Sky’s no limit for aspiring engineer

Published 8:46 pm Monday, July 22, 2019

A Suffolk teen recently enjoyed an experience that allowed her and other students to “go to Mars” through science, technology, engineering and math.

Jasmine Myrick, a 14-year-old rising freshman at Lakeland High School, participated in the National Youth Leadership Forum Explore STEM program. The daughter of Gary and Angela Myrick, Jasmine was nominated to attend this forum by the National Research Center for College and University Admissions, according to a press release.

This session of NYLF Explore STEM was held July 6-11 at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C. The forum is an Envision Family Program that helps middle school students through explorations of their own STEM interests.

This opportunity is designed to help them become the next generation of innovators, engineers, doctors, forensic scientists, mathematicians and physicists, according to envisionexperience.com.

“At NYFL Explore STEM, students build the confidence and skills needed to excel in high school, college and the workplace,” Envision Senior Vice President Amanda Freitag Thomas stated in a press release. “They learn how to adapt and communicate in new situations, to new challenges, and with new people, which, given how rapidly the world is changing due to technology and innovation, are essential skills for success.”

Jasmine and the other students took part in hands-on simulations over the course of this six-day program. These simulations covered forensic science, medical and engineering scenarios, with activities and challenges for team-building.

The students worked towards a “Mission to Mars” and were divided into different galaxy groups that each had a different STEM focus for this out-of-this-world goal.

Jasmine said that she enjoyed making new friends during these activities. She also liked learning about a different avenue of STEM each day, from robotics to medicine.

The students took quizzes that sorted them into fields they were interested in, but each group also got to observe the others’ activities, which provided each student with a complete experience.

Part of Jasmine’s experience was building a habitat for Mars colonists. She and her team of six created a cardboard model that represented their habitat design. Their layout featured sleeping quarters, a gym, leisure activities and a hospital, cafeteria and greenhouse, plus other essentials for colonists.

“It took a lot of teamwork to get that built,” Jasmine said, with disagreements within the team resolved constructively and compromises made for the greater good.

During these six days of learning, Jasmine got to explore new and exciting possibilities for her own future as an engineer.

She plans to spend her next four years at Lakeland High School figuring out which engineering branch she wants to pursue while she takes dual enrollment courses through Paul D. Camp Community College.

She wants to make an impact in the world, with engineering being her first step.

“I can be an influence (for) other girls to get into engineering,” she said.

Jasmine has been a positive influence in the Suffolk community for years. She attends Metropolitan Baptist Church, where she’s a member of the Youth Choir and Praise Dance Team, president of the Youth Ignite Missionary Ministry and vice president of the Young Developers Youth Ministry.

She’s part of the Youth Zeta Phi Beta Sorority — growing from Amicette to Archonette, for high school-aged ladies — and has been an active Girl Scout for four years. She’s also participated with the Envision Lead Grow mentoring group for the past two years.

On top of all that, she plays on the junior varsity tennis team.

“She’s always busy,” Angela Myrick said about Jasmine. “We don’t sit still for nothing.”

Myrick said her daughter likes to stay connected to the Suffolk community by helping out however she can.

Growing up, Jasmine watched her mother help children as a mental health case manager for children. Myrick now supervises these case managers at Western Tidewater Community Services Board.

Jasmine said that she’s been around her mother’s work with children since she was 3 years old, and that inspired her to help young children in her community.

“She will jump in and help anybody with whatever is going on,” Myrick said about Jasmine.

Jasmine was also grateful for her friends, family and church community for their support. They all helped to raise money for Jasmine’s trip to Wake Forest so that she could expand her STEM horizons.

“Thank you to the people who helped me get to where I am today,” she said. “You are appreciated very much.”