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!
Written by: Kiana Maria
Madison Huff is sixteen years old and she resides in New Jersey. She is a singer and she is also a woman trying to pursue her dreams in the STEM Field. She has talent, perspective, and so much more. She gives back to her community, and she even helped conserve water at her old middle school. She has so many brilliant ideas, and with the perseverance and strength that she has, there is no stopping this sensation!
Madison has been singing for many years. When asked how she got started she said, “I have a really musical family, and I’ve been singing for as long as I can remember! So I wouldn’t really say anything got me into singing, rather it’s just been a part of my life forever.” She has utilized social media as a way to get her talent out there. She has done numerous competitions and open mics as well. To listen to her, go check out @maddie.music_ on Instagram. She also performs with a group called Manasquan Music and Dance Academy. Their Instagram is @mmdacademy.
The STEM Field is a predominantly male field, however, Madison is quite fond of it, and strives past the stereotypes. “My brother was interested in STEM, and we did a lot of cool projects in my middle school science class. Those two things combined made me interested in STEM as a whole. Once I looked into everything I was able to find the individual factors of it that I liked the best.”
Being the bright young woman that she is, she persisted. In the Summer of 2017, Madison was 1 of 60 girls in the Northeast area chosen to attend the AAUW’s annual all-girl Summer camp called Tech Trek. It took place at Stockton University in Galloway, NJ. At the camp, the girls learned very great skills that’d benefit them when they went after their career to be in the STEM field. She claimed that the best thing she learned from that experience was “Tech Trek really helped me learn what type of science I wanted to explore. I’ve always had a passion for the environment, but never really looked into what went into being an environmentalist in depth before Tech Trek introduced me to water conservation through the class, ‘Our Water.’ I will always be thankful that I attended Tech Trek because I gained a lot of valuable experience and knowledge.” To go check out more about Tech Trek visit: https://aauw-nj.aauw.net/
In her main class that the program offered, she was to make a water barrel to help conserve water. She could have done whatever she wanted with it, and what she did is truly inspiring. She said, “We created water barrels at this summer camp I went to called Tech Trek to learn about water conservation. We then were told that once we created it, we could do whatever we wanted with it. I thought it would be a good idea to donate it to my school’s garden so the community could use it, and in turn, more water would be recycled and conserved.”
Her advice to young female readers who wish to follow in a STEM career is, “I think that young women should not be afraid to try new things and go for what you want. If you’re interested in STEM, but don’t know if you’ll fit in with the status quo, just go for it. Doing what you love and what you’re interested in will provide you with a happier life and a more prosperous future.”
This singing sensation/science lover is someone to aspire to be. She will bring everything needed to the plate in such a male-dominated field. In her future, she aspires to be a sustainability scientist. She said, “When I get older, I would like to be a sustainability scientist. Sustainability science is a relatively new field that focuses on the interactions between humans, the environment, and engineering systems to help solve the world's climate and general environmental problems.” We need more steminists like Madison, and voices like hers are exactly what’ll change the world!
Feature by: Kiana Maria
Baking is an art that requires precision, creativity, and most importantly, skill. Jordyn Weathers, the founder and creator of The Mystic Whisk, has shown people that baking is not just a hobby. She can bake macarons, cakes, and so much more! This sixteen-year-old baking guru from New Jersey has turned her baking into a way to be an activist. This year she participated in the Bakers Against Racism Bake Sale which worked with the Innocence Project. Her success and her voice are continuing to show everyone that baking goes beyond the Easy-Bake Oven.
Jordyn began baking two years ago in March. At her high school, she is a part of the Culinary Major, a group of students who want to pursue a career in cooking. She got involved with culinary arts at an early age: “My passion for culinary in general came from spending my childhood in the kitchen with my grandmother, but after some years I wanted to try something new. I hadn’t done much baking, but I remember watching a bunch of cake decorating videos online and [being[ so intrigued. I made my first cake in 2018, and my passion for baking blossomed from there!”
