12-year-old genius Alena Wicker aims for the stars and plans to become the youngest black woman to work for NASA. She just graduated from high school and will be attending virtual classes at Arizona State University this semester. There, she will specialize in astronomical / planetary sciences and chemistry to achieve her goal of becoming a space engineer. She has dreamed of working for NASA since childhood and hopes to become an engineer when she turns 16.
She originally wanted to pursue astronomy, but her passion for building things led her to the field of engineering. Alena hopes that one day she can build a space vehicle like the ones sent to Mars. He is confident that his dreams will come true, and he told ABC News that he will be driving one before graduating from college.
The aspiring engineer from Texas loved to design and build things even as a child. Like most young children, Alena enjoyed playing with Legos, but took her creations very seriously. She built elaborate structures like the Taj Mahal, Disney’s castle, a NASA rocket, and Apollo 11. He even made a Lego replica of the Millennium Falcon.
Alena said the following on ABC’s Good Morning America:
“Since I was 4 years old, I loved playing with different types of Legos.”
The popular childhood hobby helped her channel her passion for engineering. As Alena’s mother, Daphne McQuarter, watched her daughter create these masterpieces, she realized she had a genius on her hands.
“I organized the Legos by color, by size,” recalls Alena’s McQuarter. “She was always strategic with her Legos, and if you screwed up her Legos, it was a problem. If you took one of her Legos out of the little set, she knew one of her Legos was missing. “
As an avid Star Wars fan, Alena said that the Millennium Falcon was probably her favorite build so far. He spent 14-15 hours over two days completing the design, taking hardly any sleep breaks.
From Legos to spaceships, Alena’s ambition is out of this world
Seeing Alena’s visions come to life as she designs them motivates the genius boy to follow his dreams. Yet despite your enthusiasm for your future, you can’t help but notice the glaring disparities in the STEM fields. It noted that women and people of color are largely underrepresented in science, technology, engineering and math careers. Wanting to raise awareness about racial and gender inequalities in some way, she launched her own website.
He called the Brown Stem Girl (BSG), the site provides support and education for women of color interested in STEM careers. According to the Pew Research Center, women actually make up half of American workers in STEM jobs. However, most of them hold health care positions; few women or people of color work in fields such as engineering or computer science.
The research also found that blacks only make up 9% of STEM workers, while Hispanics make up 7%.
Alena told her mom, “I want to create this Brown girl culture in STEM, because it’s all this gap, and I just want to do something.”
Alena created the entire business plan for the website herself. Of course, he knew he would need help to get the project off the ground. She took matters into her own hands, reaching out to graphic designers, public relations managers, and more.
“She really did all the field work, not me. I just sat in the background and had the fun part of writing the checks, “McQuarter joked.
The genius boy also has other projects underway
When Alena is not busy with university courses, BSG or building things, she is learning Spanish and Arabic. She and her mom love experiencing the world by traveling and exploring different cultures. Alena even lived abroad in Amman, Jordan for a short time while attending school.
He is also working on a children’s book called “Brainiac World”. Growing up, children used to tease her about her intelligence, calling her a “brainiac.” So, he decided to turn his childhood nickname into something inspiring and positive.
In addition to the book, he also has a podcast in the works and plans to release the first episode soon. Alena says the podcast will encourage girls in STEM by bringing other women in STEM to the show. They can provide valuable information and answer any questions the girls may have. Alena hopes to have Dr. Mae Jemison, the first black female astronaut in history, as one of her guests.
With all these professional goals and projects, Alena’s future looks very bright. According to her mother, even NASA contacted her, although she cannot yet reveal the details. While this genius girl has big dreams, she hopes to inspire other girls to pursue their passions, too. She told ABC News this:
“It doesn’t matter what your age is or what you’re planning to do. Go ahead, dream, then get it. “
Even though Alena is clearly a gifted girl, she also enjoys doing normal children’s activities. When she’s not building Lego rockets or working on her career, you can find her hanging out with friends or watching movies. She also loves to sing and play sports like track and field. Alena loves to keep busy and immerse herself in many different activities and experiences.
While her mother makes sure to nurture Alena’s natural talents, she also wants her to enjoy her youth. She may be a genius, but her mother encourages her to participate in regular school activities as well. News of Alena’s career aspirations continues to spread and has caught her a lot of attention. However, her mother says that for them she is still just Alena, “the silly girl in the family.”
Final thoughts: cool girl enrolled in college at age 12, now planning to become a space engineer
Alena has big plans for her future, aiming to pursue a career at NASA when she is only 16 years old. She hopes to become a space engineer and build space rovers like the ones sent to Mars. It looks like Alena is on her way to success and we are excited to see her achieve her dreams.
We leave you with this inspiring advice Alena received from a postal worker: “We are in a new year, in a new season, and no one can stop us anymore. So you can keep your feet on the ground, but you can keep reaching for the stars. “