My name is Abi Youngker, I am currently a student ambassador for the non-profit organization called Higher Orbits. Higher Orbits holds a STEM based weekend camp called Go For Launch!, that gives students 8th – 12th grade the chance to have an experiment of their own design be sent to the International Space Station. There have been a total of eight student experiments conducted aboard the ISS through Higher Orbits’ program. And I am lucky enough to say that one of those eight was my 2017 teammates and I’s experiment.
When I Attended my first higher orbits camp, I had no idea what to expect. I was just a scared freshman who’s geometry teacher suggested going to this camp. I had no idea how much those three days would change my life. Not only did I make lifelong friends, but I found something I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I fell in love with the space Community, I fell in love with STEM. Yes, the amazing games, design challenges and brain twisters were incredible and I loved every second of them, this camp is more than just games and puzzles. Students have the opportunity to listen to lectures from former astronauts sit through presentations of people who are actually involved in the space community. Presentations and lectures like the ones I was able to listen and be a part of while attending go for lunch, have changed my life. I got to see what it’s like to have a job in the STEM fields. After my freshman year, I enrolled in engineering and STEM classes,I discovered I want to study aerospace engineering when I go to college in 2 years. None of this would have happened if it weren’t for this amazing program.
I’ve attended two more Go For Launch! camps since my freshman year of high school, and each one Ive left with a newfound appreciation for Science and Space. Watching my experiment get launch to International Space Station my first year with life-changing, but all the other years to follow were just as impactful. I wouldn’t be the person I am today if it wasn’t for higher orbits. And because of that I’ve pushed myself to try to be a great Ambassador for higher orbits and get kids involved in this program. I’ve been lucky enough to start a small platform on Instagram to inform people of social media what my life has been like since I attended my first camp.
Higher Orbits Go For Launch opened countless doors for me. It changed everything. I found what makes me happy, and what makes me excited for the future. It’s my wish that other kids can have this same feeling, the same excitement to learn and discover, the same Confidence there’s a field out there for them oh, there’s a whole world of people love and cherish the same things they do.
I encourage every parent of a child who loves science, every student who loves their engineering class or loves anything about space, to check out our Higher Orbits’ social medias. You can find them on Facebook Twitter Instagram and their brand new website www.higherorbits.org .
Written by Abigail Youngker, Go For Launch! Repeat Launcher