May 23, 2023

Sophie’s Initial Thoughts on Australia

Still fresh off from my memory…I was sitting in front of my computer while waiting with bated breath the out-of-this-world news that I would be among 1 of 5 to have the incredible opportunity to attend the International School of Science in Australia– back in March! 

The days of anticipation finally culminated into an outburst of excitement as I heard my name being called as among the students who will be representing Higher Orbits and the American contingent for this amazing gathering of some of the most promising STEM scholars from all over the world! I was so excited that I totally forgot about my fear of the infamous Australian spiders for one hot second!! But as soon as I found out, I was ready to go-for-launch down under despite the thought of a really challenging time change and enormous spiders that I often see on Discovery Channel. 

But beyond the creepy crawlies, I am counting down the days until ISS 2023! I  feel so fortunate to have this opportunity to learn alongside my fellow Higher Orbits teammates, Stella Rustic, Brianna Ortiz, Keira Fehr, and Amrita Singh from what Miss Michelle has said to be some of incredible professors and lecturers at the University of Sydney which will be hosting us. I cannot wait to delve into this amazing experience that promises to be an amazing learning adventure in a continent I’ve never been to yet! True to Higher Orbits’ motto, space does not only inspire, it literally takes us to places that inspire our passion for STEM in many extraordinary ways. 

As someone who loves to go hands-on, I cannot wait to fully immerse myself in the lectures, labs, and activities that we will get to do at the University! I’m also quiet ready to explore all around Sydney and meeting new friends from different parts of the world! (I’ve heard about social nights and dance floors, so maybe I should say dancing my way across Sydney!

I hope Australia is ready for us because I sure am ready to do some exploration of this amazing country and hopefully, sprinkle our love for all things space in the land down under! 

About the author

Sophia Crowder – is a Student Ambassador for Higher Orbits, a STEMflights aviation scholar, a Space Coast Scholar of the Virginia Space Grant Consortium/NASA-Wallops, & founder of a girl-empowering initiative, #ItGirls. Sophie aspires to inspire the next generation of STEMists, Innovators, and Space Explorers with her work and advocacy. Her biggest aspiration is to be an innovator for the space program as an engineer and test pilot! Aside from STEM, Sophie is also an avid musician (she plays the violin and guitar), a trained fencer and martial artist, and a multi-awarded essayist, speaker, and student leader. She is a staunch advocate for gender equity and serves as a board member for Être Girls, as well as founded an initiative (ItGirls) to help empower other girls to pursue non-traditional career pathways such as those in IT & STEM. She is 16 years old

Sophie Crowder

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