#Smiles: Lander teen selected as Wyoming’s representative in nationwide STEM ambassador program

    A series to share #smiles across our community through the achievements of our local youth, brought to you by Olsen Orthodontics.

    (Lander, WY) – The STEM Next Opportunity Fund recently announced in a press release the members of Million Girls Moonshot Flight Crew, a “youth ambassador program championing access to STEM learning opportunities in afterschool and summer for all youth across the nation.”

    Chosen as Wyoming’s sole representative in this year’s Flight Crew, was Lander Valley High School junior and Lights On In Lander class helper Ally Spiess.

    Spiess has been getting hands-on, classroom STEM teaching experience as a kindergarten aged classroom helper at Lights On in Lander since the start of the summer of 2023.

    Lights On is a Fremont County School District #1, school-based expanded services program that is “designed to provide quality extended day and summer programming to students in grades PreK–5th,” and utilizes STEM projects during the enrichment portion of each session with students.

    The STEM Next release goes on to say that Spies and other Flight Crew members “will elevate youth voices to break down stereotypes and spark their peers’ curiosity in STEM.”

    “These young leaders embody the Moonshot mission to engage millions more girls in STEM learning opportunities and inspire more youth to pursue a STEM career.”

    Launched in 2020, the Million Girls Moonshot “builds field capacity for afterschool and summer programs and educators to prepare students for a future fueled by science, technology, engineering, and math,” and provides eight months of leadership development and public speaking training.

    Spiess, who told County 10 that she plans on pursuing nursing or teaching, will now partake in monthly online training courses, and will even travel to San Diego in June for a weeklong program with her Flight Crew team to learn STEM projects and tools that she can bring back to teach her Lights On peers.

    “We look forward to learning from her as she engages with her peers across the country and grows her own knowledge and skills through the experience,” commented Michelle Sullivan, Wyoming Afterschool Alliance Director. “The Wyoming Afterschool Alliance is delighted to congratulate Ally and to have such a wonderful Wyoming representative on this year’s 2024 Flight Crew.”

    Spiess said her advice for any other younger kids who might be interested in STEM projects, is that Lights On is a great way to get their foot in the door. Lights On registration opens up after spring break in late March.

    Congratulations, Ally!

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