After her four month immersion in a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) rich High School Aerospace Scholars (HAS) program, 17-year-old Premier High School of Texarkana senior Lacy Garrett has big plans. She wants to graduate early and attend Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach to study aeronautical engineering.

While she has always been interested in STEM, the six days she spent at NASA’s Johnson Space Center this summer as part of HAS confirmed that she wants to pursue aeronautical engineering as a career.

“We worked from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. for those six days. It was a lot of work, but definitely worth it,” says Garrett.

Prior to the on-site program at NASA, Garrett took part in four months of online classes, quizzes and tests on different aspects of STEM. At the end of the online classes, she was in the top 30 percent and was offered the opportunity to take part in the on-site program at NASA where she would work with a team to to design and implement a mission to Mars.

The team created a video to summarize their week at the Johnson Space Center.

Garrett’s team was tasked with getting the mission to Mars and returning home. To accomplish that goal, the team designed a capsule to get to Mars, a lander to land on the planet and a lego robotics rover to get around Mars as well as designing, building and launching rockets.

“I learned that hard work can definitely pay off. We were given a set up of what to do, but we had to design all of it. It was a lot of math, engineering and design process. I really liked the fact that I was down there and thrown in with a team and we figured things out,” explains Garrett.

In addition to the academics, Garrett appreciated the great people she got to meet and work with.

“We were all high school juniors, but my team members were some of the best people I have ever worked with. They were all very smart and I was lucky to be there,” she says.

Garrett knows that accomplishing her goals of college and a career in aerospace engineering will not be easy, but she has a plan to get there. She chose to attend Premier High School of Texarkana because it will allow her to accelerate her coursework and graduate early.

“I have liked Premier so far. There is less drama and it is easy to get my work done without being distracted or held back. I’m actually learning the material because you have to work through it on your own,” explains Garrett.

On her current track, Garrett is projected to graduate in October. She plans to work during the months between her graduation and starting college next  fall so she can pay for her postgraduate education.

Campus Director Heather McNeill appreciates the opportunity to help students like Garrett reach their goals.

“She is one of the most focused students that I have ever seen. She is determined and has a goal. She knows that she wants to pay for college and is taking advantage of  Premier’s flexibility so she can work and save money,” says McNeill.

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