16-year-old Jacqueline Means, a.k.a. “STEM Queen,” created a nonprofit to get underprivileged girls in her community involved in STEM.
“I’ve always had a passion for S.T.E.M. I want to be a neurosurgeon when I get older,” she explained. “I’ve always felt that I love science and maybe I can share that love of science with other girls.”
Mean’s hometown of Wilmington, Delaware has been called “Murder Town USA” because it’s one of the most dangerous small cities in America.
“I live in a part of Wilmington that’s called Southbridge. And it’s an especially bad part of Wilmington, just because there is so much poverty and just so much crime going on in the area,” she said. “My mom has always told my brother and I that the only way to better your situation is to do it yourself.”
At 13, Means founded the Wilmington Urban STEM Initiative, a nonprofit that hosts STEM workshops for girls in her community and connects students to influential women. She says she works hard to maintain her 4.0 GPA and wants to defy stereotypes in her community as a successful Black girl pursuing science.
“Myself, coming for Southbridge, you’d think that I would have bad grades, that I wouldn’t even think about giving back to community,” she said. “But I’m the absolute opposite.”