The Science Channel is crowning “Science Super Heroes” this month in celebration of 20 years on the air. We’re proud to announce that Citizen Schools alum MacCalvin Romain is one of those heroes. MacCalvin learned how to build a computer as a sixth-grader in a Citizen Schools apprenticeship in Boston, MA. His interest in computer technology was piqued. Although MacCalvin has now graduated from college and is enrolled in a Masters program, he has remained connected to Citizen Schools throughout his professional journey. In an interview on ABC5 Boston, MacCalvin explained why he returned to the program. “It was great to be able to come back, to come full circle and reach out to some of these kids,” he says.
His first experiment with engineering was successful. MacCalvin says he was known as “the kid with the hair dryer” for a while, after his attempt to turn a hair dryer into a flashlight succeeded. While it may seem like an unusual beginning for a technologist, it’s these types of small victories in experimentation that inspire students and launch careers.
MacCalvin says his time as a Citizen Schools student showed him the potential his personal experiments and everyday classes held. “It wasn’t until 6th grade that i started to understand where these math and science courses could take you in the future,” says MacCalvin.
After graduating from Boston College, MacCalvin went to work for EMC, “a dream come true” for a local Boston kid, he says. While working at EMC, MacCalvin volunteered with Citizen Schools, teaching an apprenticeship to kids from neighborhoods like his. He has taught over 200 students from Boston and Chelsea.
“EMC gave me that platform, for the kids to see someone who grew up in some of the areas that they are from, to see, “Hey, he’s working at EMC, he’s working in the technology space, I can relate to that,” MacCalvin says. “So for me it was an opportunity for these kids to have a role model or an influence.”
MacCalvin was instrumental in a mentoring partnership between DigitasLBI and Citizen Schools campuses in Boston. McCalvin worked as a senior marketing analyst at Digitas, and galvanized his coworkers into volunteering.
As for why he continues to teach, even as his career takes off, McCalvin offered a simple reason. “I want to give kids the opportunity to really experience the computer building, experience the technology, and when they sign up for the class, hopefully one of these kids will be able to say “this is something that I can see myself doing,” he says.
People have noticed the impact MacCalvin has on the kids he works with. One of MacCalvin’s students, Toni-Chanelle, earned a spot at the White House Science Fair for a video game she built in MacCalvin’s coding class. Last year, he was honored with a Presidential Volunteer Service Award. And now, MacCalvin is being nationally recognized as a Science Super Hero. Here at Citizen Schools, we couldn’t think of a more fitting title. Congratulations, MacCalvin, we can’t wait to see what you do next!
To learn more about the Science Channel's Science Super Heroes, click here.