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Coach Profiles: Introducing Alex Owens

Coach Profiles: Introducing Alex Owens

Coach Profiles: Introducing Alex Owens 1000 1000 Xueying Chen

At The Spike Lab we work tirelessly to build a team of world-class coaches. This is part of a series of coach profiles blog posts introducing them to you.

Alex is a dedicated educator with over 10 years of classroom experience. Throughout this time, Alex has stewarded creative schools and learning environments (i.e. a makerspace, construction sites and a radio station) that encourage hands on learning, student autonomy, and collaborative problem solving. In New Orleans, he led the Innovation program at Bricolage Academy, providing the space, tools, and resources for elementary students to design and make the projects of their dreams. Most recently, he founded and manages Be Loud Studios, a non-profit radio station dedicated to amplifying child confidence through radio and digital media production. Alex loves to make, create and produce things. Born and raised in Maryland, he now lives in New Orleans, where he can be found renovating his home, mixing new music, or playing with his adventurous toddler.

1) Why did you become a coach with The Spike Lab?

I believe in the lessons and resources that The Spike Lab provides students across the world. Students receive world class coaching, tangible tools to build a passion project, and an experience that will help them shine on a college application.

More importantly, I am a coach because of the incredible and often untapped potential in youth to make real, sustainable, and positive change in their community. The Spike Lab provides the opportunity for kids to create initiatives that uplift and inspire the people around them. In my last ten years of teaching, I have tried to instill that same commitment to my students, regardless of their age or interest or background. Whether with a microphone or a hammer in hand, I am deeply invested in helping kids realize their potential and also their responsibility to make the world more equitable, more responsive, more beautiful.

The opportunity to be a small part of that journey and to continue my own is an incredible privilege.

2) What is your proudest professional achievement?

In every notebook I use, on the inside cover, I write a line from organizer, civil rights activist and personal hero, Myles Horton- “We make the road by walking.”

As an educator, I understand the value and responsibility of these words. Learning, growth, impact, and change does not come from one singular achievement. Instead, it comes from the daily commitment to progress.

My proudest professional accomplishments are those small, but significant reminders that have always pushed my work forward. That “road” is made up of countless steps and successes that come in several forms- an emotional email from a student taught a decade ago, a hands-on project that erupts joy in a class of six year olds, a ribbon cutting ceremony for a family’s new home that I helped rebuild. The Spike Lab helps empower young people to be life-long innovators and change makers. To do that however, there must be that same appreciation and understanding of the long, winding road ahead.

3) If you could give one piece of advice to your high school self, what would it be?

Growing up and especially in high school, I was constantly asked to look into the future. What do you want to do when you grow up? Where will you go to college? What will your major be?

I took AP classes to put on a transcript. I completed service projects to look more attractive on a resume. Although that process helped me be successful, it also can be a trap. If we are constantly looking, planning, thinking about the future, that leaves us little time and space to truly appreciate and take advantage of the now. My advice would be to recognize the potential of the present. To learn for the sake of learning, to take risks, make mistakes, to ask questions, to play and take on meaningful work simply because it feels meaningful.

I am excited to coach with The Spike Lab because this program encourages everyone involved to think about students as they are and not just what they will become. We realize the potential that students have to make real change and more importantly, the responsibility they have to realize that impact at their age. They should not wait for that to happen. The world cannot wait for that to happen.

4) How did you choose Boston University for undergrad?

I loved (and still do) learning, reading, thinking, and writing about American history. The complexity of the stories and the pervasive tensions that exist throughout fascinate and challenge me.

When I was 18, I wanted my college decision to be a reflection of that passion for learning. More importantly, I wanted to live in a city (not just sit in a lecture hall) that breathed history. My experience at Boston University was significant, but my experience living in Boston at that age was transformative. Learning about the city’s rich and conflicted history. Learning how to navigate the diverse neighborhoods and communities. Learning how to be a responsible and active member of my own community. Those lessons not only made me a happier and more productive student, but they shaped my identity as an adult. When choosing a school, I encourage anyone and everyone to think beyond the walls of the classroom or dormitory and truly consider the larger community you plan to dive into.

Want to work with an innovative coach like Alex? Book a consultation here.