By: Kiana Maria
“To command is to serve, nothing more and nothing less.” - Andre Malraux
Being a flight commander in a military program comes with responsibility and a lot of work. However, fifteen-year-old Alondra Rosas strives for the stars when it comes to her assignments. This amazing young woman from New Jersey is one who will dazzle the sky. She is dedicated to a program called Civil Air Patrol, CAP for short. During the pandemic, she has even worked with her family to make hundreds of masks. She is also a Steminist and loves woodworking. Alondra is also taking part in her school’s apprenticeship for manufacturing and design. Read more on our girl in uniform.
Her sister was a part of the Civil Air Patrol and before Alondra could join, she would attend the weekly meetings at the age of ten. She was officially a part of it two years ago. Throughout the program, she told us she has, “...gone to encampment which is a military boot camp style week-long activity which takes place on the Air Force base in NJ. I’ve volunteered at air shows both on and off base to help out and ensure the safety of those attending. I have also attended the North East Regional Cadet Leadership School which aims to educate officers (higher-ranking cadets) in leadership, professionalism, courtesies, e.t.c. Lastly, since CAP is a part of the Air Force, we were called upon to assist in disaster relief for the COVID-19 pandemic. Although these missions included helping at food banks, helping at testing sites, and demobilizing the testing sites I was unfortunately too young to participate. Instead, I participated in the at-home mask sewing mission.” CAP is, “a civilian auxiliary of the Air Force that offers adolescents and adults the opportunity to learn skills in leadership, aerospace, and emergency services. We hold many of the Air Force’s core values and provide a military-based experience without actually enlisting in the military.” Alondra and many others have taken time out of their lives to give back to the community!
CAP gave her a learning experience and motivated her. In this program, she is a Cadet Flight Commander of her squadron. When asked about being a commander she said, “I am entrusted with prospective cadets and the new cadets who join our squadron. I teach them specifics about the program, basic drill, the core values, and help them ease into the squadron. It’s a really fun thing to do because, in the process of the cadets learning about the program, I learn about the cadets as individuals to try and make their time in the program easier and more enjoyable.” She knows the difficulty and responsibility of the job and does what she can to make sure newcomers feel welcome. She told us about what she has learned from the program and stated, “Being a part of CAP is being a part of something bigger. Since this program is nationwide, I have met so many amazing people with the same love I have for this program. On top of that, the program has taught me discipline, how to manage my responsibilities, and create a routine. Lastly, CAP has given me a second family, outside of my day to day life. The memories and experiences I have created with my peers are ones I will always hold close to my heart, as cheesy as that sounds…” Not cheesy at all! It is so important to learn those lessons early in life because of the substantial difference they will make in adulthood.
She and her family have made over 500 masks for children and adults since the end of March. When asked about this experience she said, “From cutting the materials to marking the pleats to finally sewing the masks together, it can be a very time-consuming task. However, it is a very fulfilling mission to be a part of. Since the masks are made through CAP they are all donated to those in need such as essential workers and immunocompromised patients. When the pandemic hit hard in NJ I was thankfully one of the few who were not so severely impacted by all of the new restrictions or conditions in the state. So this mission was, to me, a way to give back and do my part to help during a pandemic. Even if it may just be a little thing, being able to help meant a great deal to my family and I. On the days where it was getting to be a bit too much I would just jokingly say to myself, ‘for the doctors, nurses, and all essential workers, just do your part.’ It did help to keep me motivated, especially when school work piled up on top. On top of that, I also had a very good line of communication with the commanding officer for the mission which made receiving the materials and handing off the completed masks 100x easier.” It’s amazing to see how much she’s accomplished. Alondra has made a huge impact on herself, and the world around her!
When it comes to education and learning, Alondra pushes through with both eagerness and strength. This Summer she was accepted into her school’s Design and Fabrication Apprenticeship. When questioned about the apprenticeship, she said, “The D-FAB ExPand Pre-Apprenticeship program was a welcome surprise to me when it was first announced. I’m asked a lot what I want to do as a career, especially now as a rising junior. I know many people don’t mean any pressure behind that question but there is an underlying message that by this age we’re supposed to have our lives planned out...”
She goes on to tell us that, “...upon being accepted into the D-FAB major at High Tech I grew to be interested in woodwork. It is a very hands-on job that intrigues me. There are so many things that you can do with wood, the possibilities are endless if you can conjure up some ideas. So after taking Wood Tech I freshman year, then Wood Tech II as a sophomore I chose Wood Tech as my major for my Junior year. I knew it would be fun and I was super excited. Then when I heard about the Pre-Apprenticeship program my interest seriously piqued. I read through the flyers attached to the emails and the information provided about the program and decided to apply. This program would help further my education in the manufacturing industry by partnering with companies such as Eastern Millworks. This program also seemed like a good way for me to still enjoy and do woodworking while also learning skills outside of the trade which could be transferred over to other jobs in the future. All in all, I thought of the ExPand program as an opportunity to find my career path and grow through the experiences while enrolled in it.” Alondra will do everything she can to do what she wants, and that is truly inspiring. Due to the pandemic, it has been postponed until the Fall. She has also begun taking Pre-Calculus virtually this Summer. Which means she will be among a few taking Calculus next year as a Junior.
Being a young Latina woman, struggles and obstacles are sure to pass by. Despite that, Alondra pushes through each one with elegance and poise. Her advice for young Latinas trying to pursue a career in STEM would be, “The best piece of advice I can provide to anybody is to push yourself. If you cannot push yourself to do things that will help you in the long run or even short term, what good is it to have others push you? Even though the struggle and work you put in now may seem grueling, as you grow older you’ll be thankful for the work ethic that you have instilled in yourself. What you learn as an adolescent and how you deal with struggles now will help you with the struggles you may face going into the STEM field.” How wonderfully said! It’s that determination and tenacity in her advice that so many people need to hear.
Alondra Rosas is an amazing role model for young girls and boys everywhere. Whether it be taking extra math classes in the morning, or making masks, she is ready for anything! In the future, she wishes to be, either a lawyer or someone in the manufacturing industry, however, she still wants to figure out her paths. Alondra is what Gen Z is all about, helping out the community, and doing what they want to. We can’t wait to see where her path leads her!