schooling and high schooling in India. Schooling in India posed a lot of changes for me; teachers were often were very specific in their grading and that sometimes it wasn’t enough to paraphrase my thoughts in places where exact answers were expected. This process of having to memorize answers and write in a certain way frustrated me. 

My unpleasant experience with having to learn math and science through memorization (rather than understanding/appreciating these subjects) motivated me to become a tutor at Reality Changers (RC). I want to help students in my community become passionate about math and science and believe that a college education is the best gateway to get hands-on experience with these subjects via student organizations and research labs.

Tell us about a time that was especially meaningful or a memorable moment for you as an RC volunteer.

I think the most memorable experiences I’ve had at RC are definitely during speech nights. Unlike a lot of other tutoring programs, RC focuses on students who have faced adversity in their lives and hearing the stories behind our students is often an emotional experience. On speech nights, us tutors are reminded of our responsibility to not only teach, but also mentor, support, and motivate our students to make the right choices in life.

What is one idea, opportunity, or challenge that you are currently focused on in your role as a volunteer?

I think one of the challenges that’s come up this year, is tutoring students over a virtual medium; it can be difficult to communicate ideas without having being able to write/draw your ideas out for your students. However, I also think there’s a lot of potential in using online simulations and graphing software (websites like Desmos, Physics Classroom, etc.) to facilitate student learning. My current focus is to find more virtual platforms and encourage students to embrace the advantages that come with online learning. Oftentimes, there’s a lot of awesome content on sites like YouTube as well which students are unaware of just because no one has lead them to these virtual resources before.

If you could encourage someone else to volunteer at our organization, what would you say? OR What do you wish other people knew about RC?

RC has truly been an amazing experience for me and I would highly recommend other people to volunteer at this organization. It has helped me harness better communication skills, interpersonal skills, and taught me to connect with people outside of my age group on a deeper level. In addition the RC staff and students are really friendly and helpful which is always a big plus! I honestly never expected to have as much fun as I’ve had, when I first joined and my only wish is that I had joined sooner.

What is your favorite quote or life mantra? 

“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” – Michael Jordan


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