Local teen hears from science leaders at summer STEM event

Wanting to go into the medical field — the goal is to become a cardiologist — 16-year-old Amanda Koons wasn’t quite sure what she’d get out of attending the Congress of Future Science and Technology Leaders event in Massachusetts. But she returned home with a new drive.

Koons, who is going into her junior year at Nelson County High School, attended the event in Lowell, Mass., June 29-July 1, which recognizes achievement and student interest in science, technology, engineering and math. While attending the event, she socialized with others her age interested in science and medicine and listened to speakers from related fields. Her favorite speaker was Jack Andraka, a teen prodigy known for his development of a new way to detect pancreatic cancer.

“He was especially inspiring because of his age,” Koons said, adding that most of the speakers at the event inspired attendees to continue pursuing their goals. “They really wanted us to get the message that people are going to tell you ‘no,’ people are going to turn you down, but you need to keep focused.”