Lauryn Sanders is a rising sophomore at North Wake College and Career Academy. Though she is in 10th grade, Lauryn has already been working as a volunteer at Marbles Kids Museum for 4 years. When asked about her experience with Marbles Teen Play Corps, Lauryn commented:
“I love kids and I love science. Being able to encourage kids through play is something that I love. I have been doing it for 4 years and I hope to continue doing it and some day work there.”
In addition to school and her volunteer work, Lauryn also participates in Girl Scouts and the MSEN pre-college program through the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation at NC State University. A participant in MSEN since 6th grade, Lauryn enjoys her time spent at Saturday Academies and in the summer camps.
Her passion for science was ignited through life with her parents. As early as 2nd grade, she could recite the components of DNA and was talking to classmates about cow eyeball dissection. This early experience fueled her interest in biology and zoology. You can hear the excitement in her voice as she describes this passion, “I love animals and have a pet bearded dragon. I enjoy anything that has to do with any animals. “
Lauryn believes that if you are interested in something, you should take every opportunity to get involved. With this spirit of engagement she began to do research and compete in Science and Engineering Fairs. In reflecting on her experience Lauryn felt that one major difference in the fair environment was being on my own and not having a team, saying, I was able to present my own research and it was a little nerve wracking.” In addition to sharing her own research with students, she appreciated getting to share with adults that were well versed in the content. Her participation in Science and Engineering Fairs started at the school level where she earned third place the first time and second place the second time. Her second place finish led to a recommendation to the Region 3A Science and Engineering Fair. Both of Lauryn’s research projects were in the field of biology, but they were not focused on animals. Her first project was on essential oils and their impact on bacteria, and her second focused on which types have more substantial amounts of gluten. This second project was personally meaningful as she and her mother share a gluten intolerance. Through the project Lauryn discovered that earlier wheats, those that originated a long time ago, have less gluten which can cause less irritation for those who are less tolerant.
Lauryn is enrolling in chemistry in the fall at North Wake College and Career Academy and is planning to start an Associates Degree at Wake Technical Community College, in Early Childhood Education, next year. She is looking forward to continuing to work with children of all ages, but her favorite age range is 5-6 year olds.
In the future she hopes to embark on a career as an early childhood teacher, possibly an elementary teacher specializing in Science. When asked what that might look like she said, “I would incorporate some of the things that I experienced from my parents. Bringing in things that people believe that smaller kids cannot do. Present complex theories, but give it to them in a way that they can understand them. I could present interesting and engaging topics that they can learn about. “
We asked Lauryn to provide 1 piece of advice for a young person who is interested in Science or Engineering. Her advice was,
“Make sure that you are continuing. If you start something related to science, make sure you are in programs so that you don’t lose it. Continue practicing and make sure you are engaging yourself in science related programs and activities to make sure that you are keeping your brain sharp.”