I don’t think I ever truly knew what STEM really was until I discovered NOVA awards and did my first one. It was much more difficult than I expected, taking a lot of time, energy, and creativity. The more I worked on it, the more I learned and became interested in the world of STEM. Specifically I loved the aerospace and engineering parts of it, having watched several rocket launches for activities and building a fan powered car out of a gatorade bottle and some bottle caps. After completing four of these NOVA awards, I set my sights on the biggest challenge yet – the Supernova.
It took months to complete all of the requirements and challenges for this award, but even though at times I wanted to drop it all together, I pushed through. My favorite activities were the coding project I did, shadowing a heliophysicist, and teaching cub scouts how to make a fan powered car. Especially during the shadowing, I learned so much about what it’s like to work at NASA, and so much on recent projects and interesting things happening in the world of engineering right now.
When I finished my first Supernova award, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to continue and do another one. But with spare time on my hands, and a growing interest in STEM I began it. My favorite activities were creating the Electroscope for the nuclear science merit badge, running a meeting with different science experiments, and writing an essay on the history of nuclear power.
I think the Thomas Edison Supernova opened the door to my interest in nuclear sciences, beginning with the all day merit badge course which I really enjoyed – going in depth on atoms and fission which I found particularly interesting. While doing the essay on nuclear power I felt myself getting really intrigued with each piece of information I found, causing me to write out the 1,500 words in only an hour. Everything about it made me nervous, how such tiny things could explode cities and have so much power, but it also excited me to think that was possible.
After completing it I was really proud, but also very glad for all the opportunities it provided me with. I got to meet some fantastic people, and learn a lot about myself and the STEM world.
Sydney is pictured above (right) along with Lauren (left) who also earned the Edison Supernova, and Mr. Bruce Donlin (center), the Supernova Mentor for both scouts. As Sydney and Lauren display their Supernova medals, Mr. Donlin displays the Silver Pyramid, a STEM Award he was presented for creating a Council-wide, large scale, sustainable STEM event!