Elizabeth has loved science and math since an early age, and she’s driven to share that love with other young women. “Helping girls to reach their full STEM potential is what I am most passionate about in STEM,” she says. “I was lucky enough to have intelligent adults in my life show me all the opportunities that STEM has, and I want to be that person for others.”
Once such opportunity presented itself when it came time for her to pick a project to earn her Gold Award, the most prestigious award in Girl Scouts. Elizabeth created STEM kits for a local elementary school, designing 18 different experiments and creating corresponding instruction videos. The experiments were based on fourth and fifth-grade level science and math curricula, and she designed each experiment to be as reusable as possible. Elizabeth also filmed a Women in STEM documentary in which she interviewed her STEM role models. “I wanted to help young girls see that STEM is cool and that there are so many things you can do with a STEM background,” she explains.
This spring, Elizabeth had another unique opportunity to advance her passion for STEM on Capitol Hill. The Society of Women Engineers (SWENext) held a special Girl Day in the Rayburn Building. Elizabeth is a member of SWENext and was selected to participate in the program. She introduced the sponsoring congressman and spoke about how she first became interested in engineering.
At school, Elizabeth is a member of Oakcrest’s Science Olympiad team, which made history this spring as the first and only all-girls team to compete in the Virginia State Science Olympiad Tournament. One event she participated in there was the Sounds of Music, which requires students to make their own instruments and demonstrate knowledge of the physics of sound.
“Eli's outreach efforts in the STEM field are outstanding,” says Oakcrest science teacher Dr. Kat Hussmann. “Her commitment to her Gold award, where she interviewed various women in STEM fields, spoke on Capitol Hill, and developed, assembled and distributed STEM kits to title 1 schools was well-conceived and thorough. Her continued dedication in the classroom in her courses as a joyful, thoughtful student and an active leader on the Science Olympiad team exemplify her role as an exemplary individual.”
When asked why she thinks encouraging more women to pursue STEM careers is important, Elizabeth replies, “I believe if we are to solve the complex problems of the future, everybody needs to be at the table to form a solution. I believe that girls’ opinions matter and should be heard. We have a different set of problem-solving skills than boys have, and both are important in solving STEM issues.” Ultimately, she’d like to become a chemical engineer with a focus in either cosmetics or the food industry.
Elizabeth’s interests reach beyond science and math. She’s a veteran of Oakcrest’s school plays, having performed in her first one during sixth grade and most recently wowing audiences as the Cowardly Lion in Oakcrest’s spring 2019 production of The Wizard of Oz
. She is also involved in other aspects of drama—she has written theatre reviews as a Cappie theatre critic since her freshman year, acted in the 10-Minute Play Festival, and is the founder and head of Oakcrest’s Improv Club. When she’s not busy onstage, Elizabeth serves as an Oakcrest ambassador and is a member of the National Honor Society and Mu Alpha Theta Math Honor Society.
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