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THE JEFFERSON AWARDS: Our December winner mentors students in STEM

ROCHESTER, Minn. (FOX 47) – Every month, FOX 47 features someone in our community who is making a difference and we honor them with a Jefferson Award.

Our December winner mentors young students and helps spark an interest in STEM fields.

As a Mayo Clinic statistician, an average day in the life of Travis Dockter is all about the numbers.

But when he steps inside the Boys and Girls Club, he spreads his love of math and sciences to dozens of young students.

“I was looking for a way to give back to the community, as well as I’ve always been kind of interested in teaching,” Travis said.

Travis volunteers weekly at the Boys and Girls Club, serving as a STEM mentor, making science, technology, engineering, and math fun.

“We do different activities that relate to STEM fields and a lot of them might be like making a windmill, or playing a game where they learn about how water has different phases or sometimes they just like to play board or card games.”

He also leads a club for the strategic card game “Magic: The Gathering.”

With a growing push for STEM skills, his goal is to give students a solid base on which to build a lifelong love for learning.

“They usually get really excited, especially when they get to build something and they get to see it work themselves, it’s like ‘oh my gosh I built that!'” Travis said. “So it’s really awesome to get to see that excitement, for learning something new in STEM.”

Staff at the Boys and Girls Club nominated Travis for the Jefferson Award after seeing his impact on the kids.

“Travis has been extremely dedicated,” said Amy Johnson, the Academic Success Coordinator at the Boys and Girls Club. “He always shows up, he’s great with the kids and the kids absolutely adore him. They always run up to him and give him a big hug when he gets here.”

Odds are good: he’s inspiring the next generation of mathematicians and scientists.

“To seem them go and get jobs in STEM fields and to know you may have played a part in that would be wonderful.”

If you know someone who’s also making a difference, you can nominate them for a Jefferson Award here.

Erin O'Brien

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