“Hi my name is Amanda Grace! I’m 14 years old I was born in Chicago, Illinois in the USA. I now live in a small suburb about an hour southwest of downtown Chicago. I speak English and Spanish, and I enjoy running, skateboarding, playing piano, painting, singing, reading and my education. I aspire to be an astrophysicist, aerospace engineer, pilot, and NASA astronaut.
Some of my first memories include being a little girl with a special connection with the stars. There was just something about the night sky that I couldn’t explain. I remember learning about the solar system for the very first time at my elementary school. My favorite planet was (and still is) Saturn because of it’s beautiful rings and interesting moons. Every question I asked in class led to another question, and I was never tired of learning. But, being an elementary level science class, they taught us very little about space, so I began to take things into my own hands by doing research and reading books by myself.
I originally started to have a profound interest in spaceflight, aviation, and engineering in 8th grade. This was because I launched my first rocket in my 8th grade science class, and that was the very first time I was ever exposed to rocketry. My group’s rocket was nothing impressive of course. It was made out of cardboard and all we did to decorate it was slap a bunch of paint on it, but little did we know that the launch would be extremely successful. My group’s rocket stayed in the air for such a long time! I can’t recall all the details, but I believe our rocket stayed in the air the longest out of all our classmates. The parachute deployed seamlessly and our rocket stayed intact. Now that was AWESOME.
After all the 8th graders launched their rockets, we all gathered in one of the science classroom to watch a movie called October Sky. The movie is based on a true story about a teenager named Homer Hickam. Homer’s father is a coal miner that expects his sons to follow in his footsteps. But instead, Homer develops an interest in science and rocketry when he sees the satellite Sputnik streak across the night sky. Homer begins building rockets with the help of some friends and a sympathetic teacher. He then plans to enter a science fair to receive a scholarship. I’ll save you the rest of the details if you haven’t seen the movie, but Homer Hickam eventually became a NASA engineer and an astronaut trainer. The movie inspired and motivated mainly because it was based on a teenager who was made fun of and bullied for his interests, but always kept his eyes focused on what he really wanted. Hickam made the effort to accomplish his goals and dreams whilst facing many challenges.
After this, my knowledge of space and spaceflight literally “skyrocketed” (see what I did there?). I spent endless amounts of time nose deep in books and frantically taking notes about each one. The more information I took in, the more interesting everything became, and the more questions I asked.
I still remember the day that I decided I wanted to work toward my goal of becoming an astronaut. I don’t know if you’ve ever thought about this, but there are thousands of other worlds out there- worlds that are much different from Earth and that each have stories and incredible scientific discoveries at their fingertips. Just imagining to step on another planet and knowing that the ingredients for life are just as common as the stars above our heads is mind-boggling and amazing at the same time. I mean, who knows what else is up there? Whenever I take a few moments to just sit back and look up, I’m constantly reminded of how small we are. Notice how I didn’t say “how insignificant we are.” There’s a difference between the two, and I am honestly bothered when people view us insignificant. I know that humans have some sort of purpose, there has to be and it’s no mistake that we are here. Why else would the Universe have so much to offer? So much to learn and discover? We’re here to ask questions and find answers, and that’s exactly what I want to be a part of. I want to be a scientist, an engineer, a pilot, an astronaut. I mean, we get to wake up every single day and learn something new- and if that doesn’t make you feel special, I don’t know what will.
I believe that it’s my determination, education, and desire to learn in general that will get me to where I want to be. But the journey I’ve begun and the people I will meet along the way is the most important thing of all and those will be the moments I will cherish the most. I have already made amazing friends online from all around the world. In fact, we all plan to meet someday. I have friends from Europe to Africa, and even people all the way in Australia! These are people who all share the same views and interests as me, and I think that’s incredible! The coolest part is that most of us are around the same age and to think that someday in the future we could be working together is awesome! Can you imagine working with your one of your best friends that you met online when you were only a teenager? How cool is that?! Even if I don’t accomplish my main goal of becoming an astronaut, I will always look back at the relationships and opportunities I was rewarded with and be very grateful for them all. It’s all about the journey my friends.
If there is one thing you should take from this, is that it’s all about trying new things, taking your education into your own hands, and gaining confidence even if it’s scary at first. Embracing the things you are passionate about and setting small goals for yourself as well as accomplishing them will make you feel great about yourself. Build your goals into bigger ones and before you know it you’ll be on top of the world. Always remember that it’s your passions, intelligence and good heart that make you successful and beautiful.
I am currently a sophomore in high school, taking advanced science and engineering courses. This year I’m starting flight school and plan to join Robotics Team, Speech Team, Sound/Lighting Crew for Drama Club, Engineering Club, the Civil Air Patrol, Track, and FUSIoN. I am a group leader for Fusion which is a group for middle school girls to Find Unity, Self Esteem, Inner Strength and Overcome Negativity.”
Amanda Grace is an active and passionate New-Age Girl who is always in search of universal beauty through science! A true artist at heart, she also works hard to portray these visions through creative expression and design. An advocate for space exploration, creativity, and motivation, Amanda is always ready to spring into action to encourage a new generation to take on the problems of today!
You can follow her adventures on social media as shown below!