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Inaugural Class of National STEM Youth Ambassador Program Includes W.J. Keenan Freshman MacKenzie Glover

MacKenzie GloverW.J. Keenan High School ninth-grader MacKenzie Glover is part of the inaugural youth-led Flight Crew of the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) Next Opportunity Fund’s Million Girls Moonshot. She is one of 16 STEM ambassadors between the ages of 13-18 chosen from across the nation to support the mission of the Million Girls Moonshot, a STEM equity initiative which collaborates with a coalition of partners to engage one million girls in afterschool and summer STEM learning opportunities by 2025.

“With our Million Girls Moonshot, we firmly believe elevating youth voices is an irrefutable part of creating equity for young girls in STEM. The Flight Crew gives young people a platform to tell their stories and play an active role in guiding the national conversation around equity in STEM,” said Teresa Drew, deputy director of STEM Next and director of the Million Girls Moonshot.

The youth advocates were chosen because of their demonstrated commitment to creating equity for girls in STEM through elevating youth voices and inspiring their peers and fellow future STEM leaders.

What began with 10 years in the Girls Scouts and five years in the 4-H Club has evolved into a love for engineering, said MacKenzie.

“Every single year, my interest for STEM has increased, and this passion has shaped me as the person I am today,” she said. “I hope to definitely become an engineer and just inspire a younger generation to join the same field.”

MacKenzie was initially introduced to the field of engineering by a relative.

“My uncle is an engineer, so as I was growing up, I learned from him and watched him do his job,” said MacKenzie. “It inspired me to become an engineer, and I also wanted to become the first female engineer in our family. He’s our first male engineer.”

She continues to enhance her STEM skills as a member of Keenan’s Robotics Team and the Engineering Live afterschool program.

“It’s helped my problem-solving skills because I’ve learned to look at things from an engineering mindset,” said MacKenzie. “That’s definitely helped with school and just different problems overall.”

W.J. Keenan math teacher Charu Bakshi said she taught MacKenzie math last semester, where her problem-solving skills shone through.

“Occasionally issues would arise in which MacKenzie would be able to find solutions and regroup in order to meet the goals she originally set for herself and her classmates. She enjoys hands on activities and that was the reason she could easily connect math with her engineering class,” said Bakshi. “I can state with confidence that MacKenzie is a motivated student and dedicated worker with impressive academic skills.”

MacKenzie will employ those skills as a Flight Crew member, actively involved in the Moonshot’s advocacy efforts as youth ambassadors. She and the others will participate in six months of virtual programming to hone their leadership and advocacy skills, using their own experiences from afterschool STEM learning. To learn these skills, the Flight Crew will offer participants leadership development opportunities, public speaking experience, resume and interview coaching, access to scholarships and internships and mentor connections.

In addition to her STEM activities, MacKenzie is a member of student council and the mock trial and soccer teams at her school. She also plays the double bass, and she taught herself to play the piano.