Growing up, Yuridia Sanchez, currently a senior at Nogales High School, recalls being obsessed with space, staying up late at night to stargaze and waking up at the crack of dawn to see rocket launches in the morning. Now, a commendable student, STEMist, and inspiration to her community, Yuridia Sanchez stands as a beacon of hard work and appreciation for those around her. Yuridia has long held a passion for science and space which led her to travel from Nogales, Arizona to attend Go For Launch! Space Coast in Florida. She felt enriched in her scientific passions and felt a deep appreciation for the ability to attend such an incredible program.
“I fell in love with Go For Launch! and it made me fall in love with space all over again,” Sanchez expressed. “So obviously I knew I wanted to bring it to my community.”
Recognizing the transformative power of immersive STEM programs, she took it upon herself to raise funds and bring Go For Launch! to her hometown as her mission for her senior graduating project.
“We, in Nogales, don't get a lot of resources, especially for space.” Yuridia explained. “We're from a small border town and one of the forgotten ones, not a lot of people know about it. And one of my big thoughts about being STEMists is that when you find something this big, your job as a STEMist is to find a way to bring it back to your community and help others that were in the same position as you were.”
She formulated a plan to bring this opportunity to her own community which began with her proposing this effort for her senior graduating project. Despite being met with unsure opinions and skepticism at the large effort that would be required for success, Sanchez insisted, “I'm going to make it happen. You want to see it? I will make it happen.”
After gaining permission, she contacted businesses and held a presentation to gain support for her mission. However, upon hosting her presentation, she realized that her main support would be from within the community itself. She contacted local businesses, applied for grants, and reached out to organizations supporting education across the state. After six months of hard work, her efforts were a success, and Go For Launch! Nogales was created!
Her dedication and passion for fostering educational opportunities has opened doors to a world of STEM possibilities for her peers. Emboldened by her passions, Yuridia Sanchez has proven that one person's commitment can spark a positive change that resonates throughout an entire community.
“They can reach the stars if they want to,” Sanchez commented on her peers in Nogales. “They can reach anything they want to. There's not a boundary on them. My goal is for them to know that if they want to do something, there's a way for them to do it, and that this is their way to get started. This is my way of telling them this is possible. Don't give up on your dreams. You can do it!”
The world of STEM is powerful and inspirational with so many opportunities for students. Yuridia Sanchez is just one student. Yet, she undertook a massive project for the sake of STEM growth and for her community. Because of this, her community and her peers will get to access incredible resources and be encouraged that they too can be a part of the STEM industry. Thank you, Yuridia Sanchez, for your incredible efforts!