Awards Celebration - September 30th, 2017
21 student mentors were nominated by their peers to receive the “U.S. House of Representatives Certificate of Congressional Recognition" signed by Congresswoman Barbara Comstock. Nominations were evaluated and approved by the MCSE committee based on their ability to mentor their students effectively. The mentors who received this award were:
Amanda Chu, 11th grade, Poolsville High School
Andrew Wang, 12th grade, TJHSST
Angela Wu, 11th grade, Wootton High School
Anna Huang, 10th grade, Churchill High School
Anshu Sharma, Freshman, Randolph-Macon College
Anyesha Majumdar, 12th grade, TJHSST
Austin Zhang, 12th grade, McLean High School
Carolina Jin, 11th grade, TJHSST
Christine Sun, 12th grade, McLean High School
Daniel Shen, 11th grade, TJHSST
Divya Kumaran, 11th grade, Woodson High School
Emily Huo, 11th grade, Chantilly High School
Emily Xu, 12th grade, Whitman High School
Eric Lin, 12th grade, TJHSST
Ethan Liu, 12th grade, TJHSST
James Gao, 12th grade, McLean High School
Katie Li, 10th grade, Marshall High School
Kevin Sun, 12th grade, Oakton High School
Patrick Zhang, 10th grade, TJHSST
Robert Chu, 11th grade, South County High School
William Wang, 10th grade, TJHSST
However, there were seven mentors who also demonstrated notable mentoring skills and received honorable mention. The mentors who received honorable mention were:
Andrew Chen, 10th grade, Woodson High School
Jennifer Ren, 10th grade, Montgomery Blair High School
Erica Wu, 11th grade, TJHSST
James Xiao, 12th grade, TJHSST
Alex Yang, 11th grade, Basis
Fred Zhang, 11th grade, TJHSST
Alice Zhang, 12th grade, Montgomery Blair High School
Six mentors were chosen to receive the Calvin J. Li Award for exceptional leadership ability. Mentors were chosen based on student nominations, self-reflection, and site managers’ feedback. The awards were presented in three levels with a monetary award.
One 1st place Award: Austin Zhang $200
Two 2nd place Awards: Anshu Sharma and Daniel Shen $100 each
Three 3rd place Awards: Angela Wu, Christine Sun, and Ethan Liu $50 each
Training Session - June 16th, 2018
On June 16th, members of the BranchOut program gathered at Pender Professional Center in Fairfax, VA for a training session. During the session, educators and executives taught the mentors how to succeed in educating and creating relationships with their mentees.
Nitu Mohan from Madison High School, Kevina Wang, and Lawrence Zhu, both from Oakton High School, introduced Dr. Wu and the program. Next, Dr. Wu gave a speech on the origins of BranchOut, and explained the program’s mission. Other speakers, such as Ms. Madalene Mielke, the President and CEO of APAICS, Mrs. Ellen Hussain, the Math Department Chair at Oakton High School, Ms. Julia Ross and Ms. Nicolette Pisani, two elementary school teachers, and Mr. Bob Gee, the Former Assistant Secretary of DOE, also spoke at the event. They gave talks pertaining to strategies for teaching students both at the elementary school age and high school age and networking.
Program Agenda can be found here.
Picnic - August 5th, 2018
Sunday, August 5th, was the BranchOut end-of-summer celebration picnic at Nottoway Park in Vienna, VA. Around sixty people attended the picnic, and a whopping $349.22 was raised to sustain the program. The donation will be used to support BranchOut!, which is maintained mostly by the co-founders of the program and a small group of private donors! The event was intended to further promote BranchOut, fundraise, and most of all: a chance for all the mentors form stronger relationships with each other, connect over common interests, and create a BranchOut mentor team. Over the course of the summer, all the mentors were able to connect with each other in one way or another: through weekly meetings, sharing mentoring memories, or even planning the picnic.
Ultimately, at the conclusion of this five-week experience with the program, the mentors have gone from strangers to friends and have all contributed to the inspiring ways that education can bring people from different cultures, and social classes, together. The picnic really emphasized the fact that BranchOut is not your typical tutoring program as the team spirit and student-based leadership is what makes it so unique. The picnic was organized by the BranchOut student management team. The four main student organizers of this event were senior Angela Wu of Wootton High School, senior Daniel Shen of TJHSST, junior Marina Wang of McLean High School, and junior Lawrence Zhu of Oakton High School. They helped with the promotion and organization of this event. However, the picnic would not have been a success without the help of Dr. Wu, picnic attendees, mentors, parents, and supporters.
UCA Convention - September 29, 2018
On September 29th, BranchOut! was one of six programs invited by the United Chinese Americans, a non-profit organization that aims to empower Chinese American communities, to present at the national convention. Students were able to help promote BranchOut!, get to know other organizations, and listen to a variety of topics presented by nationally-renowned speakers. The event was an excellent experience for the BranchOut! members in attendance and a monumental step BranchOut!'s publicity.
BranchOut! Celebration & STEM Night - October 21, 2018
On October 21st, BranchOut! celebrated another successful year of the program in its celebration event at George C. Marshall High School. BranchOut! mentors were able to talk about what they learned from the experience and discussed the important values the program instills in its participants. Mentors also received awards such as the Calvin J. Li Leadership Award, U.S. Congressional Award, and UCA Certificate of Recognition.
Training Session - June 15th, 2019
On June 15th, BranchOut! kicked off another exciting year of mentoring with a training session at the James Lee Community Center in Falls Church, VA. During the session, BranchOut! mentors learned important skills in successfully educating and creating relationships with their mentees. Nitu Girish-Mohan from Madison High School and Forrest Meng from TJHSST began by introducing the program and Dr. Wu, who followed with a speech about the history of BranchOut! and the importance of professionalism. Mr. Gregory Olcott, a school counselor at McLean High School, Mrs. Lily Qi, the Delegate for Maryland State House district 15, and Mr. Araoz, a representative for Senator Tim Kaine's office, also gave speeches at the event, talking about various topics, such as strategies for communicating with students, networking, and diversity. Mentors then went to "breakout rooms," where senior BranchOut! mentors gave advice about mentoring and provided additional training, including a mock tutoring session.