Harford youth among 44 awarded scholarships across the country
Nine members of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Harford and Cecil Counties were among the 44 youth selected from across the country as Hank Aaron Scholars.
Hank Aaron Scholars, members of Boys & Girls Clubs between the ages 10-16, receive a scholarship of up to $3,500 to attend a summer camp to develop a skill or talent in a variety of areas including STEM (science, technology, engineering and math).
Boys & Girls Clubs of Harford and Cecil Counties scholarship recipients participated in summer camps this year as varied as 3D printing at American University in Washington, D.C., to sea turtle camp in Surf City, N.C., to Advanced Space Academy at Space Camp in Huntsville, Ala.
Advanced Space Academy is where Kylah Cain-Ward, a Hank Aaron Scholar for the past three years, spent a week in late August. She is a member of the Boys & Girls Club in Edgewood and attends Edgewood High School’s International Baccalaureate program. She has been an active member of the Boys & Girls Clubs for six years and participates in STEM programs and competitions.
At Advanced Space Academy, which focused on how astronauts prepare for space, Cain-Ward and her fellow 16 team members participated in three simulated missions. The first and second orbited the Earth and moon, and the third traveled to Mars.
Among the highlights for Cain-Ward were landing the shuttle during the second mission, being in a G-force simulator and in a multi-axis trainer as well as piloting a jet in a flight simulator.
As a result of her excellent work, Cain-Ward was selected commander of the second mission, and her team won the Commander’s Cup as the best Advanced Space Academy team during her week in Huntsville.
“It was a wonderful and enriching experience,” Cain-Ward said. “Not only the program but the people you meet with the same drive and passion for learning that you have is very refreshing and inspiring.”
Last year at Space Camp she was part of the Aviation Challenge, which focused on military and fighter jets and being a pilot. Her first year at Space Camp was spent at the Space and Rocket Center, focusing on rockets and outer space.
“Usually when you think of STEM, you think of medicine, engineering. Space Camp exposes you to a different idea,” she said. “It was a wonderful opportunity to enrich your mind and try new things and be a part of something that will further you in academic pursuits.”
Other Hank Aaron Scholars from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Harford and Cecil Counties participated in mind-enriching experiences this summer:
Hailey Forrester, a member of the Aberdeen Club, and De’Nez Johnson, from the Havre de Grace Club, attended a 3D printing camp at American University.
Molly Jurch, from the Bel Air Club, participated in a sea turtle camp at the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center in Surf City, N.C.
Owen Jurch, also from the Bel Air Club, attended the National Student Leadership Conference Engineering Camp at American University.
Desmond McAllister, from the Edgewood Club, participated in a civil, environmental and construction engineering residential workshop at North Carolina State University.
Lesley Mengle, from the Bel Air Club, participated in the Virginia Space Flight Academy at Wallops Island, Va.
Kevin Osei-Boateng, a member of the Bel Air Club, attended cybersecurity camp at George Washington University.
Marie Webb, of the Havre de Grace Club, attended the Blueprint Forensic Science Camp at the University of Virginia.
Students apply for the summer scholarship starting the September of the previous year. They complete an application and secure letters of recommendation from their teachers and club staff.
“We are so proud of all the Hank Aaron Scholars from our clubs in Harford County,” said Sara Peterson, director of STEAM education for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Harford and Cecil Counties. “Club members experienced incredible opportunities over the summer to follow their dreams by studying in-depth a variety of STEM topics from cybersecurity to engineering to space, 3D printing and more. The Hank Aaron Scholars program demonstrates concretely how by providing our members with the opportunity to achieve more, they do.”
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Harford and Cecil Counties serve more than 7,500 youth annually. The Club’s mission is to inspire and enable all young people to reach their full potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens. The Club works to unlock the potential for children to become thriving members of their community by providing them with the opportunity to achieve more. For more information, visit bgcharfordcecil.org.