H/Student Excellence Award Winner: Elena Hume

Student Excellence Award Winner: Elena Hume

Elena’s introduction to science started with the Girl Scouts, where she developed a passion for engineering and contributing to the community.  She is currently a Girl Scout at the Ambassador level, and has achieved the Bronze Award, Silver Award, and Gold Award.  For her Girl Scout Gold Award project, she developed a new curriculum for the third grade biology unit in her former elementary school.  She designed and built countertop greenhouses for each classroom, and then taught a six week course on plant biology, human nutrition, and sustainable agriculture, while growing kale in the greenhouses. In the end, the third grade teachers were able to adopt Elena’s lessons into part of the science curriculum, so students will continue to benefit from her efforts. 

Elena is involved in many different activities and holds several leadership roles, including president of her school’s Science National Honor Society, president of Mu Alpha Theta (a math honors society), captain of Freedom High School’s swim team, and captain of her school’s academic, competing in Scholastic Scrimmage and Quiz Bowl tournaments.  Outside of schools, she plays softball for the Forks Thunder 18u Black Fastpitch team, and she also volunteers for St. Luke’s Hospital in the ambulatory surgery department.

Over the summer, Elena attended the Stevens Institute of Technology, where she participated in a program that focused on biomedical engineering.  She also attended the Summer Engineering Institute at Lehigh University, where she explored different disciplines of engineering through projects and college lectures.  Elena furthered her education at Lehigh University by taking a material science and engineering class through her high school’s honors program.  Through this class, she explored the ways in which materials are processed, manipulated, and designed to fit the parameters of different engineering situations.  Elena wants to pursue a career in engineering, and is very passionate about helping to create a brighter future for everyone.

In her own words…

“Through my experiences at different summer programs, I learned of a very common theme throughout the field of science and engineering: accessibility. Theoretically, many of the world’s problems can be solved with infinite resources, ideas, and cooperation with the communities they affect, but this is not the mechanics of our global function. People want problems solved in ways that are cheap, easy to use, and sustainable in their established lifestyles. Extravagant solutions are not always the best solutions, and over-engineering a product can eliminate its usefulness. It takes high global awareness and the desire to create positive change for effective, accessible and contextualized innovation to occur.”

“Science represents individual and cooperative initiatives towards the betterment of our world. It is more than just researching the presence of a problem, it is utilizing critical thinking and research to establish a sustainable solution. Science connects today’s society to the brighter future we seek. I want to pursue a career in engineering because it is how I feel I can maximize my positive contributions to my local and global communities.”

“In this time of extreme environmental stress, I believe that it is important for society to begin to build infrastructure with sustainability at the forefront of its design. My hope for the future of engineering is that architects, material scientists, and environmental scientists work closely with engineers of all disciplines in order to conceptualize buildings, transportation methods, and technology that reflect the increasing needs of the natural habitats that humans live in. Through a career in engineering, I want to contribute to a future where urban farming solutions are the normal standard of agriculture, windmills line the coasts of every nation, and the harsh environmental effects of suburban metropolitan areas are reduced by an emphasis on biking or bio-fueled public transit. Through science, I want to be a catalyst for technological change in society.”

Acceptance Speech


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