Westford Teenager Represents New England in Global Science Camp
Westford Academy's Erin Shaughnessy joined 253 other teenagers from around the world in an exploration of science at Honywell's Leadership Challenge Academy last month.
About a month ago, one Westford Academy student got a chance to join with 253 gifted teenagers from across the world at Honeywell’s Leadership Challenge Academy.
16 year old Erin Shaughnessy was the only New England representative in the one week experience subjecting children of Honeywell employees to different forms of science at the U.S Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, AL.
Once there, Shaughnessy teamed up with a dozen other students from other parts of the U.S, Canada, and Europe in a exploration of various science projects such as building a thermal protection system, extracting the DNA of fruit, and building and testing a rocket.
“We got to taste a lot of different topics and we had discussions about a lot of controversial things,” she said. “But everyone was really open to new ideas and was very polite. I think we connected very well.”
The trip was the first Shaughnessy’s made on her own, but her love of science helped the acclimation process.
“I was very nervous at first, it definitely would have been different if I had been going with friends, but I had never even been to summer camp before,” she said. “It was definitely a different experience, but I think we were all taken out of our comfort zone. It was hard at first, but I definitely got used to it.”
The program, now in its second year, has awarded 630 scholarships like these to students passing application essays and meeting certain requirements in the fields of academic achievement and community involvement.
For Shaughnessy, the experience was more rewarding than normal science classes she faces in school, even if it didn’t bring an epiphany over deciding to pursue a career in a particular field of science. However, even though she enjoys the more hands on approach of the camp, she returns to Westford with a renewed passion for her favorite subject.
“I think it was a more effective way of learning down there since we weren’t teaching to a test, but I think it actually made me more engaged in school because now I know what I’m learning will be relevant to future careers,” she said.
More information on the program is available at the Honeywell website.