Student Participates in Summer STEM Program, Meets World Acclaimed Inventors, Scientists

While most students spend their summer lounging by the pool, junior Rhiannon Roberts spends hers at the National Academy of Future Science and Technology Leaders conference in Boston, Massachusetts.
“I got a letter in the mail from the academy inviting me and that was the first time I had ever heard of them,” Roberts said. “My mom and I did some research and decided on a payment plan.”
Roberts has now attended the conference twice.
“I got invited the beginning of my freshman year and went that summer,” Roberts said. “Then I got invited back as an alumna this past summer.”
To be nominated, Roberts had to maintain a 3.5 grade point average (GPA) and be nominated by a teacher or another adult.
“The letter that I received said that I had been nominated by someone, but I have no idea who,” Roberts said. “It also included that the reason I was noticed was because of my outstanding grades and achievements over the years.”
The conference, nicknamed “the Congress” by the director, Richard Rossi, consists of an array of speakers. These speakers include Google Science Fair winners, Nobel Peace Prize winners and prominent inventors.
“[The speakers] told us their story of how they became who they are today or how they achieved their goals,” Roberts said. “They gave us advice about how it’s okay to make mistakes, start over, and sometimes not even know what you want to do or how to get to where you want to be. During [breaks] we had a chance to meet the speakers one on one, ask them questions, take a picture and get their autograph.”
Before she attended the conference for the first time, Roberts said she was nervous and did not know what to expect.