Outreach Learning Fellow Profile: Victor Aguilar A24

This semester, Outreach Learning Fellow Victor Aguilar, A24, wrote a book for and about his students and used it for a Novel Engineering activity. Victor talks about his inspiration for the book and the impact it had on the students below.

The last thing I ever imagined working on as an Outreach Fellow was a children’s book. I created a book for the students at Samuel Adams Elementary, inspired by the pedagogical approach of novel engineering and the students I’ve met over the past year and a half. With my time wrapping up at Tufts, I knew I wanted to gift each student something they would remember forever. My biggest inspirations for the book were the garden and playground behind the school which always excited all the students. On the last day of the program last spring, the principal invited us to a family night, where everyone was enjoying the playground and garden. Joy and delight were present on everyone’s faces, it was evident this place was special.

In the book, the students learn about birds in class and try to attract more to their garden. They ideate multiple ideas, and in the end, a bird bath proves the best solution. The book wouldn’t have captured the same magic without the help of Ashlyn Feely (A24), who helped me by illustrating a wonderful book cover. When the students saw their school on the cover, there were gasps, loud realizations, and joyous disbelief. Their ecstatic reactions were extremely rewarding. As I read them the story, some faces were glued to the illustration, others read along, and some intently listened to my narration.

Cover art of students standing around a bird bath

After I read the book, their task was to build upon, or revise an idea in the book, or create something entirely new. Some students took it upon themselves to build a bird hotel, others built a bigger bird bath with levels, and some built birdhouses for different size birds. One student impressed me when they took it upon themselves to create a feeder system for the birds. As a college student, few moments allow such community impacts; creating this book fulfilled more than I could imagine. It showed me I truly was following my life goal of helping others, in helping these students imagine.

Leave a Reply