The New Mexico Out-of-School Time Network (NMOST) was aware of the gender gap in STEM. They knew the research and were motivated to address the issue in the state of New Mexico. Joining the Million Girls Moonshot came at the right time for NMOST.
STEM Next’s Million Girls Moonshot helped New Mexico Out-of-School Time (NMOST) expand its preexisting initiative, Advancing Young Women in STEM, aimed at sharing resources, providing scholarships, and uplifting the voices of young women in STEM. This year, the New Mexico Out-of-School Time Network proudly awarded Advancing Young Women in STEM scholarships to 12 incredible women. One of those awardees is named Jordyn Montoya.
Ms. Montoya graduated valedictorian of her class at Los Lunas High School in New Mexico. Jordyn attributes much of her success today to NMOST, STEM Next, and the Million Girls Moonshot efforts to help young women across America not only find their inspiration in STEM but also give them a place to practice and learn. “We didn’t have very many opportunities at my school for science, but in my afterschool program, I got to make a rocket and that’s when I knew what I wanted to do with my future. In fact, my family recently sent me a picture of a graduation certificate from an afterschool science program that I took in third grade. The certificate is for Aerospace Science, which is exactly what I am pursuing now,” said Montoya with a proud smile on her face.
This Fall, 2023, Jordyn Montoya is attending Colorado State University majoring in mechanical engineering with a concentration in aerospace. “I am one of two girls in my physics class at CSU, but I am not treated differently by my teachers; some of my peers might treat me differently, but I feel confident in what I am doing. Had I never been introduced to STEM through the afterschool programs, I do not think I would have known what I wanted. When I got the Young Women in STEM scholarship from NMOST, it gave me confidence that other people believed in me and that I had a shot at pursuing this as a career,” says Montoya.
Jordyn became emotional when asked if her parents were proud of her. “I am the first generation in my family to go to a four-year university, it’s a really big deal,” Montoya expressed, holding back her tears. “I wouldn’t have been able to do this without my family believing in me and allowing me to take all of those afterschool classes. I feel lucky and I am going to make them proud.”
For Jordyn Montoya, and millions of other young women just like her, the sky is the limit!