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Bringing STEAM To My Community

Updated: Oct 27, 2018

During my sophomore year of high school, I was presented with an opportunity to become involved in the VA STEAM Academy. Ms. Judy Stewart a founder of the organization, approached me and asked if I would be willing to give a speech explaining the merits of the summer camp that I experienced both as a camper in the summer of 2014 and as a citizen leader (counselor) in the summer 2015. The camp was an enlightening experience that I wanted many other students in my community to carry with them for the rest of their lives.

Ms. Stewart asked me to give my speech at a meeting between VA Steam and Shenandoah University because, in order to offer an all-girls summer camp in my hometown of Winchester, VA, they needed that local University to allow them to use their facilities. I was given the opportunity to be a factor in this decision, and I wanted to make a difference. I knew this was my chance to allow many other students like me to have the same enriching experience that I had, but I was still very nervous. I wrote my speech and edited it continually. I was excited about this opportunity, but I saw myself as just a teenager. I didn’t think that this group of professional men and women would take into account the thoughts and words of a young girl like me. I decided that I would give the best speech that I possibly could regardless of the outcome. I knew that a princess would fight for what she believed in, and I believed in giving other students an opportunity to enjoy Virginia STEAM Academy’s camp. I was proud of it by the end and, as I walked into the Harry F. Byrd Business School at Shenandoah University, I was ready to share my experiences. It was nerve-wracking to speak in front of so many people who were older than me but, in the end, my speech was well received. Several days later, I found out that Shenandoah University had agreed to offer their facilities to Virginia STEAM, and I couldn’t help but feel very happy to have been a part of their decision-making process. I know that I played a small part in the happiness of each of the girls who attended the camp that summer.

Read about my effort - Pay It Forward: Suditi Shyamsunder

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