Testimonials | Molly Simpson
I became a "woman" on October 31st of 2013. Mrs. Jennifer Carter, my favorite teacher and the creator of SpaceTrek, told me that I was not officially a woman until I learned how to solder. And then I learned that you weren't a "lady" until you had yourself some pink safety goggles. So already, thanks to the world of engineering, I am both a woman and a lady, and if that's not a deal, I don't know what is.
Mrs. Carter took me and 3 others to the Kentucky Science Teacher Association meeting held in Lexington at Rupp Arena from October 31st to November 1st of 2013. We were there to promote SpaceTrek to teachers who would then, hopefully, promote it to their female students. Now, understand that prior to this conference, I had never heard of SpaceTrek, I had no interest in space science, and engineering was a door that I had never bothered to unlock, but at the end of trip I was ready to fill in my application for SpaceTrek and sign up for pulsar research classes just because they sounded fun. One of the qualities I hope to gain from SpaceTrek is an open-minded and positive attitude towards challenge. While I still don't plan on going into this field, I do plan on taking these courses because they push boundaries in an exciting way. More importantly, they sound like a challenge.
I now realize that I haven't fully explained what SpaceTrek actually is. Very simply, it is a space science camp that promotes female empowerment. But it's not just about space; it's about teaching young women that they can be a professional woman in her job, but also physically, mentally, and emotionally. The ultimate goal of the program is to break down the "I can't" mentality among girls. When faced with a challenge in today's environment, most people, girls especially, reply with the knee-jerk reaction of, "Are you crazy? I can't do that."
For example, on Monday, March 31st, 2014, Mrs. Carter took me and 3 others on an excursion to RA Jones Middle School in Florence, KY for a STEM expo to promote SpaceTrek to the 7th and 8th grade girls there. When I explained the task that they would be given at SpaceTrek, the majority of them said that they couldn't do it. Where did our confidence go? When did our girls start telling themselves that they couldn't do what they dreamt of doing? Why did they even listen to that nonsense in the first place? When did our willpower escape, and why haven't we tried to get it back? At SpaceTrek, I don't even have to hope that confidence in my abilities will be restored because I already know that it will be.
I think, of the two promotional activities we have done, the STEM expo was my favorite. Getting to inspire girls with the "I can" mentality was an amazing experience for me. The more I spoke, the more I noticed their eyes start to open and I could just see little doors starting to unlock themselves. That, ultimately, is what I hope to gain from SpaceTrek. I hope to gain a confidence that I didn't know was there. I hope that someone will be able to watch me as doors open behind my eyes. I look forward to being able to walk away with a feeling of refreshing empowerment. I look forward to saying, "I did that. Now watch me do more." And that is what SpaceTrek is all about.