Ten Sleep student attends Envision’s Explore STEM
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WORLAND –A Ten Sleep student had an once-in-a-lifetime educational opportunity this summer.
Josie Decker, an upcoming freshman at Ten Sleep School had the opportunity to join other students from across the nation to take part in a unique, academic and career-oriented development experience, Envision’s Explore STEM at Babson College in Boston, Massachusetts.
Worland Middle School’s seventh-grade social studies teacher Mike Montgomery nominated Decker for this program.
In order to go to Boston, Decker had to work hard in order to raise money for the trip.
“We did gun raffle tickets and quilt raffle tickets. The gun raffle tickets helped bring in a lot of money – it brought in most of the money. I went in and spoke with the Worland Rotary and the Ten Sleep Lions Club. I also held a fundraiser at my school. It was called ‘Free to be Lazy Day.’ Kids paid $5 to wear pajamas and $1 to wear a hat every other Friday. That also helped to bring in some money.”
Alongside that, Decker visited local businesses and received donation help from family members. She also worked as a babysitter in order to raise all the money she needed to go.
The program lasted a total of six days with an estimated 150 students in attendance. Decker was the only one from Wyoming.
“I guess I decided to attend because from what I had heard when I went to a different school. There were two kids who had gone to a program like this and I heard that they were really great, they learned a lot. [The program] was something that would make me different from the rest of my class and help me to have a little more experience,” Decker said. “[This trip is] what makes me different than the rest of my classmates. I guess it’s something different than what they’ve done. I can say that I’ve done ‘this’ and they haven’t.”
“To be honest, I didn’t have a lot of experience with STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) before this trip. I guess I kind of went to learn more about it. I’ve always been good at math. I think that I’ve been a grade level up when learning about math, so I was in eighth grade learning about what ninth graders learn in math,” she said.
“My favorite part was probably the forensic science portion,” Decker said. “They gave us fake crime scenes and we had to find out what happened. We came up with our own stories to figure out what had happened using fingerprints and blood splatter to help us figure out how our story was going to go.”
“Since forensic science was my first choice, every day we went to another academy, or classroom to learn something different,” she said. Decker’s other classes included medicine, robotics and civic engineering. She attended forensic science classes two to three times a day, it being her homeroom.
“Before going, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I thought I wanted to be a detective or something, but after the trip and during the trip they helped me figure out what I wanted to do, which is be an FBI agent, and how to do it. Because of the forensic science, it helped me figure out who I am and who I wanted to be,” Decker said.
“I was really nervous before going. I was so nervous that I almost didn’t want to go. I’m not a big fan of stepping outside my comfort zone, so it really meant a lot to be able to do that,” she said. “When I was on the plane, and in the college dorm, I started to feel more comfortable with it. I realized that I was surrounded by other people like me – like, not nerds or geeks, but people who were interested in the same things I was.”
Decker is 14 years old and the daughter of Kate and Ryan Decker.
Explore STEM is a program through Envision.
Virtually all career fields today require a foundation of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). Science, technology, engineering and math are some of the fastest growing areas of study. STEM professionals are in the highest demand throughout the world.
Explore STEM is designed to help students find their passion through hands-on activities in forensics, robotics programming, medicine and civil engineering.
Envision was founded over 30 years ago after a fateful trip to Washington D.C. in 1985 by a group of high school students. Their teacher realized the effect that the opportunity to learn through experience had on the students. Envision now provides nearly 20 different career, leadership and technology programs that take place across the United States and the world. The organization’s programs are tuned to learners at all ages, from elementary to post-graduation, and feature specializations such as performing arts, sports, career exploration and study abroad. The company’s mission remains focused on giving high-inspiring students the unique opportunity to turn their career and life aspirations into reality.