I am a Hispanic student (senior undergraduate) from a socioeconomically disadvantaged background pursuing a graduate degree in Physics in US (I just finished submitting my applications). I do not know anyone from my neighborhood that attended college, much less pursued an advanced degree, and I find myself abhorred by the educational inequality in the US (and the world) on a daily basis. I've undertaken some personal outreach endeavors thus far, I act as a mentor via email for minority students in K-12 (for example, I send them updates about what projects I'm doing and links that I think are suitable for their age group) and I stay in contact with minority undergraduates in STEM whom find themselves faced with (socioeconomic) obstacles similar to those that I have faced.
My parents were hard workers, but they had little time (or money) to stimulate me intellectually as a child, and they also had no idea what it meant to pursue a PhD in anything besides a medical doctor. Thus, I really only became familiar with the notion of pursuing a career in scientific research when I arrived at college; prior to arriving at college, engineering was my idea of what it meant to be a "scientist", or, to "do science" as a career.
I would say that over the course of the past three years I have become a relatively successful researcher, and in some ways I have made up for lost time, but to this day I can only cringe thinking about where I (or someone in my same shoes) might be today if I had been exposed to science at a younger age.
Does anyone have advice as to how I can begin making a significant impact in scientific outreach as a graduate student? I have a knack for programming, and the majority of my research is computational in nature, so I think I might be well suited for helping individuals learn programming remotely, or something of that effect.