ST. PARIS – A St. Paris native recently honed her leadership skills at the Honeywell Leadership Challenge Academy.
Tecumseh High School student Megan Snyder attended the week-long academy earlier this year. The St. Paris resident’s father works at Honeywell in Urbana.
The Honeywell Leadership Challenge Academy, located in Huntsville, Alabama, hosted approximately 320 students from around the world this year. The program uses interactive technology and science-oriented workshops and team exercises to teach youths leadership skills in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).
The academy is only open to children of Honeywell employees, and Megan said her father encouraged her to attend. Though Megan is more interested in FFA and 4-H, the academy focuses on leadership as well as STEM skills.
“I’m not really interested in space. I was more focusing on leadership skills, teamwork, public speaking,” Megan said. “I had a good time. I liked that I could meet so many people from 36 countries.”
Megan’s mother, Kim, said Megan is active in 4-H, shows rabbits, is a member of the junior fairboard and a member of the Children of the American Revolution.
Students meet former astronauts, design, build and test their own rockets, and participate in simulated astronaut training, shuttle missions and a moonwalk, according to a fact sheet from the academy.
“I think one of my favorite things was either the simulator for an aerial reconnaissance mission, or the shuttle mission,” Megan said. She added the shuttle mission simulated a trip on the space shuttle Endeavour.
The academy, which started in 2010, was developed in partnership with the U.S. Space and Rocket Center. The program is designed to encourage high school students age 16-18 from around the world to pursue STEM-related careers.
The academy had two sessions Feb. 20-March 4 this year. Entry to the program is granted following an application and review process on academic achievement and community involvement. There’s also an option for former attendees to attend again, as ambassadors. Megan said she’s going to apply to be an ambassador.
Megan’s mother said she was glad to see her daughter attend and enjoy the academy.
“I’m very proud of her for being able to go,” she said. “I think she got really excited when she got down there. I’m very pleased she wants to go next year as an ambassador.”
Since the start of the academy, more than 1,770 scholarships to students have been provided to attend. For more information about the program, visit leadership.honeywell.com.
Casey S. Elliott may be reached at 937-652-1331 ext. 1772 or on Twitter @UDCElliott.