Wilmington, especially Southbridge, is often associated with negative things. Shootings, robberies, and drug dealing are all things one may think of when someone says Wilmington, but Jacqueline Means is changing that. She is a 15 year old sophomore cadet at the Delaware Military Academy, is in all Honors classes,and maintains a GPA of 4.0. She is also the proud founder of Wilmington Urban STEM Initiative, a nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing STEM to the underprivileged  girls of Wilmington. Jacqueline is certainly changing the stigma surrounding Wilmington by being an advocate for STEM education and volunteering her time to engage young girls in STEM.

Jacqueline’s main focus is bringing STEM to the underprivileged girls of Wilmington, and figuring out more ways to inspire girls to get actively involved in science, technology, engineering, and math. She recognizes that too few women are in STEM fields. To get more girls interested, Jacqueline hosts Girls Empowerment STEM events on a regular basis. She uses these events as a way to get girls interested in STEM at an early age by doing hands-on experiments that provide them with a real idea of what STEM is like and a new motivation to learn more. She also brings in empowering female speakers such as Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester and Dr. Terri Quinn-Grey to speak to the girls to reinforce the message that girls can do anything. She wants to showcase women working in the sciences and encourage young girls to defy stereotypes.

Through engagement in volunteerism at an early age, Jacqueline developed a natural service attitude and a love of giving back to her community. It’s imperative that today’s youth are capable and prepared to live in the inevitable STEM-forward future. Jacqueline wants to inspire the young girls who come to her events and leave them with a desire to learn more about STEM. By continuing to work with local organizations, such as the Delaware Children’s Museum and Neighborhood House, Jacqueline will continue to create innovative ways for girls to get involved with STEM.