Today’s post is written by Angelina, age 10, from FIRST® LEGO® League team the 8 Magnateers of Pittsford, NY, USA. The 8 Magnateers are Global Innovation Award Ambassadors from the INTO ORBITSM season and inventors of Magnetic Dogeball

When FIRST® asked me who my STEM hero was, I immediately thought of two. The first one is Emily Calandrelli.  I first saw Emily on her awesome television show, Xploration Outer Space.  She really has one of the coolest jobs in the world. Ever since I saw her TV show, I knew I wanted to be just like her when I grow up. Emily does so many cool experiments and talks to many space related experts on her show. Emily also writes books about a girl named Ada Lace who loves STEM. I love them a lot. Emily was so kind when I got to meet her at the FIRST LEGO League Global Innovation Award event in San Jose, California. She even signed my book! The thing I love the most about her is that she encourages young girls to like science.

Emily Calandrelli Jupiter Headshot.jpg
Emily is a FIRST Alum!

The second is former NASA astronaut Pam Melroy.  I know about Pam because she grew up in my hometown and even went to my elementary school.  There is a plaque on the wall in our school with a picture of her in the space shuttle and she brought us a patch that she took into space. Pam was the pilot of 2 shuttle missions, and the commander of one.  She was one of only two female shuttle commanders.  I saw a documentary about her, and she said she knew from when she was little that she was going to be an astronaut. One of the things I love the most about her is that she had a dream and went for it. She never gave up.

Photo courtesy of NASA

The more I think about it,  I have STEM heroes everywhere.  Lots of people made me love STEM before I even knew what any part of STEM was.  STEM has always been a part of my everyday life. My family would answer my questions about the world, and if they didn’t know, we would find out together. We would do math at the grocery store. They would (usually!) let me solve problems on my own, and in my own time. Then my teachers started to play a role. When I was 4, I remember my preschool teacher, Mrs. Jones, told me that “everyone is a scientist.” My teachers at my school are a big reason why math is my favorite subject.  At the Global Innovation Award, my technology teacher, Mrs. Rivera, gave each of us a magnet where she wrote, “Believe in yourself and even gravity won’t hold you down.”

I know I will be a STEM hero one day.  I might not be as famous as Pam or Emily, but I am sure I will make a difference.