This post is part of the Noble Impact Scholars Series, which highlights incredibly talented Noble Impact scholars and the work they’re pursuing.
We recently caught up with Greta Kresse, Austin Ashley, and Grace Heflin of Steering Arkansas to hear about their project, which was formed at Noble Impact civic innovation challenge, Innovate 2 Educate. The team is quite the inspiration.
NI: Tell me a little about Steering Arkansas.
SA: Steering Arkansas is a method to inform and advocate the need for Drivers Education in Arkansas. We formed Steering Arkansas [SA] during the first i2e because we were all approaching driving age and we didn’t know how to drive safely and confidently. The problem we are attempting to address is the lack of Drivers Ed courses in high schools across the state of Arkansas. We know there were programs out there that were the solution to our problem, however they weren’t all-access. Drivers Ed can be very costly, in both time and money, so we wanted to offer high school students another option.
NI: What is the inspiration behind Steering Arkansas?
SA: Personally, Steering Arkansas came to be after one of us took the permit test and had very bad first-time driving experiences. It was different for all of us, though. Each of us also knows that in high school it can be very hard to study for your drivers exam, along with the mountain of schoolwork you have to do. So we all decided that we need a Drivers Ed class which students have the opportunity to take during the day, so when we get home we don’t have to worry about not being able to study for the drivers exam.
NI: How did Steering Arkansas get it’s start?
SA: We first thought of Steering Arkansas when our Noble 101 and our EAST class collaborated and we were asked to address a problem in our education system. Obviously, we felt that a big problem was the lack of Drivers Ed in our school, so we went with it. We eventually realized that we aren’t the only teens that felt this way. Through the collaboration of EAST and Noble, we were asked to present at the first i2e challenge, and we loved how we could present this issue to community leaders and not be brushed off as lazy kids who don’t know how to drive.
NI: What has been your proudest moment as a team member of SA?
SA: Austin: For me, our proudest moment would have to be receiving a grant from State Farm.
Greta: Personally it was when we came in third place at i2e. We had worked so hard forming the idea in a very short amount of time so it felt great to get that validation from the judges.
Grace: My proudest moment in Steering Arkansas was when Senator Files visited our school to have a meeting with us. I was amazed that an important person treated us like an equal, despite being teenagers. I’m also so proud that we are making these connections, and reaching out for partnerships, not just our two great facilitators, Chris Forster and Chad Williamson (who also deserve some major credit).
NI: What do you hope Steering Arkansas accomplishes in the long run?
SA: One thing that we hope to accomplish is to implement Drivers Ed into schools across Arkansas of course. We are also constructing a curriculum for Drivers Ed courses, which can be used in the classroom. We plan on piloting the program in eStem, along with the driving simulator. Lastly, in due time we plan on creating a mobile Drivers Ed unit, that holds a simulator, and has the ability to travel to schools around Arkansas to benefit students.
You can follow Steering Arkansas on Twitter at @SteeringAR or contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.