Gina Moreno

Empowering Future Leaders: My Experience Volunteering at ASU’s Migratory Student Summer Academy


Volunteering at events that support and uplift our community always brings a sense of fulfillment and joy. Most recently, I had the privilege of being part of the Migratory Student Summer Academy (MSSA) at Arizona State University (ASU). This experience not only allowed me to contribute to a meaningful cause but also reinforced the importance of such programs in empowering our youth.

About MSSA at ASU

The Migratory Student Summer Academy is an Arizona Department of Education-funded enrichment program designed for high-school-aged students of Arizona’s migrant seasonal farmworkers (MSFW). The program focuses on leadership and instruction in core subjects of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). ASU stands out as the only four-year university in Arizona with a College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP), boasting a long history of hosting summer enrichment programs that cater to diverse interests and needs.

The Importance of MSSA

Programs like MSSA are crucial because they provide invaluable opportunities for students who are part of the community that feeds us every day. These programs not only offer educational enrichment but also foster leadership skills and inspire resilience. They play a significant role in helping students realize their potential and pursue their dreams despite the challenges they may face.

My Experience and Activities

Being a part of MSSA was an incredibly rewarding experience. The students I interacted with were inspiring and resilient, demonstrating a strong desire to learn and grow. Their stories of perseverance and determination were truly motivational. Additionally, the career trajectories of the staff members added to the inspiration, showcasing diverse paths to success and the impact of dedicated mentorship.

The program was packed with exciting and educational activities:

  • Exploring learning with VR: Students experienced immersive learning through virtual reality.
  • DNA extraction: They extracted DNA from strawberries and bananas, making complex science fun and accessible.
  • Planting succulents: A hands-on activity that combined biology with creativity.
  • Pool party: A fun and relaxing break from the intense learning sessions.
  • Keynote by José Hernández: Listening to the inspiring journey of astronaut José Hernández was a highlight, emphasizing perseverance and hard work.
  • Veterinary school visit: Students learned how to aid a wounded horse and saw various animal organs, providing insights into veterinary science.
  • Materials experiments: Engaging experiments that sparked curiosity in material science.
  • Bee conservatory visit: They learned about the importance of bees in our ecosystem.
  • Arboretum visit: An educational tour that highlighted the diversity of plant life.

The Impact

This type of event fills my cup. It reminds me why I am passionate about community engagement and education. Seeing the positive impact of MSSA on these young minds reaffirms the importance of providing support and resources to our underserved communities. It is through such initiatives that we can foster a brighter future for the next generation of leaders.


Volunteering at ASU’s Migratory Student Summer Academy was a profound experience that highlighted the power of education and community support. Programs like MSSA are essential in nurturing the talents and aspirations of our youth, especially those from migrant seasonal farmworker families. I am grateful for the opportunity to contribute to this cause and look forward to more such fulfilling experiences.

Stay tuned for more insights and stories as I continue my journey of community involvement and advocacy.

Keywords: Migratory Student Summer Academy, MSSA, Arizona State University, ASU, STEM Education, Community Engagement, Leadership Development, Migrant Seasonal Farmworkers, Education Enrichment Programs


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