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Meet a 9-year old Scholar and Leader

By Pattern Energy Stories
June 22nd, 2021

The Ballard Family

 

“NYLF Pathways to STEM is a unique learning experience for bright, forward-thinking elementary school students who will evolve into next generation innovators, engineers, doctors, software developers, and scientists.”

 

Leighton Ballard of White Deer elementary is doing some big things.

At the beginning of August she’ll participate in the National Youth Leadership Forum taking place this year in Berkeley, Calif.


“Leighton has always been a leader,” her Mom, Mandi, told me. “Now she’s going to go be with other leaders her age, and she’s very excited about it.”

At the grade school level, the Envision National Youth Leadership Forum requires participants to be nominated by their school, and Leighton was nominated by the Principal of White Deer Elementary, Kandy Bolding. 

Local leader, Leighton Ballard

 

STEM Needed

You may have seen the term STEM used quite a bit in the press. For education, STEM refers to, “Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics,” and experts globally have said that these skills are critical for the future of the world. Students that get a strong foundation in STEM are better prepared for the careers of the 21st century. 

From the foundation: “NYLF Pathways to STEM is a unique learning experience for bright, forward-thinking elementary school students who will evolve into next generation innovators, engineers, doctors, software developers, and scientists.”

National Youth Leadership Forum homepage

 

Surgery, solving crimes, and more

The pathways provided to the young scholars have been designed to give them as realistic an experience as possible within the limits of their age.

For the Medicine Pathway, scholars learn about the anatomy of the human body, focusing on the heart. In a culmination of their experience, they perform a dissection on a 3-D body.

Under the CSI Pathway, scholars learn about forensic science and get experience doing fingerprint analysis, deductive reasoning, and all the parts that go into building a case. As the scholars find clues critical to their case, they will put it all together to solve the case being investigated. 

 

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White Deer ISD

 

In the Engineering Pathway, scholars work with a robot named mBot that helps them understand the engineering design process and eventually program their own robot to perform different tasks. The scholars will be able to take their robot home with them, where they can continue to do their own experiments. 

One day, we’ll all be working for Leighton

 

The power of community 

While the camp will do a lot to open doors for Leighton and her educational trajectory, as Milton Friemdan famously said, “there is no free lunch.”

The NYLF has a program fee of $7,000. In conjunction with other community sponsors, Pattern Energy contributes to the White Deer Independent School District through its Panhandle Wind facility.

Supporting the communities where we operate wind facilities is important to everyone at Pattern Energy, and we’re proud to support future scholars and leaders like Leighton Ballard.

Congratulations, Leighton! Everyone is cheering you on and knows you’ll do great!