Meg Hunt, a junior at Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School, has been named female Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) student of the year for the District by the Air Force Association’s Nation’s Capital Chapter.
Hunt spoke with WashingtonExec about her win, how she got into STEM, her influence in the field, advice on getting into STEM, and more.
WashingtonExec: When did you first get interested in STEM and why?
Meg Hunt: I have always been interested in STEM, especially the scientific aspect of it. I used to love reading National Geographic as a kid. I love nature and animals and learning more about them. As I grew more interested in biological science, I also started becoming interested in the engineering and math related to it.
WashingtonExec: What do you want to when you graduate college?
Meg Hunt: I hope to do field research and travel. My dream is to be able to use my knowledge of math and science to not only help conserve the environment and endangered animals, but also discover new ways to make human consumption more efficient and less detrimental to our world.
WashingtonExec: Who has the had most influence you on STEM and why?
Meg Hunt: My mom, Laura Hunt, probably had the most influence on me. When I was very young she would take me to state parks and nature classes, buy me books on biology, and plan visits to zoos and aquariums. Later she helped me find summer programs involving science, like the Science at Sea program I took part in last August. My chemistry teacher, Mr. Haralson, has also been very helpful these past two years while I have been considering what my specific major will be in college.
WashingtonExec: You were recently awarded by the Air Force Association, Nation’s Capital Chapter for STEM student of the year for DC. Tell us about the award and what it means that you won?
Meg Hunt: It was a great honor to win the STEM award. It is only given to one boy and one girl student each year for their achievements in STEM-related subjects. The AFA takes into account leadership qualities, participation in extracurriculars like sports, integrity and moral standards, and GPA. The greatest part of receiving this award was knowing that my teachers, who nominated me, thought that I was deserving of such an award. It means a lot to me that they recognize my passion for their subjects.
WashingtonExec: What advice would you give younger girls who have an interest in STEM?
Meg Hunt: I would encourage them to pursue STEM activities not only in school, but also during the summer and on weekends. There are so many incredible and fun opportunities for high school students interested in these areas. As said before, I participated in a summer program where I spent nine days on a ten-sail, 134 foot ship learning about oceanography. Not only was it an amazing experience, but it helped me learn more about different fields of science. I think one of the best things a girl interested in STEM can do is find a way to get hands-on experience in the field they are interested in.
WashingtonExec: What advice would you give parents to get their kids excited about STEM?
Meg Hunt: I would tell them to help their kids find STEM experiences outside of the classroom. Pairing STEM with travel, discovery, and meeting other kids with the same interests makes it much more exciting. If there are science clubs or programs in the community or during the summer, parents should encourage their kids to look into these.
WashingtonExec: What are some of your hobbies?
Meg Hunt: In my free time I love to read and write. I play field hockey and run track, and play tennis in the summers. I love to take hikes with my dog on the weekends, too.