In late May of 2020, she debuted her baking to the world by making an Instagram account for her new business called The Mystic Whisk. She told us how she got the name: “When I decided to start a real business, I knew I wanted to have a unique name that was catchy enough for people to remember. I didn’t want it to be something like “Cakes by Jordyn” or “Treats by Jordyn” so I put my mind to work to think of a brand name that hasn’t been thought of before. After a lot of research, The Mystic Whisk came about and I thought it was the perfect fit.” It is truly a perfect fit for someone who is as sweet as her treats! Orders are available through her Instagram which is @themysticwhisk. Further talking about her business she said, “I started off making cakes and found that I actually enjoyed it a lot. Eventually, family friends would start asking me to bake for them, and I decided that I had the potential to start my own business.”
Racism has been an issue for hundreds of years. Gen Z has shown an overflowing amount of support and help for the communities hurting most. Jordyn has definitely been a part of the millions of supporters in the end to racism. In June of this year, she worked with the Innocence Project and participated in The Bakers Against Racism Bake Sale. She described, “Bakers Against Racism is a global bake sale that supports the BLM movement. It was organized by three chefs to encourage bakers around the world to hold their own bake sales in which their proceeds are donated to organizations that support black lives. So far bakers across all five continents have raised a total amount of over $1.8 million, and that amount continues to grow every day. As part of the bake sale, I was able to raise $900 towards the Innocence Project!”
Between baking at school, to creating her own baking business, Jordyn is ready to whisk up anything that comes her way! In the future she wishes to bake “creme brûlée, ice cream cake, and macarons.” She shows young bakers and culinary artists just how rewarding her work is. She explains, “My favorite part of baking might be everything towards the end. I really enjoy decorating and working on the presentation of my desserts. I also love the feeling I get when I finally get to see the finished product or even when customers see how their order came out. That feeling of accomplishment is amazing and it’s what keeps motivated on my baking journey.” Be sure to check out The Mystic Whisk on Instagram.
Feature by: Izayah Edwards
Monna Wei is the co-founder, creative director, and public relations manager of Care to Cure. This fifteen year old, jack of all trades, is a current high school student at the University of Toronto. When Monna has free time, she enjoys drawing, dancing, and participating in artistic events.
Care to Cure focuses on raising funds for research on DIPG and educating the public on the condition. When asked what the mission was behind Care to Cure, Mona responded, “Our mission is to be able to give every DIPG patient a chance at life beyond the tumour, and to eradicate DIPG.” She then proceeded to go into further depth on the condition, “DIPG stands for diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, and it is a pediatric neurological cancer occuring in the brain pons that spreads out in a butterfly form, therefore making it impossible to operate on. Due to its quickness of spreading, DIPG patients tend to only live up to two years, with a less than one percent chance survival rate within the first five years.”
Monna Wei plans on continuing Care to Cure and its mission for as long as she can. She wants to establish a stable budget that can give the organization a broader reach: “I will be eternally grateful if we have enough to make a visible difference in childrens' lives in the next few years.” As far as the future, Monna hopes that Care to Cure can become a chartered non-profit organization. This would help the organization secure sponsors. Monna also hopes that Care to Cure can reach the United States, as it has more cases of DIPG than Canada does.
The Coronavirus pandemic has sadly put on hold a large event Care to Cure had organized for the month of May. However, Monna and her team are persevering amidst the uncertainty. Holding meetings frequently, Care to Cure is seeking ways to keep their audience engaged. Care to Cure is actively seeking collaborations with other organizations and sponsorships that can build their reach.
When asked how others could help contribute to this organization, Monna responded with, “It is hard to ask for unconditional support during this time of the pandemic as it is fully others' rights to focus on donating toward pandemic-related causes, therefore we cannot directly ask for funding.” She follows up with, “However, I hope people can participate in our future online activities and raise awareness for us to shine more light on this issue. Shoutouts, engaging with us on our posts, or doing something we might ask for to support us or someone else would be very appreciated.”