Wayne County High School student Lauren Antione recently received her certificate at school for participating as a delegate to the Congress of Future Science and Technology Leaders in Lowell, Massachusetts, this past summer.
Not only was the international conference a life-changing event for the 16-year-old, but it turned into a family project and extended trip for she and her mother, Lisa Antoine. In addition to attending the conference, they used their GPS to guide them to New York City where they saw the Statue of Liberty and 9/11 Museum, as well as and Washington D.C. where they saw the White House, in addition to touring educational sites in Massachusetts.
What sparked the cross-country trip was Lauren’s attendance at the Congress of Future Science and Technology, which is an honors-only program for high-school students passionate about science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM). Students must have a 3.5 grade point average or above to be nominated by a teacher. The program helps motivate students to reach for their dreams and realize they can become whatever they want to be through hard work.
Lauren said she was recommended to the program by her Wayne County Middle School Homeroom Teacher Kim Honeycutt and then received the invitation to the unique learning event in the mail. She and her family started working on some extra projects like selling homemade candles online and two bake sales at Walmart in order to afford the trip.
“I really appreciated my whole family for helping make this happen,” said Lauren.
Once they got to the event, there were thousands of students from as far away as Japan and Hawaii. “Most of the kids I was around were from Texas. I did not see another person from Kentucky, so that was kind of weird,” said Lauren.
“It was really, really neat and fun because they had interesting speakers,” she said. “We got to talk to them afterwards and have our photos taken with them.”
During the three-day symposium, Lauren listened to presentations by Nobel Laureates and National Medal of Science recipients about leading scientific research. The teens were also given advice from deans of the world’s top tech universities. They were inspired by fellow teen science prodigies and learned about cutting-edge advances and the future of science and technology. They also enjoyed group activities sprinkled in amongst the speakers and a final dinner and dance on the evening they were inducted into the Society of Torch and Laurel Honor Society by Executive Director Steven Loflin.
“We are really proud of Lauren for becoming a delegate and doing such a great job representing us,” said WCHS Principal Justin Alley. “We know it must have been very inspiring to her and has provided her with mentorships and resources to help her reach her future goals.”
Lauren said the event gave her more confidence to excel in Science, especially since girls are not stereotyped as standouts in the field of Science.
In Lauren’s case, Science is one of her talents, but she is also enjoying acting in a Drama Class she is currently taking at school. She is also an accomplished musician having participated in the Wayne County Marching Band for the past three years. She plays the bass drum, flute, keyboard, and synthesizer. She has also taken piano lessons for six years. Outside school, she has been in Girl Scouts for ten years in Troop #1063. She does community service projects, babysitting, creating comic strips, and camping.
The theme of the Congress was “Greatness Awaits” and it will be interesting to see what Lauren and other Wayne County High School students’ contributions will be in the future with the current emphasis on career readiness, coupled with an education geared towards meeting challenges.
Lauren Antoine met with mathematician Kensen Shi after a session
Lauren recently received her certificate from WCHS Science Teacher John LaFevers